Diary

The Slick Talker and the Plain Spoken Candidate, Dan Benishek, MI -01, a Case Study

(This is Part I of 2 parts, the second will appear early next week.)

When Bushel Britches left office in disgrace in 2001 (yes he did, so don’t argue with me) I believed the era of the fast-talking, silver tongued devil had seen its last days for a very long time in America. I was wrong.)

All your life you’ve probably heard the old phrase from Shakespeare (Henry VI) The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers. Actually intended as a way to bring chaos, by eliminating law, it has most often been used as mockery against lawyers. I’ll use it in this way, although it is tempting to point out that it is the specific goal of the Left to bring chaos in America first, (with the help of the trial lawyers) then restore “peace” under their own terms.

This love-hate relationship people have with lawyers has rolled over into the political world, for indeed, most elected officials nowadays are attorneys, and the most powerful and important staffers inside Congress are attorneys, and the most powerful bureaucrats and regulators inside the several agencies are attorneys. (I like attorneys who chastise government far more than those who try to run it, so GC/EE/LW, keep that in mind as I poke fun at the more stereotypical practitioners of the craft.)

Ahem, i think you see our national problem in a nutshell. If you see only coincidence here, think again, for it’s by design. Since FDR government has become little more than a lawyer’s relief program. In the corporate private sector as well, the most powerful people are now attorneys and money managers (bean counters) who have spent the last 30 years re-molding corporations into a sedentary playing field on which they’re more accustomed to play, and to hell with those engineers who design the cars, and the remaining few sober union employees who try to build them. You can teach monkeys to do that (their words, not mine). So it follows, at Chrysler no one in the front office can change the oil in their own car but still run a billion dollar company that makes them.

This single fact probably describes the national failure of both Big Government and Big Business, and the mess we now find ourselves in. Too many laws, too many regulations and too many people sitting at the tables of power getting rich trying to manage things they are wholly unqualified to manage.

In peacetime, this would make the basis for a nice essay as to how this “unnatural” condition in human affairs came to be and how destructive it is to any society. Heritage Foundation stuff. But with only 19 days to go before Americans hit the Omaha election beach, under the wilting gunfire of union thugs and media lies, I want to reduce it to one single salient point…

…for in not just the size of our votes, but from our voting patterns November 2, we can establish a new gold standard for candidates that could last generations, and in the process, solve many of the problems about all those damned lawyers milling around, fleecing the public. “If God had not intended them to be sheared, He would not have made them sheep.” (As spoken by Calvera the bandit, The Magnificent Seven, and practiced by Al Gore since he left Vanderbilt, and a host of thousands since.)

We will not become a nation of sheep.

The Slick Talker, the Smooth Talker…The Lawyer turned Politician

The problem with lawyers is that while people revile them generally, when trouble arises they need them specifically. And what specifically they want is someone who can go down to the courthouse and sweet talk a judge or dazzle a jury. Think and talk fast on their feet. Shuck and jive. (Jackie Chiles, Seinfeld).

Many people never really consider the legal expertise, some of it quite deep, which is supposed to underlie all that glossy facade. Which is more important, style or substance? Most of us would say “substance” but in truth many people are looking mostly for style, best expressed in the old lawyer oath, “If you can’t beat them with brilliance, baffle them with b-s”(booshway).

It’s from this b-s, not the brilliance, that the lawyer-style found such sweet and productive diggings inside the political system. For this is certainly what voters seem to like, and as you can tell, our republic has had its clock cleaned because of it.

150 years ago this title might have been called “The Orator vs The Populist”, but Clay, Webster and Calhoun have been gone for 160 years, Emerson for a hundred, and the late Robert Byrd at his best only a hint of flatulence to real oratory. Worse, the populist has been defined down to “demagogue” by media edict, now only speaking to hillbillies, southerners and other Christians, flaming the passions of parochialism, anti-intellectualism, raaaacism, even anti-flouridation.

You see, speaking directly to the people was never really approved of by political insiders. They sought candidates who could speak well to political fixers and middle men, a system long favored by both Democrats and Republicans, but as events have proven, never really favored by the Designers.

You see, the orator didn’t really play directly to the people, he auditioned, then played to those power-broker intermediaries, and their megaphones, the Press. Today’s media wants someone who looks and sounds good (John Edwards, even more than Bill Clinton, but never George W Bush.) Nothing else matters. And today, the power brokers have changed entirely, from old style capitalists to whatever men who make billions without creating a single new dollar, like George Soros, call themselves these days. Mountebanks?

Lincoln did not speak as an orator (for which there were schools then, elocution part of most schools curriculum) but rather as an ordinary person. But even ordinary people then (not now, we’re told) could still be witty, use metaphors, irony, satire and state a principle in clear and concise language, only without the lofty flourishes, 50 cent words, and Latin and Greek interjections. They could convey that message directly to the farmer, store clerk, even the mule skinner, without the aid of the aforementioned newspapers, bankers’ or cattlemen’s association to tell you what he’d really said. In those days, if you could read, you voted for who the newspapers told you to vote for. If you couldn’t you voted who whoever gave you that two-bit token for beer down a Shankey’s Tavern, which unions and welfare agencies are now in charge of distributing.

From Lincoln’s time on, the media, as it evolved from newspapers, has wanted to be able to capture or subordinate this ability to reach out to the people. It still wanted to hold onto the ability to choose who should be put forward and who should be marginalized. And who they chose was the professional talker, who, like a chameleon could be anybody anyone wanted him to be. Enter the orator-cum-smooth talker-cum-slick talker.

The politician who could reach out and connect directly with the people, as Ronald Reagan did, and as every congressional candidate must, poses a threat to that middle man theory of picking who the people should and should not vote for.

To make a long story short, you can see why the plain spoken candidate, who may not be so polished, with all the proper training of an elocutionist or lawyer, was a thing to be denied the people by the same powers that be as today.

Why some lawyers hate doctors

Did I mention that almost all government bureaucrat-cum-lawyers hate doctors? Bolshevik? No, really. There’s a reason for this, which, if I were funny would make a good stand-up routine. The short answer is that doctors play Liszt in most cultures’ symphonies, while lawyers only play “Chop Sticks”. Call it pianist envy. Doctors are respected, admired, even loved, simply by being there. They are needed in every cultural sense of the word. On the other hand, most lawyers have to pontificate, gesticulate, and eventually legislate in order to make themselves needed..or else. Doctors are loved, lawyers feared. The Saints vs Da Mob.

Point is, doctors don’t have to be slick talkers. A good bedside manner is nice, of course, but doctors by trade and disposition diagnose (analyze) things, then fix them, and usually via the shortest-distance-between-two-points-is-a-straight-line method. I’m an analyst and a fixer as well, by profession, so I admire this quality in the highest pecking order of our cultural properties. This is also why I quit being a lawyer.

Ordinary People, The Plain Spoken Citizen

I probably define ordinary people different than most, but will wager my definition is closer to that held by the political establishment and the mainstream media. I’m just for them instead of being against them. To me “ordinary people” are those people who are not involved professionally in government or politics. They are not of the political class.

Doctors then, by my definition, are ordinary people. And it’s rare they would set aside a medical practice in order to get involved full-time in politics, for they truly are taking a sizable cut in pay. But when a doctor does, he/she is making a very LOUD and BOLD statement that something is very, very wrong…WHICH NEEDS TO BE FIXED…toute suite. NOW!

To me, doctors are the gold standard of ordinary people, but not because of that education, but because their everyday professional existence depends on them being able to assess and fix a problem with the maximum amount of skill and minimum amount of distress and cost to the patient. And to be able to explain it to the patient in a way that the patient can understand. But there are others, military men exhibit the same can-do traits. Almost anyone who has ever met a payroll as well. All are people who can see what needs to be done and go do it, usually with the most economy of words and flourishes.

During Dan Benishek’s (a surgeon) primary in MI01, one of his opponent’s followers mentioned here on RS (and I paraphrase) that maybe the people of the district would be better served by having a candidate who was better spoken than Dr Dan. That was Jason Allen, a professional politician. Now Dan’s opponent in the general, Gary McDowell, is not a lawyer but has been in politics several years, union affairs even longer, and has learned to shuck and jive like the best of Democrats. He is a professional Democrat.

What has this to do with voting on Nov 2, dammit?

To my mind, there’s no contest in the Benishek-McDowell contest. The gold standard versus dross. The people of MI-01 will decide when Dan is no longer “ordinary” and has taken on too many airs of the Beltway, and then the people will call him home. Or maybe RedState will go out in search of a new ordinary Joe next time to replace him. Point is, the people will be in charge, and that’s what will matter, and that’s what this election in three weeks will mean.

But across the fruited plain there are dozens of ordinary citizens, yes, including Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell, who are running against life-long professional lawyer-politicians, with disturbing ideas of where they’d like to take the Constitution, who need to be recognized, and, if you’re in a Blue district, reconsidered based on what I’ll write here in Part II, about what the Democrat Party…ALL OF THEM…stand for now. You won’t like it.

Hopefully, this election will signal a return to the people’s preference for plain spoken, can-do, rolled up sleeves representatives as the new archetype citizen-legislator. I know a lot of GOP candidates, incumbents and otherwise, are attorneys, so this is a kind a notice, that the people may be looking for something a little different in coming years. It’s not all that hard to re-connect to the districts, but becoming a part of the Beltway culture may soon become as unpleasant as a Pelosi whine.

Just remember the ones what brung you to the dance and you’ll do fine.

For more specific advice, I always recommend the Front Page at Redstate, just scroll back the past several days, where several candidates are highlighted, and also the very excellent work Pilgrim is providing here by highlighting several races where veterans, especially, and a lot of our guys are making waves in what were considered to be safe Blue districts. (here, and here).

The best rule on that fateful Tuesday:

1) This November 2 vote the R against the D, no matter who’s the lawyer,

2) Vote the ordinary and the plain talker, the golder the better, docs, vets, citizens, not professional politicians.

Part II in about 3-4 days