Pander, Baby, Pander

David Berriman
There are many things that we can garner from the results of Tuesday's election (that half of America welcomes the recent, drastic move toward Euro-socialism, for example), but none of them is more pertinent or poignant than the fact that the Democratic Party, and leftists in general, are experts at pandering. Conservatives stink at it. In fact, one could make the argument that GOP presidential nominees never pander to the "groups" whose overwhelming support helped Barack Obama pull off his relatively easy win over Mitt Romney on Tuesday night... the African American community, the Latino community, even women. OK, maybe George W. Bush did a little pandering to the Latino community occasionally, due largely to his Texas roots and the Latino connections within his family. And that's exactly the point. He won twice, with underwhelming, but respectable support from the Latino community. He pandered to them a little. And it worked.

But conservatives don't see life or people that way. They don't view their fellow Americans as members of monolithic groups that need special recognition and privilege given to them over others. You see, conservatives still believe in that silly little thing we used to call the "American Dream". That is, that individuals, created equally and treated equally under the law, pursuing their own dreams, make up and produce the greatness of America, not various groups getting government recompense for all of the "wrongs" and hardships in life. As Americans, we come in all shapes, sizes, colors, persuasions, religious beliefs, abilities and ambitions. Who cares what color someone is, or if they came here from Costa Rica? If they're here legally, then they are Americans. Mitt Romney made the mistake of treating us with the utmost respect as individuals, as Americans instead of members of an aggrieved group.

The left successfully demonized Mitt Romney by claiming (lying) that he was only looking out for rich people like himself. Nothing could be further from the truth. Romney is concerned for, and had a plan that would have helped "all Americans", and he repeatedly made that point. "All Americans", he said again and again as he described his plans to govern fairly and effectively for everyone. In retrospect, he should have followed the phrase "all Americans" every time with the tag, "...including you African Americans, who want a better life for yourselves and your families... and you Latino Americans, who came here to work hard and make a better life for your families.... and you ladies, you women out there... who are struggling and are worried about the well-being of your families... you need someone in Washington who will listen to you and help you secure a better life for your families, too!"
That's pandering.

It's silly and vacuous, yes, but it works. People have been conditioned in this country over several decades to look at themselves as members of particular groups that require attention, if not outright special accommodation. They want to hear their names spoken, to be singled out in speeches, debates, and campaign ads so that they know a particular candidate knows and "cares" about them and their plight. The GOP needs to do a much better job of speaking to them. Tell them that you know they are having it tough as a group, and that you plan to help their entire group through the great American principles of liberty, free markets, and limited government, where individuals and their families can prosper to their hearts' delight (or not), free from government interference and overreach.

Romney had the right message about free markets, individual liberty, and limited government being the recipe for success and happiness in America. But he didn't speak directly to everyone. He didn't speak to the various voting blocs... the "groupings" that now make up the American electorate. Unfortunately, that's how the American political system works today, so the GOP may as well (better) play along, as foreign a concept as that is to most conservatives. Don't overpander. Just pander, baby.

There are many things that we can garner from the results of Tuesday's election (that half of America welcomes the recent, drastic move toward Euro-socialism, for example), but none of them is more pertinent or poignant than the fact that the Democratic Party, and leftists in general, are experts at pandering. Conservatives stink at it. In fact, one could make the argument that GOP presidential nominees never pander to the "groups" whose overwhelming support helped Barack Obama pull off his relatively easy win over Mitt Romney on Tuesday night... the African American community, the Latino community, even women. OK, maybe George W. Bush did a little pandering to the Latino community occasionally, due largely to his Texas roots and the Latino connections within his family. And that's exactly the point. He won twice, with underwhelming, but respectable support from the Latino community. He pandered to them a little. And it worked.

But conservatives don't see life or people that way. They don't view their fellow Americans as members of monolithic groups that need special recognition and privilege given to them over others. You see, conservatives still believe in that silly little thing we used to call the "American Dream". That is, that individuals, created equally and treated equally under the law, pursuing their own dreams, make up and produce the greatness of America, not various groups getting government recompense for all of the "wrongs" and hardships in life. As Americans, we come in all shapes, sizes, colors, persuasions, religious beliefs, abilities and ambitions. Who cares what color someone is, or if they came here from Costa Rica? If they're here legally, then they are Americans. Mitt Romney made the mistake of treating us with the utmost respect as individuals, as Americans instead of members of an aggrieved group.

The left successfully demonized Mitt Romney by claiming (lying) that he was only looking out for rich people like himself. Nothing could be further from the truth. Romney is concerned for, and had a plan that would have helped "all Americans", and he repeatedly made that point. "All Americans", he said again and again as he described his plans to govern fairly and effectively for everyone. In retrospect, he should have followed the phrase "all Americans" every time with the tag, "...including you African Americans, who want a better life for yourselves and your families... and you Latino Americans, who came here to work hard and make a better life for your families.... and you ladies, you women out there... who are struggling and are worried about the well-being of your families... you need someone in Washington who will listen to you and help you secure a better life for your families, too!"
That's pandering.

It's silly and vacuous, yes, but it works. People have been conditioned in this country over several decades to look at themselves as members of particular groups that require attention, if not outright special accommodation. They want to hear their names spoken, to be singled out in speeches, debates, and campaign ads so that they know a particular candidate knows and "cares" about them and their plight. The GOP needs to do a much better job of speaking to them. Tell them that you know they are having it tough as a group, and that you plan to help their entire group through the great American principles of liberty, free markets, and limited government, where individuals and their families can prosper to their hearts' delight (or not), free from government interference and overreach.

Romney had the right message about free markets, individual liberty, and limited government being the recipe for success and happiness in America. But he didn't speak directly to everyone. He didn't speak to the various voting blocs... the "groupings" that now make up the American electorate. Unfortunately, that's how the American political system works today, so the GOP may as well (better) play along, as foreign a concept as that is to most conservatives. Don't overpander. Just pander, baby.