When candidates for political office tweak their campaigns ever so carefully to maximize applause and minimize criticism, you know they are pandering. And Americans despise that brand of “leadership.”
Peggy Noonan argues for more openness and risk-taking in campaigns, for candidates getting out among the general population — friend and foe alike — to sell their message.
If you, candidate A, have clear and serious reasons for desiring the wave of millions a year illegally over the border to stop, you should be able to talk to Hispanic groups and audiences about it. You go straight to them and appeal to their patriotism, fairness and common sense. Why? Because they’re patriotic and fair and have common sense. It is a compliment to show you know this.
Will some of them boo? Yes, of course. So what? Too bad. That’s the price you pay for being truthful at a tough time. And in America it’s always a tough time.
The staffs, gurus and handlers of all the candidates are always afraid their guy will get booed. But do they realize how tired we are of hearing the tepid applause that follows the predictable pander?
I know they’re all always eager to laud Ronald Reagan. But Reagan began his fall 1980 campaign in the South Bronx, and argued his case with people on the street. After he was elected, he pleaded for peace in letters to Leonid Brezhnev. Too bad he wasn’t tough enough. Oh wait.
I think the problem is not coming from normal Americans but from our leadership class, our academics and political leaders. The new fearfulness has resulted in new foreign policy: “Let’s not speak to Buffy.” Great. How’s that working for ya?
Americans are hungry for real leadership in these dangerous times. And they’re not getting it from Democrats who refuse to debate on Fox News, or Republicans who refuse to debate at black colleges.