Politics is Sales

by: the Common Constitutionalist

As with most companies that employ outside salesman, mine is no different. We have territories that each man (or woman) confines himself to.

For the longest time there was one territory the consistently lagged behind the others. Salesman after salesman failed, all saying the same thing: “You just can’t make a living in this territory.” There were not enough customers, too much competition, etc. We literally went through eight salesmen in a row, telling us the same thing. Yet we knew there was great-untapped potential there.

Along came a relatively unassuming and introverted man. He was the opposite of the stereotypical salesman. You know, type A, extrovert, a little loud, a little arrogant. All indicators pointed to his failure, but we took a shot anyway.

Well, this quiet man (who looked exactly like the singer James Taylor) became our number one salesman, month in, month out, year in, year out.

How did he do it? Well, simple. He was real. He was the embodiment of every successful cliché on the books. He said what he meant and meant what he said. He talked the talk and walked the walk, and all the rest of those sayings.

The bottom line is people, his customers, liked and trusted him. He was humble, but not a doormat. He stood up for himself and didn’t compromise just to make a sale. In other words, he didn’t prostitute himself.

He prided himself on knowing his product better than anyone but was not afraid to tell a customer he didn’t know the answer. He would find the answer and inform the customer… every time.

Upon his retirement, after just eight years, something unusual occurred. I’ve never seen or heard anything like it before, or since.

He was so loved and respected that when his customers found out of his impending retirement, huge orders just started appearing. Customers were calling in purchases for a full year or more on one order, just so he would receive the commission. It was their way of thanking him for years of unwavering service. It was truly epic.

Nice story you say, but what the heck does it have to do with anything?

Well, because politics is just sales. It’s as simple as that. Instead of a product, you are simply selling yourself, your ideas and your values.

Now, most of us have not dealt directly with politicians, but have with salesman, and it’s always the same, isn’t it.

Unfortunately, politics and sales attract some of the same types. Smarmy glad handers that flash a fake smile and make hollow promises.

People, more often than not, buy from whom they like and whom they feel they can trust. There will be some ill-informed customers that believe any line of crap handed to them, as long as it is what they wish to hear. Thankfully, they are in the minority. They vote the same way. But that only works when there is a dearth of competent competition.

The salesman I spoke of could be compared to Ronald Reagan and those before him, a bunch of Bob Doles, John McCains or Mitt Romneys.

People trusted Reagan. He was the real deal. He, like our outstanding salesman, set himself apart. He wasn’t just one of many. He didn’t just say, like so many politicians and salesman: “Yeah, I can do that too.” For an informed customer or voter that isn’t a reason to switch salesmen or candidates.

Now more than ever, we need those who have the courage to care more about their country than the next election. They must be honest, bold but humble and not compromising of their core beliefs under any circumstances. They must know their topics and sell their vision.

Whether in sales or public service, those who speak the truth and are knowledgeable need no Teleprompter.

Pants On Fire

by: the Common Constitutionalist

I was watching Fox News over the weekend. The host was interviewing the governors of both Iowa and Florida. Rick Scott is the republican governor of Florida and Iowa’s Terry Branstad, also a republican.

Both are considered to be fairly conservative and pro-growth republicans.

They discussed the employment situation in their states as well as the other states that most recently elected republican governors. I believe 7 in all. 

They each gave fairly good, straight forward answers as to why, in all seven states that republicans were elected, the unemployment rate actually went down. The answers weren’t as direct as I’d like but they both did a fair job.

Then the topic turned to the Obamacare Medicaid expansion as it pertains to the states. States would have the opportunity to greatly expand their Medicaid roles, ostensibly paid for, in part or whole, by the feds.

More than a few states, run by republicans say they will refuse the expansion, knowing full-well that, after a few years and just like virtually every other federal program, the states would be left holding the bag, as it were.

In other words the feds would cease to fund the program and the states would therefore be financially responsible for the increased membership. Neat trick. The feds do it all the time. After all, they’re just looking for the sound bite.

Anywho, the host asked both of them, one at a time, if reports were true that they would refuse the expansion of the Medicaid program.

I watched anxiously, or should I say, with great anxiety, for what seemed like a painfully long time, just hoping for a straight answer. Neither provided one.

They both, Branstad more than Scott, pontificated and bloviated about jobs, Obamacare and who knows what else.

I found myself leaning ever forward, on the edge of my chair, straining to keep my composure. It was a losing battle.

I finally just began to yell at the TV. “Why can’t either of you just answer the question?! It’s a simple question, requiring a simple answer! All of these politicians are the same! They just won’t answer a question!”

We don’t curse in our house, but I’ll tell you, I sure wanted to.

Evidently I was so loud, I woke my sons up, whom I allowed to sleep in that morning. They were not appreciative.

This just demonstrated, once again, why politicians don’t appear to be trustworthy.

Is there some sort of class or school they attend to learn how to just talk out their collective butts until the clock runs out? That is how it always ends, does it not? The host will finally say, “ Ok, we’re out of time, thanks for coming on”.

Thanks for what? We didn’t learn a dang thing! I still have no idea whether either Florida or Iowa will or won’t sign on to the expansion. (Florida evidently will not participate. Why couldn’t he just say so?)

Through experience, I know this is not a good sign. More often than not, when a supposedly conservative politician won’t give a straight answer, it means they will be voting or siding against the folks that put them in office.

I’ve heard it many times when calling a politician to see how they will vote on an issue or bill. When it’s 12 hours before the vote and their aids say they haven’t decided yet, you can bet it ain’t gonna be good.

For this reason, despite their lack of conservative bona fides, people love “The Donald” (Trump) and also Chris Christie of New Jersey. They tell it as it is and pull no punches and are all the more popular for it. Why is it that other politicians can’t see this?

I can’t be the only one that feels this way!

Just stop lying, hedging, dodging and generally irritating your constituency and you’ll be loved for it.

I thought I might feel better after that, but I don’t.

Wanted – An Honest Politician

Big Lies in Politics

By Thomas Sowell

The fact that so many successful politicians are such shameless liars is not only a reflection on them; it is also a reflection on us. When the people want the impossible, only liars can satisfy them, and only in the short run. The current outbreaks of riots in Europe show what happens when the truth catches up with both the politicians and the people in the long run.

Among the biggest lies of the welfare states on both sides of the Atlantic is the notion that the government can supply the people with things they want but cannot afford. Since the government gets its resources from the people, if the people as a whole cannot afford something, neither can the government.

There is, of course, the perennial fallacy that the government can simply raise taxes on “the rich” and use that additional revenue to pay for things that most people cannot afford. What is amazing is the implicit assumption that “the rich” are all such complete fools that they will do nothing to prevent their money from being taxed away. History shows otherwise.

After the Constitution of the United States was amended to permit a federal income tax, in 1916, the number of people reporting taxable incomes of $300,000 a year or more fell from well over a thousand to fewer than three hundred by 1921.

Were the rich all getting poorer? Not at all. They were investing huge sums of money in tax-exempt securities. The amount of money invested in tax-exempt securities was larger than the federal budget, and nearly half as large as the national debt.

This was not unique to the United States or to that era. After the British government raised their income tax on the top income earners in 2010, they discovered that they collected less tax revenue than before. Other countries have had similar experiences. Apparently the rich are not all fools, after all.

In today’s globalized world economy, the rich can simply invest their money in countries where tax rates are lower.

So, if you cannot rely on “the rich” to pick up the slack, what can you rely on? Lies.

Nothing is easier for a politician than promising government benefits that cannot be delivered. Pensions such as Social Security are perfect for this role. The promises that are made are for money to be paid many years from now — and somebody else will be in power then, left with the job of figuring out what to say and do when the money runs out and the riots start.

There are all sorts of ways of postponing the day of reckoning. The government can refuse to pay what it costs to get things done. Cutting what doctors are paid for treating Medicare patients is one obvious example.

That of course leads some doctors to refuse to take on new Medicare patients. But this process takes time to really make its full impact felt — and elections are held in the short run. This is another growing problem that can be left for someone else to try to cope with in future years.

Increasing amounts of paperwork for doctors in welfare states with government-run medical care, and reduced payments to those doctors, in order to stave off the day of bankruptcy, mean that the medical profession is likely to attract fewer of the brightest young people who have other occupations available to them — paying more money and having fewer hassles. But this too is a long-run problem — and elections are still held in the short run.

Eventually, all these long-run problems can catch up with the wonderful-sounding lies that are the lifeblood of welfare state politics. But there can be a lot of elections between now and eventually — and those who are good at political lies can win a lot of those elections.

As the day of reckoning approaches, there are a number of ways of seeming to overcome the crisis. If the government is running out of money, it can print more money. That does not make the country any richer, but it quietly transfers part of the value of existing money from people’s savings and income to the government, whose newly printed money is worth just as much as the money that people worked for and saved.

Printing more money means inflation — and inflation is a quiet lie, by which a government can keep its promises on paper, but with money worth much less than when the promises were made.

Is it so surprising voters with unrealistic hopes elect politicians who lie about being able to fulfill those hopes?

Term Limits

Although Chuck is focused on California, his home state, it’s instructive none the less. I have seen many deceptive ballot initiatives in my state. The way the ballot is written, you think you’re voting yes for something when you’re really voting no. Make sure you fully understand what you’re voting for or against ahead of time. There is nothing scarier to a politician than an informed electorate.