Whitaker's Current Articles March 13, 2004
March 13, 2004 -- "We
Report, You Forget"
March 13, 2004 -- To
be Respectable, a Conservative Has to Forget
March 13, 2004 -- We
Promise, You Forget
March 13, 2004 --
We will never know whether ignorance is really
bliss. The only people who know the answer don't understand
Buy Bob's Book "Why Johnny Can't Think" from Amazon here!
"We Report, You Forget"
Tuesday, March 2, 2004
a number of states held their primaries to select the Democratic
presidential nominee. That day there was enormous competition
among the media to report every scrap of information that came
The problem is
that as a primary vote is going on, everything is pretty
predictable. That makes the news reports boring. Anything that is
not routine is pure gold for the media. One unusual thing did
happen: There was private telephone conversation between the two top
contenders, Kerry and Edwards.
So the media
reported that that talk took place.
was routine. Everybody knew that Kerry would win all the primaries
with lopsided majorities. He did. Edwards was hanging in there
despite the fact that he had lost all but one primary.
Then came a real
shocker. Edwards suddenly withdrew his candidacy.
That night, the
commentators said something like this:
was a surprise! Edwards was hanging in there and suddenly he just
quit. How could that have happened?"
Commentator: "Gee whiz, I don't know! It's just one of those things you
can't explain, I guess."
Nobody I heard
mentioned the unusual private talk Kerry had had with Edwards.
John Kerry is a
liberal. He has an enormous immunity to press criticism.
But what if a
Republican front-runner in the primaries had an unusual private talk
with his only remaining rival as the primary results came in? And
what if his opponent then suddenly dropped out?
forget that that little talk took place? And would anybody have any
doubt about what that little talk was about?
By the way, one
successful presidential nominee was reported to have promised the
vice-presidential slot to twenty-four different people.
To be Respectable, a Conservative Has to
say, "Well, we all understand that the liberal media would forget
that little talk between Kerry and Edwards that took place before
Edwards suddenly withdrew. But surely conservatives would bring it
No way. You
have to understand how respectable conservatives act.
If you want to
get paid to be conservative political commentator you have to
religiously obey certain rules. Liberals decide which conservative
gets the "respectable" label, and no conservative can be on the paid
talk shows if he does not have that "respectable" stamp on him.
everyone who wants to get paid to be a professional conservative
talker has to obey is the "Don't be a damned fool" rule.
When a liberal
says he is worried about prison overcrowding, you are not allowed to
say, "Good God, man, you mean you want those animals out on the
streets killing people because they don't have enough leg room?"
You have to keep a straight face and argue with the liberal as if he
had made a logical point that only his Idealism forces him to make.
You will never
hear any conservative who gets paid to be on television say a
liberal is a damned fool. No matter how ridiculous the statement a
liberal makes is, no one is allowed to laugh at him.
What if a
conservative said, "Look, Kerry had a private talk with Edwards and
Edwards dropped out. What kind of idiot wouldn't know what the talk
violate the "Don't be a damned fool" rule. The conservative who
said that would suddenly be labeled
anaziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews. He would be condemned as
In short, he
would be ruined.
We Promise, You Forget
I just pointed out
that, at the climax of his political career, a presidential
candidate will lie when he promises somebody the vice presidential
At this point the
dumbest animal on the planet, a person who thinks he is being Shrewd
and Realistic, will say, ďSure, politicians always lie.Ē
Let me give you an
example of why politicians in the big leagues donít lie. This is an
experience I have had many times.
In the US House of
Representatives, a bill your congressman has a huge interest in is
up for a vote. He and a senior staffer like me start calling fifty
or so congressmen whose votes are uncertain. On each call, you
have a very few minutes to persuade and to trade.
The congressman you
call will not be as interested as you are in this particular bill.
That is one reason you donít know which way heíll vote. He will
normally ask you what you are going to do about another bill he himself is
more concerned about. When you tell him what you plan to do about his bill,
your word had better be pure, 24 karat gold.
If you get a
reputation for welching on political deals with other politicos, you
The reason your
word in big-league politics has to be good is because major league
politicians remember what you promised.
The Shrewd person
who thinks he is wise because he says, "politicians lie" misses the
truth. The Shrewd guy is so busy trying to show how Rough
and Tough and Realistic he is that he misses the whole point
The real question
is, why do the people you elect lie to voters when they have to keep
their promises to each other?
In the article
above, I explained that the media reported that private conversation
between Kerry and Edwards, but after Edwards suddenly withdrew,
every commentator had a memory lapse.
Millions of voters
heard the news about that private talk and then listened to the
commentary that evening where both conservative and liberal analysts
forgot the earlier Kerry-Edwards conversation.
I would be willing
to bet that not twenty people in the whole country noticed this
lapse. If conservative pundits and liberal pundits forget it, so
does the public.
The public has the
attention span of a five-year-old. How does a grownup treat a
five-year-old? The adult tells the child whatever the child wants
to hear right now, be it Santa Claus, tax cuts, or anything else.
treat each other as adults. They treat the public like
lie to other big-league politicians because they are dealing with
adults. They will treat the public with contempt as long as the
public keeps up its political amnesia.
And the proof of
the pudding is that we keep electing them.
Thatís why the
titles of so many WhitakerOnline articles start with ďA Man With A Memory Looks at
If you are sending
frantic e-mails out about Iraq or the Ten Commandments or homosexual
marriage or how Kerry's feet stink, you don't matter. Those issues were were settled many years ago in quiet little
precedents that were set while you were frantically
forwarding e-mails about the Clinton scandals or whatever the big thing was at the moment.
Iraq may be as big a deal to you today as
Vietnam was to conservatives in 1968. But the war that
counts is not in Iraq and the issue that counts today is not the
sellout in Iraq. The sellout in Iraq was being set up while
conservatives were trying to show that Bill Clinton was a meanie and
his feet stank.
Lots of people vote but very few matter.
You would be astonished to learn who they are. They are the
people with a memory. By the time conservatives start sending
out their frantic e-mails, the pros have already set the precedents and
I know. Setting those precedents was my specialty.
When I needed them to help me with these critical matters, all those conservative
activists were frantically talking
about whatever the buzz was at the moment.
little first book alone, which only sold one or two thousand
copies, had more long-term effect on public policy than most
professional politicians have in their lifetimes. Within
a month after it came out, the head of the staff of the Speaker of
the House was placing bets based on it with the staff heads for the
My first book got recommendations from the
Library Journal, Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus and others. These
left-wingers recommended that people buy and read it despite the
fact that it was
a worst seller.
Why on earth would the flagship publications of
the left-wing publishing industry give so much attention to a hard
right book that didn't sell? They did it because they are
professionals. This book was important. What sounds to
you like Bob Whitaker bragging was something they recognized
instantly as a fact of real life in big-league politics.
I dedicated my life to having a real influence
on public policy, not to fame or money or book sales.
That book was an accomplishment. My new book is in the same
vein. Help me a little on that and it will go a long way.
I personally saved the Hubble Telescope while
other people were worrying about The Issue of the Day in 1977.
I have a memory. That makes me a
If you don't have a memory, you are just one
more baby rattle.