Skip to main content

2014 mid-term primer: Who can you trust? Not the pundits or politicians

Written By | Feb 24, 2014

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., February 24, 2014 — We are barely into 2014 and the November election is heating up fast and furiously. Looking beyond that, pundits are already handicapping presidential aspirants for the 2016 election. There is no respite from political campaigns.

The radical left are acting like they always do: stirring up the pot, keeping things on a continuous boil. The news — and not just the political news — always features crises that demand our attention and, above all, government action.

We got here by paying too little attention to what the political class was up to. As Americans, we still want to be pretty much left alone. The radicals in government don’t want to leave us alone; they want to control every aspect of our lives through some part of the vast, federal bureaucracy. And they will do virtually anything to stay in power.

Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny. — Thomas Jefferson

What’s a concerned citizen to do? Sticking our collective heads in the sand and hoping the problem will go away is not an option. Becoming full-time activists is rarely an option. There is, however, a middle path that most people can follow to take an active role in their government and make informed decisions.

Don’t listen to the pundits

As a class, pundits have more in common with each other than they do with ordinary Americans.

The word “pundit” comes to English by way of India, where the Sanskrit word “pandit” referred to a learned person, typically of the Brahman class. Here, we use the word for anyone in the media who has an opinion and voices it, whether it be a TV host like Bill O’Reily or Chris Mathews or a frequent guest like Charles Krauthammer or Paul Krugman.

Generally, pundits are career reporters or academicians who have less experience in the real world than you do. On all our coinage is the phrase, “In God we Trust.” Pundits are not gods.

American pundits always push a point of view. They rarely give out unfiltered information — they give out select information to push an agenda or support a point of view. Some do this more than others, and some are more knowledgeable that others. Don’t just listen uncritically to what they say. Know who they are, what their experience is and what their point of view is.

Don’t listen to pundits when they discuss the merits of politicians. Most in the media are left-leaning; they don’t have your interests at heart. When the press tells you Chris Christie or Jeb Bush would make great Republican candidates for president, ask what their game is and then refuse to play. Remember, these are the people who told you John McCain was a maverick and a great candidate — until he was nominated.

The more they seek to marginalize, the more you should look carefully at the politician as a possible good risk. They try to destroy the biggest threats as early as possible. Think Sarah Palin, Herman Caine, Michelle Bachmann, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. If these were really such poor candidates, why the expenditure of effort to sift through their trash, stalk their family members and comb through their lives and business dealings?

The problem with politicians

If you can’t trust the pundits, you can trust the politicians themselves even less. As a class, their goal is to get elected and re-elected. They will tell you whatever they think you want to hear. If you like your doctor, you can keep him. Elect me and I’ll make your life better!

Politicians are generally followers, even though they like to portray themselves as leaders. The big question is, who are they following?

The kind of politician we want is the kind who will listen to We the People and act in our best interests. Their problem is that there are many competing interests to balance. We need politicians who will actively listen and attempt to move in the majority direction. In Colorado, for example, the Democrats in charge of the state legislature didn’t listen to the massive opposition to their gun control proposals. As a result, two senators were recalled and one forced to resign.

Did this encourage them to moderate their agenda? It did not. They are deaf to the concerns of ordinary Coloradans, even though they say they want to create jobs and get the economy moving again. Who Colorado Democrats are listening to is not entirely clear, but it is certainly not the people.

Voting for some Republicans is only a small step above voting for radical Democrats. Like pundits, career politicians have more in common with each other than they do with the people.

This is the first in a series of articles about how We the People can work to take back the government and reorient it to a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Next: Cutting through the fog and properly vetting candidates.

Al Maurer

Al Maurer is a political scientist and founder of The Voice of Liberty. He writes on topics of limited government and individual rights.