“SELLING THE SIZZLE, AND NOT THE STEAK”—IN POLITICS

As I have been watching the endless stream of Primary Debates, I was reminded of a phrase, which is often heard in the sales culture: “Sell the sizzle, and not the steak”!  Focus on the features that will appeal to the customer, thereby persuading them to buy the product or service.  In the debates, it was false promises, idealistic programs and finding fault with, and even castigating, the accomplishments of President Barack Obama.

Republicans (the GOP) seem to have had such intentions.  They make outlandish statements:  have Mexico pay for a wall along our southern border and deport some 11 million long-term undocumented residents; promise to repeal Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which has provided health insurance for some 18 million previously uninsured Americans; repeal the legislation to rein-in the Big Wall Street Banks, which was passed after Obama’s Administration jump-started the Economy in 2009; and eliminate various environmental regulations, among many other things.

So far, I have seen very little in the way of content (the steak); rather, their focus has generally been on what might appeal to voters (the sizzle)—to get their votes. Very little consideration seems to have been given to honestly laying-out both the benefits and the costs to pay for their plans.  And then, the political realities of passing the required legislation are just assumed away.

While there are six GOP candidates left, the Democratic Primary is easier to consider, since there are only two candidates remaining:  (former) Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders.  The two are often contrasted as Mrs. Clinton being more pragmatic and Senator Sanders somewhat idealistic.

Secretary Clinton’s pragmatism is probably based on her 18 years of active involvement at the highest levels in Washington—eight as First Lady during her husband President Bill Clinton’s Administration, six years in the U. S. Senate and four years as Secretary of State during the first Obama Administration.

Secretary Clinton’s past experience runs the full gamut from Senatorial activities, leading her husband’s unsuccessful effort to establish universal health care, and considerable involvement with world leaders as Secretary of State.  Senator Sanders, on the other hand, has focused mostly on domestic issues.  Bernie Sanders has considerable appeal to younger voters who, perhaps, do not understand the economic and harsh political realities of Washington.  Ideas that are never signed into law become meaningless.

The middle class, minorities, students and women seem to have been left out of the Republican agenda. They have also been left behind in the general economy, as well.  Mr, Sanders derives his strengths from championing such issues as:  Income-Inequality; “Medicare for All”; Racial Equality; Free College Tuition and Reining-in the Big Wall Street Banks.  Bipartisan analysis has predicted that the financial costs of his various programs would raise the Nation Debt considerably.  Also, his idea of raising the top Income Tax bracket, from 39% to 50%, will surely die in Congress.

Secretary Clinton’s credentials are much broader than any other candidate, from either party.  The Republican Majority in the House have been attacking her for over three years due to the deaths of four Americans at a State Department (CIA mostly) outpost in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012.  n reality, they do not want to facet her in the General Election.  Ironically, the GOP does not even acknowledge the 241 servicemen killed in the Marine barracks, or 63 more people killed at the Embassy, both in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1983, during President Ronald Reagan’s Administration.  Political cherry-picking, I guess?

Secretary Clinton’s Email problems, however, are still unfolding. Recently, the State Department also disclosed that similar transfers of official documents on private Email, during the terms of former Republican Secretaries of State, Collin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, had occurred. Additionally, ill-advised remarks by (former) Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Gloria Steinem surely didn’t help Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, especially among younger women.

With just two Primary Elections in the books, and 49 (including Washington, D. C.) more to go, Mrs. Clinton’s Email problems and the question of whether Senator Ted Cruz’ Canadian birth certificate disqualify him for the Presidency remain unsettled.  Additionally, the Republican field still must narrow considerably over time, and the need still remains to fill-in some off that flesh on the steak, if they wish to win in the General Election, so that the voters will know exactly what they are voting for.

 

 

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