Keep Talkin’ Happy Talk: Will It Work Again In #FL13?

“Hope and change.”

It was the grand rhetorical steed on which this President rode into office rather easily. I’ll give you that it was a clever PsyOps tool. Even before the “late in the campaign” economic collapse, Americans were suffering from the psychological fatigue of the news cycle of war. The daily count of the loss of the lives of servicemen and women — and the weariness of feeling under the constant reminder of the threat of terrorism — had worn on the psyche of our nation’s collective soul.

Under those tenuous conditions, who wouldn’t be drawn in by darned near anything that sounded better than where we were at the time? Well, actually, nearly half the nation wasn’t, but we’re told to believe that a 7.2% margin is a landslide of epic proportions and an absolute mandate — not just to “make slight fixes” to America, but to repeal “fundamentally transform” America as we knew it.

Could it be that a Congressional race may fall to the same emotional and linguistic trickery? Could we really elect a candidate to national office on the campaign rhetoric equivalency of Emojis? It could happen in #FL13.

The death of Bill Young opened a congressional seat and prompted the special election for the district. I live in neighboring District 12, and I am proud to be represented by Congressman Dennis Ross. But I live in the media market of #FL13, and therefore subject to the onslaught of ads in this race between Alex Sink (D), Lucas Overby (L), and David Jolly (R). In the interest of full disclosure, I have nothing to gain or lose in this race. The only investment I have in it is the 82,315* minutes of of my life that I’ve spent seeing ads during my local news broadcasts over the past few weeks (*only slightly exaggerated).

But Alex Sink may win, as we’re told by pollsters and media types. By a narrow margin. And her entire campaign reminds me of this ditty from the musical South Pacific:

Let me tell you what Alex is promising, with much the same gleeful optimism that the President promised us with “hope and change:” she’s going to bring people together. Apparently singlehandedly. I’m left to assume this will happen by her mere presence, since she’s offered up no plan on how to accomplish it. Alex, you’ve got Alan Grayson on your side of the aisle. Don’t tell me how you’re going to bring everyone together until you tell me how you’re going to bring that Grayson mess in line.

Tell me how you’re going to bring Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Nancy Pelosi off of the “War on Women” train and propose that they treat women’s issues with dignity and respect. Tell me how you’re going to get your Democratic colleagues to treat women who hold different views than they do with dignity and respect.

Oh — and as a former bank executive and state CFO — she’s not concerned at all about balancing our budget and living within our means as a nation. Absolutely no plan for that kind of fiscal responsibility. Ah, sweet irony: we’ll be “brought together” and more in debt.

I’m more than mildly discouraged that we have another candidate who may find a seat and a voice in Washington DC by way of campaign promises that amount to little more than “Happy Talk.” It sounds great. It sounds refreshing. But, quite honestly, our system of government was not built to be moderated by “Happy Talk.” It was designed to create the natural tension that comes from differing ideas. The trouble is not so much the bickering as it is the ridiculous gridlock caused by grandstanding.

The gridlock caused when Harry Reid and President Obama declare, at the beginning of a process in which the original architects imagined negotiation as a cornerstone, that they aren’t going to negotiate. Declaring a stalemate from the get go is not acting in the good faith of the process of governance — and is surely not in the best interest of the American people.

It’s time for “Happy Talk” and “Hope and Change” to find their way to the intersection of “Where The Rubber Meets the Road.” It’s time for a reality check. Alex Sink has little hope of affecting change without first acknowledging that fact. “Happy Talk” will likely always be more appealing than the serious policy talk that we require.

If the predictions in #FL13 prove true, it will seem that not enough folks learned the lessons of “Yes We Can!” as fallacious group think.

I’d hate to believe that “Can’t We All Just Get Along” is more powerful than the truth about the state of the union.