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Outsiders vs. Insiders: If politicians can’t stop saying stupid things they might as well not talk

All of us have probably heard the old adage “If you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all.” I can still hear my parents’ voices from decades ago admonishing my siblings and I to treat each other better with the “be nice”…or be silent warnings.

Did we ever hold back? Nah. But we were kids. If we went around uttering nothing but pleasantries to each Debbie Wasserman Schultzother people would’ve thought we weren’t “normal”…or maybe even sick.

Needless to say the political class or pundits don’t take the old saying to heart either, because if they did, there would be an awful lot of silence in the halls of Congress, every state legislature and city council – and cable TV news programs would cease to exist. There haven’t been any behavioral studies conducted on the subject but I’m sure if there had been researchers would’ve discovered politicians and pundits are genetically predisposed to saying not-nice things.

Therefore a more apt axiom for the political elites might be, “If you can’t refrain from saying something stupid, don’t say anything at all.”

This would be just as difficult to adhere to for the verbally challenged. A few cases last week demonstrated the concept nicely. Mandy Mayfield of the Washington Examiner reported on one Missouri pol who managed to offend half the population of his state in one ill-conceived Facebook blurb. “Missouri Republican U.S. Senate primary candidate Courtland Sykes slammed ‘radical feminists’ for their ‘nasty, snake-filled’ minds in response to a question on women's rights this week.

“’I want to come home to a home cooked dinner at six every night, one that she [Sykes' fiancee] fixes and one that I expect one day to have daughter learn to fix after they become traditional homemakers and family wives — think Norman Rockwell here, and Gloria Steinem be damned,’ Sykes said in a statement responding to the question of his views on women's rights, according to a statement posted to his campaign Facebook page on Tuesday.

“Sykes said he doesn't want his daughters to grow up to be ‘career obsessed banshees who forego home life ... to become nail-biting manophobic hell-bent feminist she devils who shriek from the tops of a thousand tall buildings.’”

Wow. How do you really feel, Courtland? As one would probably guess Sykes wasn’t finished with his anti-feminist screed and included barbs at Hillary Clinton as well as an obligatory shout-out for President Trump’s America First agenda.

Sykes’ no-holds-barred words kind of made me think back to the title of fictional sports agent Jerry Maguire’s ill-fated “mission statement” titled “THE THINGS WE THINK AND DO NOT SAY”. For those who haven’t seen the 1996 Tom Cruise movie (back in the days when Cruise actually made films worth watching), Maguire’s 25-page moment of moral clarity subsequently got him fired from his job.

Since Sykes is “only” running for political office obviously he won’t share Maguire’s fate (losing his employment) but all the same I would guess the Las Vegas odds of the Missourian winning the GOP primary and then beating Sen. Claire McCaskill in November’s general election just went up dramatically. To put it another way, we probably won’t be seeing Sykes take the Senate’s oath of office next January.

While most conservatives share Sykes’ antipathy towards the evils of radical feminism it doesn’t mean we’re going to go out in public (and yes, Facebook counts as public) and tell the world what we really think about the liberals’ excesses in so many words. By nature, in politics, you win a following by tempering your remarks and persuading people to vote for you with a message and platform of issues, not bashing people relentlessly. Even “bombastic” President Donald Trump understands this – true, his language often came close to crossing the lines of taste but he was always backed up by his winning issue agenda.

Career obsessed banshees who forego home life ... to become nail-biting manophobic hell-bent feminist she devils” isn’t quite the same thing.

Besides, Sykes is also flat-out wrong about girls and women. As the father of two daughters, if either of them ever married a man who “expected” them to be home with enough time to have dinner ready at six for him I would have a major problem with the union. Wives and daughters aren’t servile slaves to anyone. Traditional families are terrific – if that’s how husbands and wives choose to live – but it’s not something that’s necessarily more desirable than having the wife in a career or the husband working at a job where he has responsibilities to the home and family.

If saying so makes me a “radical feminist”, so be it. You go Elizabeth Warren!

Beyond the social implications, for Sykes to blurt out his sure-to-be controversial opinions is just stupid – especially for a political candidate. It’s safe to say we’re all tired of having our words confined by the invisible bonds of political correctness but there are limits of tact to consider regardless. One can be conservative and believe in traditional values and limited government and not think like Sykes does. What would Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin say in answer to Sykes’ views? Did Palin resign as governor because she needed to be home in time to cook husband Todd dinner every night?

Sykes may think he’s only maintaining his personal integrity by speaking so candidly but to state his views in such an over-the-top manner guarantees him resistance from not only the Democrats but also a huge chunk of the Republican Party. Sykes could be the new poster boy for what not to do when conducting a political campaign.

Unfortunately Sykes wasn’t the only Republican politician who broke the “If you can’t refrain from saying something stupid, don’t say anything at all” adage last week. Kyle Feldscher of the Washington Examiner reported, “Retiring Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen took a swing at President Trump for a controversial comment he made to a South Korean intelligence analyst briefing him on national security issues earlier this month.

“Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., used a congratulatory tweet to Politico reporter Seung Min Kim, who is taking a job at the Washington Post, to jab at Trump over the comment.

“’Hey, @seungminkim, congrats on the new gig! How long till Trump calls u the pretty Asian lady and asks u to give him briefings?’ she tweeted.”

Feldscher subsequently explained Ros-Lehtinen’s jibe was in reference to Trump mentioning a briefing from a “pretty Korean lady” on South Korean affairs in early January and the president’s additionally wondering why the woman wasn’t involved with negotiations concerning North Korea.

Taken at face value there’s absolutely nothing wrong with what Trump said about the South Korean analyst. Of course Democrats and #NeverTrumpers would see the remark as both racist and sexist but in the non-politically correct real world of the old days Trump’s expressions would’ve been taken as a compliment rather than an insult.

The stupid part comes into play with Rep. Ros-Lehtinen thinking it was necessary to criticize Trump’s remark in public weeks after the fact. It’s not like the Florida congresswoman is running for re-election in a marginal partisan district and felt she needed to put distance between herself and the president’s boorish reputation. No, Ros-Lehtinen is retiring from a district that’s almost certain to fall to the Democrats anyway – so there’s no reason for her to snipe at the president in this manner…except for naked personal spite.

The fact Trump’s reference to a “pretty Korean lady” even drew anyone’s notice furthers the media narrative that Trump is still just a womanizing cad who’s “unfit” for office because of his questionable past. It only distracts from the visible progress Trump is making to reform the government and part of the ongoing leftist quest to delegitimize the results of the 2016 election.

Ros-Lehtinen is supposedly known as a “moderate” Republican but her issue portfolio reads like a page right out of the Democrat National Committee platform having voted against Obamacare repeal and choosing to champion lefty causes like immigration/amnesty and “climate change”. According to her hometown (Miami Herald) newspaper, “Ros-Lehtinen is also fiercely anti-Trump, frequently decrying the president as a ‘bully’ who began his campaign by insulting Mexican immigrants and Sen. John McCain’s time as a prisoner of war, a position she says he has carried on into the White House.

“’ “I just don’t react well to people who take to bullying on Twitter,’ Ros-Lehtinen said. ‘I can’t comprehend why you would be president and do that. … It’s just interesting to me that people who were with him during the campaign … are now seeing that he’s kind of a bully.’”

Keep in mind Ros-Lehtinen’s “Asian lady” poke came at Trump via Twitter. Talk about “bullying” -- what a hypocrite. While the president was overseas two weeks ago talking business with other world leaders a member of his own party was taking swipes at him at home via social media. Stupid!

It also shouldn’t escape notice that Ros-Lehtinen’s district abuts those of two other notorious Trump haters: hat-wearing and Republican-bashing Rep. Frederica Wilson and ultimate Democrat fraud-peddler Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. Apparently mere policy differences lead to personal insults for this trio – no wonder South Florida is such a mess.

Wasserman-Schultz is infamous for saying stupid things so it should come as no shock that the disgraced former head of the DNC uttered another asinine soundbite last week. Emily Jashinsky wrote in the Washington Examiner, “In her efforts to undercut the impact of Republican tax reform legislation, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., downplayed the value of the $1,000 bonuses several companies have doled out in response to the bill.

“’I'm not sure that $1,000 — which is taxed, taxable — goes very far for almost anyone,’ she mused at a Thursday event. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., maintained the bonuses amounted to ‘crumbs’ for the middle class.

“It's a bad look, especially for wealthy members of Congress.”

Considering the sources it’s not surprising to hear filthy-rich Democrat members of Congress downplaying the value of a thousand bucks. After all, this amount of money probably wouldn’t buy you a half plate of banquet-style rubber chicken at a party fundraiser, but to a lot of folks “out there” it basically equals an additional paycheck.

Perhaps Democrats are just upset that all of these bonuses and investment increases are being handed out by private sector companies which essentially alleviate the need for massive government social programs covering their core constituents. But in the hinterlands I’m guessing there are very few receiving the money that aren’t grateful for the gesture no matter how big the checks turn out to be.

To claim otherwise is stupid.

There’s no doubt politicians have a habit of saying stupid things that get themselves and their parties in trouble on a regular basis. In times like these it would be better for political folks to say nothing at all; if that were the case America would be the envy of the entire world, indeed.

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