My First Rule of Politics

I am introducing a political idea that I call Reck’s Rule. It has life implications as well, but this is not a life coach blog.
People running for office open themselves up for lots of criticism by virtue of running and nothing more. Those opposed to a candidate or office holder are more than happy to beat them (verbally) about the head, shoulders and, in truth, anywhere they can land a shot with verbal sticks of all kinds.
Reck’s Rule (and, yes, I have enough of an ego to name it after myself and I’m not sorry) is this:
Thou shalt not give people the stick they use to beat you.
Most all politicians break the rule, but some seem to have a gift for it. I am sure we can all think of examples along the right-left political continuum, so I won’t bother to attempt a long list.   At this point in the race there are two Democrats and three viable Republicans.  All have broken the rule.  The Republicans who have suspended their campaigns have all had major violations.

I think the champion during my lifetime was George H. W. Bush. In 1988 he said, “Read my lips! No new taxes!”At this point he had not violated Reck’s Rule.   But he surely set himself up.  In 1989 he signed a tax increase.  The weak economy and budget problems led to a big political battle with this as the result. Surely the Democrats were toasting themselves over this. Bush may have done the right thing from an executive stand point.  (This is open to debate.)  But politically he did not manage this well.   His political reputation took a big hit and he provided the stick for the hit.

Then there is Reck’s Corollary:

A failed attempt at beating someone with the stick they have provided may have disastrous consequences.

How many times has someone said, “Wow, s/he just said so and so.  This will turn things our way for sure.”  Maybe not.  Donald Trump has high negatives, perhaps due to Reck’s Rule.  But Reck’s Corollary explains how it is possible to misjudge the situation.  Many of his “outlandish” statements appear to have been calculated, outlandish though they may be.  Many voters agreed with Trump and the news media was so busy talking about them they unwittingly gave him priceless publicity.  He snatched the big stick back and proceeded to thrash the rest of the field with it.

I reserve the right to refine my definitions and add further theorems, postulates, and other elaborations.   This is serious, but in a fun way, which is actually my life.

 

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