The McCain speech you’ll never hear

Political Science 101 textbooks should start out with Chapter 1 reading:

You cannot expect to win a political campaign at any level if you actually tell voters what needs to be done. You will lose. Voters don’t like to be told anything other than what you are going to do for them as individuals. People are selfish. No one cares about the collective good.<!–

If candidates spoke the truth they wouldn’t get elected.

By Chris Ingram

It is a sad but true state of American politics, but modern political campaigns tell us little about the beliefs of candidates. In fact, the lack of candor about problems and real solutions has only gotten worse. In today’s 24 hour news cycle which focuses more on sensationalism, gossip, celebrity, and “infotainment” why are we surprised that the media spends days covering whether or not Barack Obama called Sarah Palin a pig  while spending nary a column inch or 30 second blurb about the looming Social Security crisis or the cause of our crumbling economy?

Political Science 101 textbooks should start out with Chapter 1 reading: You cannot expect to win a political campaign at any level if you actually tell voters what needs to be done. You will lose. Voters don’t like to be told anything other than what you are going to do for them as individuals. People are selfish. No one cares about the collective good.

But what if someone ran for office, say, John McCain in 2008 but spoke more like John McCain in 2000 – what would he say?

It might go something like this:

“My friends, America is facing tremendous challenges. They are challenges that can no longer be ignored by me and my colleagues in Washington, D.C. If you ever even bother to read a newspaper, you know our country’s economy is in shambles. Under the stewardship of President Bush, our nation has taken on an enormous amount of debt. In fact, when you look at how much debt we’ve taken on, you might think the last seven budgets were passed by the single vote of a drunken Ted Kennedy. But they weren’t. Most of those budgets were passed by a Republican Congress and signed into law by a Republican president.

Due to spending for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to the boondoggle we now call Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage – an entitlement program we cannot afford – under Bush, the size of government has grown at a record pace. It makes me wonder if there must be something in the water in Texas that makes presidents who hail from that state to want to be such big spenders.

Social Security is going broke. I don’t give a damned what the AARP tells you. It’s going to go broke under the weight of all these boomers and if we don’t fix it, there will be nothing left for generations to come. Current retirees and boomers need to decide whether they selfishly want to live off of borrowed money or they want to make some sacrifices for their kids and grandchildren. Because if they don’t there will be nothing left for them but a big pile of debt. And listen, don’t trust any politician who tells you he wants to “preserve and protect Social Security for current and future generations” and then adds, “without increasing the payroll tax on Social Security, raising the retirement age, or cutting benefits.” That’s the biggest bunch of bullshit I’ve ever heard. How in the hell can you save a system that is already near collapse without making cuts in benefits and without raising the payroll tax? You can’t. A ten year old can figure this one out but for some reason the politicians in Washington cannot.

Our education system is a big mess. Somehow we’ve managed to let the teacher’s unions take over the decision making process about what’s good for schools. Doesn’t anybody realize what the problem is here? A union – an organization that has dues-paying members to whom it is supposed to be looking out for by protecting those members’ jobs – has the biggest say in how our schools are managed. That is the problem. Now I haven’t been to any public schools in a while, but the last time I did go to one I didn’t see any sweat shops and I’ve never heard of any school principals forcing teachers to work on Sunday or even the day after Thanksgiving, and the last time I checked, the most dangerous activity for a teacher in a school is a slip and fall in the cafeteria ‘cause some little brat spilled his chocolate milk on the lunchroom floor. So would somebody please tell me why in the hell teachers need a union? If they spent more time focusing on educating our kids than they do wondering how to get another day off, voters might just actually want to give them a pay raise!

Our addiction to Middle-east and Russian oil is compromising our national sovereignty. Back in the 70s some forward thinking individuals suggested expanded drilling in the U.S. But a handful of environmental whackos who think it’s just fine to drill in Saudi Arabia or Russia but don’t want to run any risk of damaging the environment in their own backyard (aka: the USA) killed the idea. In addition to the “environmental concern” argument, they said it would take 30 years to reduce our dependency. Well guess what folks? It’s been 30 years and we could be reaping those benefits today. The question now is, when these same bunch of tree-huggers with blinders on makes the same argument, will we fall for it again? And how about that Al Gore? This guy is the world’s self-proclaimed savior of the environment. But according to an e-mail I’ve received about 1,000 times, Gore’s home in Tennessee uses ten times more electricity than the average home in America. What a hypocrite! And now this same buffoon is calling for an end to the use of all fossil fuels within 10 years. Earth to Al, solar and wind energy might be great to help power your lawnmower, but I think I’d rather not rely on those sources of energy to power a jumbo jet, an Army tank, or the surgical center at my local hospital.

Our tax system is the root of all economic evil in this country. Some argue it is too regressive while others argue it isn’t regressive enough. Who knows for sure? But one thing is certain: the damned tax code is about 20,000 pages long and if you ask ten CPAs for an opinion on it you’re likely to get ten different answers. And get a load of this: there are over 14,000 registered lobbyists in Washington D.C. Guess how many of them lobby on “tax issues?” Go ahead, take a guess. 3,500 of them. That’s right fully one out of every four lobbyists in Washington lobbies Congress on Tax Policy – because that’s where the money is fought over. Do you know how many lobbyists are registered to lobby Congress on the issue of homelessness? Sixteen. There isn’t a whole lot of money to be fighting over on homelessness issues. If there were, the piranhas representing special interest groups in D.C. would be at those committee meetings extolling the need to increase some tax credit or corporate loophole, or other handout for the benefit of those living on the streets – which would have to go through the hands of said special interest group first of course. So what do we need to do? We need to throw the whole damned tax code out the window, run over it with an M-1 Abrams tank, then pick it up and burn it, and then shoot the ashes off into outer-space. We should then probably blow up the capsule carrying it just for good measure. Hey, I used to be a fighter pilot, what can I say? Maybe we can put Al Gore on board while we’re at it.

Our country is facing a host of other problems as well. Infrastructure is crumbling, family farms and farmland are disappearing, everything we buy at Walmart is made in China, and it’s harder to fly across the country than it is to enter our own country on the Mexican border. Oh yeah, and those pesky TIA guys at the airport are nothing but window dressing that costs us billions just to feel better. But they scare away a lot of terrorists carrying deadly containers of Head and Shoulders and Right Guard from entering our country – so the terrorists just smuggle their personal hygiene items across the Mexican border instead I’m sure.

But with all these problems, do you know what I think the Number One problem with America is? It’s Americans. We’re stupid. Ever been to a county fair? Take a good look around you. Too many of us are just plain dim-witted. And it’s not just the fault of the unintelligent. It’s Congress’ fault. And by association, it’s your fault too for having elected these clowns. I mean think about it, Congress actually encouraged, no, required banks to give mortgages to a ton of people who had no more business buying a house than they did procreating. We can’t stop ‘em from doing the dirty deed, but do we have to give them unsecured money to buy a house? So now these people can’t pay their bills and they will lose their homes and the rest of us are supposed to feel sorry for them and pay for it. I say it’s too bad you were stupid enough to take out a $300,000 loan on a $27,000 salary and now you’re going to lose your house. Go back to renting. Taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for your dim-wittedness. Don’t believe me that people are stupid? Consider this: a survey for’s Financial Literacy series last year revealed that 34 percent of homeowners had no idea what type of mortgage they had — whether it had a fixed or adjustable rate, what those terms mean, or how long their loan was. I was speechless when I first read this and I still find it to be almost unbelievable!

In conclusion, I should’ve just stood up here and read my political obituary, because when people start reading about what I just said, there’s no way I’ll get elected. People don’t want to hear what a mess we’re in, or how stupid they are. They want to hear that it’s all someone else’s fault and know that the government check is in the mail. Okay. It is. But we’re also sending your kids the bill and that’s the part Barack Obama isn’t going to tell you.

After this in your face speech, I can think of no other way to sign off than to do as Porky Pig used to say, “that’s all folks.’”

It’s too bad we’ll never hear John McCain (or Barack Obama for that matter) give this speech. Our children would build monuments to him one day if he did.

Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, Front Page Florida, and National Review online. E-mail him at:

4 thoughts on “The McCain speech you’ll never hear”

  1. I am an Obama supporter, but I agree with what is written here. Our politicians are letting us all down. All of them from both parties are neglecting to do the right thing.I like Obama becasue he represents a fresh start -albeit I am a little concerned that he is so untested. I may still consider voting for McCain but with Palin on the ticket I am just as concerned about her lack of experience as I am Obama’s.


  2. Fear not. A monument will be erected to McCain soon enough. This being the case it makes it even more irresponsible, the pick of Sarah Palin. The monument? His headstone.


  3. I agree with the statement about Americans’ being stupid in terms of who is elected and why because our society is not highly educated, and we value the superficial rather than the authentic. So the stupidity stems more from laziness more than anything else. People don’t want to hear about real problems and therefore real solutions because it takes more effort than watching a sitcom.
    As far as content, I’d like to address education since I’m a former teacher, as well the daughter and sister of teachers. I’m an Obama supporter but I by no means made my decision based on his views toward education. And in the same spirit, my decision is not a statement against McCain. The truth is that no politician can “fix” the schools. One reason being the statement from this article, “Now I haven’t been to any public school for a while” blah blah blah…That’s the problem entirely. Until you work in a school or spend a great deal of time observing and listening to everyone involved in schools-from the janitor to the superintendent to the pre-k child, and approach the research with an open mind, you can’t possibly know what to do to do. Blaming the unions, the teachers, or any single group or any single entity, or suggesting that one idea will save us all is either an inability to grasp life’s complexities, or it’s a choice to dumb it down because it’s too much damn work.

    Education is similar to the problems in the African-American community in terms of problem-solving approaches. And I think Bill Cosby would agree. The government can and should do things better. However the real change has to come from the citizens themselves. Education will only improve if educators collectively insist on being heard and included in policy-making. Furthermore, an educator’s opinion is drowned out by community loud mouths. I’m not saying citizens shouldn’t have a voice, but just because a person has been to school doesn’t mean he or she knows anything about running one.

    In addition, educators don’t speak with authority because as a group they have chronic low self-esteem. And the self-esteem issues stem from deeply entrenched sexism coupled with the bottom ranking on the respectability scale in America. It has never been considered equal to law, medicine, business, entertainment, the arts, politics, or professional sports. Many Americans argue to the contrary and go on TV to praise all the teachers out there who are working and sacrificing. It’s all condescending rhetoric because where a society puts its money and attention indicates its true values. Although teaching pays better than what the general public believes. It’s far below other professions. And the “pay” leaves out the most important element, respect. When I told people I was a teacher, I often heard in so many words, “I’m so sorry you have such a shitty job.” It was pity that was most often dispersed.

    thanks Chris for spawning my next article


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