Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Silence Strategy, In Politics

   Oklahoma is already seeing subtle hints of political aspirations through the overtures of national personalities who offer their services in the 2014 Oklahoma election cycle. And it is a very dicey situation where they can defeat their opportunities through putting their foot in their mouth. Some great leaders have, a times, been their own worst enemy. Effective campaign managers often tell their candidate to 1) raise a lot of money, 2) get an early lead, then 3) keep their mouth shut!
  We often see polling firms float names of prominent Americans in presidential preference polls. Some amusing names occasionally float to the top tier, even though the public knows next to nothing about their policies or executive skills. Yet, when the celebrity candidate actually enters the 'fray' and set up a campaign operation, they destroy their prospects with the words of their own mouth.
  Some historical examples:
John Adams
Attorney, John Adams
 In the Continental Congress, Attorney, John Adams, was a strident 'in-your-face', and nit-picking personality who often wore down other delegates and squabbled over grammatical structure of resolutions. He really didn't have very many loyal friends by the time the Declaration of Independence was released.
   Immediately, for the safety of many of the signers, Adams and others were dispatched to France, where they would serve as ambassadors and enjoy French protection. As the war cemented American resolve for independence, many came to eventually see John Adam's passion as more reasonable than they did in 1776.
  After the British relented and recognized USA sovereignty, John Adams was a consensus choice to be the 1st U.S. ambassador to England. Perhaps that was seen as a punishment to King George, from the new U.S. government.
  After Adam's 12 years in Europe, the American States ratified a new constitution and called for new elections. John Adams decided it was time to come back to the land he loved. When his ship entered Boston Harbor, a massive crowd instantly gathered and welcomed the great hero to the home nation he gave up so much for.
  When the new congress was seated their first duty was to select federal leadership. Only George Washington collected more national votes than Adams. The rules placed Adams as our first vice president. 
   Little did Adams know, He had just replaced his 12-year exile from homeland for a 8-year exile from significance. After less than a year as V.P., he wrote;
"My country has in its wisdom contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived; and as I can do neither good nor evil"
    So after 8 years of doing less than he had in England, his countrymen elected him to succeed President Washington. Little was the congress ready for the new executive's pent up desire to regain influence. Very few men from that 1776 Continental Congress were still active in public life. But Jefferson was. He may have been the only suitable man to stand up to Adams. And that he did. The two had been charged to draft a declaration. The two had served together as ambassadors to Paris. But the two were fierce competitors in the art of debate and persuasion. Adams didn't stand a chance and he was turned out of office after only one term.
Fred Thompson
The drafted candidate, Fred Thompson

   There was broad disappointment with the 2008 Republican field, in the summer of 2007. So much criticism had been lodged at every Washington figure, so that a draft campaign was well underway to bring in a former senator and lawyer-turned-actor, Fred Thompson.
   Thompson looked very authoritative in his selected movie roles. He was a darling of the 1994 conservative takeover of congress. But the same folks who convinced Thompson to run for president became so disheartened by his anemic political drive and skills. Thompson fell flat. Not because he was obnoxious like Adams, but because he lacked the passion to run. He, like Adams, was more popular before his candidacy than after entering the mix.

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