POST-GAZETTE - Res Publica

The most important thing is sincerity. If you can fake that you've got it made.

by David Trumbull

December 15, 2006

To thine own self be true.
--Hamlet, Act I, Scene 3

The most important thing is sincerity. If you can fake that you've got it made.
--George Burns

I don't believe the Democrats will make the mistake of nominating, for president again in 2008, the junior senator from Massachusetts. But then, I didn't think they would be foolish enough to nominate John Kerry in 2004. I was worried about President Bush's re-election prospects until it became clear that the Democrats were on the way to putting up perhaps the weakest of all their candidates that year.

By political standards, the election two years ago is ancient history. But I bring it up because we can learn from it.

By April 2004 I was convinced that Kerry could not win. That's when the trade association I work for held its board of directors meeting in Washington, D.C. President Bush's international trade policies had been harming our industry --textiles. And we had put out several statements criticizing those policies. The very day we were convened in Washington, candidate Kerry issued his white paper on international trade. Obviously he had read our statements, for his criticism of President Bush's textile trade policies took up a large portion of the report. He attacked the president's policies in the strongest terms, and using precisely the language we had been using. It was clearly calculated to appeal to my textile CEOs.

I passed the paper around the table to the assembled industry leaders. Their response? "That's great, he's saying exactly what we've been saying. Too bad he doesn't mean any of it. Every one of these Bush policies he is attacking Kerry voted for." The men in the room had no interest in supporting a man who manifestly could not be trusted. I suppose that same scene played out in boardrooms across the country.

It's just common sense. If you say one thing to group A, and the opposite to group B, at some point both groups will find out you are not to be trusted. Nevertheless, there is no shortage of politicians who are dedicated to the proposition that you can fool all the people all the time.

Now the newspaper Bay Windows --which by the way is consistently the best source for Bay State political news-- has started reprinting Mitt Romney's 1994 and 2002 statements --several off them-- to the effect that gays and lesbians should support him because he would go further than the most liberal of Massachusetts Democrats in supporting gay rights. Oh well, perhaps the Log Cabin Republicans had just brainwashed him back then, and his current anti-gay marriage crusade represents his true beliefs. Maybe, to paraphrase John Kerry, Romney was for gay marriage before he was against it.