Tags: Investing | Political | Capital

Investing Political Capital

Sunday, 01 May 2005 12:00 AM

The questioning exposes as much about the motive of the radical left's premier propaganda sheet for constructing a non-question question (insidious) as it reveals about its understanding of how political capital actually works (zilch).

The underlying premises of that pseudo-journalist's sly, though artless, tactic go like this:

This president shows gratifying evidence he's not buying that bogus analysis.

He accepts the premise that a president's use of political capital is the measurement of his ability to cause his political agenda to become reality, and that's where his and his critics' understanding part company.

What Bush also understands, and his critics don't, is that he – that any president – has absolutely no political capital he can call his own.

All political capital in a democratic republic operating under a free-market capitalist economy originates with and belongs to those whose votes elect public officials, in this case the president of the United States.

Those who don't bother to vote – to invest their political capital – forfeit that political capital and, worse, renounce their birthright as citizens of the freest land on Earth. They deserve exactly what they get, or don't get, as a consequence.

Those who do go to the polls but cast their votes for the loser throw away their political capital, destroying it as surely as if they had burned it to a char in the backyard barbecue grill. No one ever said democracy is a win-win enterprise for everyone. Tough luck.

But it is also tough love, the psychic reward for having voted one's conscience even in defeat.

Then comes one of the great redeeming features of democracy: Every so often each citizen's political-capital bank account, no matter how wastefully depleted, is replenished in full. Those occurrences are called the next election. Everyone has a fresh opportunity to make wise choices at the voting booth.

Is it right for those voters who spent their political capital wisely to reward the losers with yet another shot at success? Actually that does hold a strong element of fairness, for it affords the successful spenders of political capital a fresh opportunity to convince the losers of the merits of their position. Just as it gives the losers the license to say they told the winners so if the prevailing president fumbles the ball.

And here is where the critical characteristics of political capital come into play:

The president is but the temporary custodian of those voters' political capital.

The options any president picks, and how artfully he pursues them, are what determine which presidents come to be called great and others are rarely remembered.

A president is, on the grandest scale, an investment broker. Instead of dealing in mere stocks and bonds, he devises and manipulates strategies for political programs funded by political capital belonging to his investors – the voters who placed their chips on him.

"Spending" political capital, which is how the left, especially, sees this process, is not spending at all. It is investing in America, and among the dividends are increases in political capital.

Risky? You bet it is. Worth the risks? Without those risks taken, this republic would shrivel and perish.

This is clearly how Bush is functioning as president. It was the way George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan conducted their presidencies.

They invested their voters' political capital in the truly grand ventures, the most risky of the high-risk. They succeeded, in varying degrees, and in some instances they failed, in varying degrees. Not every political investment is guaranteed in heaven to pay dividends.

But on balance those presidents were magnificent investors, and history remembers them for that, not for the times they slipped and stumbled along the way.

The dividends, overall, that those presidents gave back to their voters were truly monumental. This is how the Founding Fathers intended it to play out.

That is the kind of president George W. Bush is making.

He is not hoarding "his" political capital. He is investing his supporters' political capital in the major high-risk issues of this new century.

One of the whopping-big differences between Bush and the left is that the left, with its shopworn Marxist orientation, believes the nation's political capital belongs not to the American people but to the government to spend-to-elect as it chooses.

Once the leftist politicians get their paws on the people's votes and their taxes, that's the end of that romance and the pols feel free to squander it all as they see fit. Their view of America is "from the people, to the government, for the government" – a government they are so frantic to possess. Little wonder they are risking all to keep Bush from investing the political capital they have not earned.

Critics seem to think if Bush doesn't accomplish everything within a matter of weeks or months he is a failure. Ridiculous. Go read the histories of previous presidents.

Even if Bush does not accomplish every great venture, and in the way he would like, that is no mark of failure. The worst that now can possibly be said of him is the high accolade that he dared to tackle the towering challenges his predecessors took one look at and slinked off in the other direction.

Do not sell this unusual man short. He possesses the key advantages of knowing where he wants to go, the honesty to say so and the courage to stay the course. That is leaving his opponents with no programs to propound and only mindless obstruction as their legacy.

The legacy George W. Bush leaves will be that of one of this nation's great investors of political capital.

You can take that to the bank.


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The questioning exposes as much about the motive of the radical left's premier propaganda sheet for constructing a non-question question (insidious) as it reveals about its understanding of how political capital actually works (zilch). The underlying premises of that...
Sunday, 01 May 2005 12:00 AM
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