By Chris Warren.
Ok, so call me a dork but I follow politics the way some people follow sports: I know most of the players, what position they play, and all that geeky stuff. Like sports, the scene changes day by day and sometimes even moment to moment. In my observations I’ve noticed that political figures have some profoundly annoying habits that never change. I doubt I’ll put an end to it here, but I must have my say.
With the division and vitriol of today’s politics, a comprehensive list of things I truly don’t like would not fit in the entire internet. For now, I’m not painting with a broad brush. I’ll leave that to the media, which has become a one-trick pony that can only turn left. In no particular order, here are the annoying bad habits political figures and their non-elected surrogates constantly use:
“The fact of the matter is…” This statement is uttered so often that it should be a vowel. And the funny part is, whatever comes after it is almost never a quantifiable fact, like 2+2=4, but rather a half-truth or slanted partisan talking point. The world of politics is by design built on a foundation of fuzzy statements purposely designed to allow lots of wiggle room (the official term for this is plausible deniability). With the system rigged so there is very little actual black and white truth, the annoying politicians graciously teach us unsophisticated plebeians what the “facts” are.
Asking a question, then answering it. This is probably at the top of my list of annoying politician habits. Instead of simply stating, “I think we should lower taxes; it would be good for the economy” they will instead throw out something like this: “Would I like to lower taxes? Yes, I think lower taxes would be good for the economy.” What the heck is that? Are these people interviewing themselves? Next time you’re watching the news, listen for it. Maybe we should just get rid of reporters. They are all biased hacks anyway, and the politicians seem quite adept at working both sides of an interview. Seriously, what regular person talks like this?
“We should not rush to judgement…” I propose that the federal government create a brand new Department Of Not Clear On The Concept because every time there is a terrorist attack, or a scandal, or a high profile arrest, or any other major event where the details are not clear, annoying politicians will fall over themselves to calmly say that no one should jump to conclusions until more information is available. This normally would be a perfectly rational and level-headed attitude, except that the very next thing they do is go into a lengthy postulation about the same issue that moments before they admitted they did not know much about.
The annoying news media does this too. CNN in particular is an accomplished expert at openly saying they don’t yet have the full story and then spending the next hour or more trotting out experts and analysts who will gladly talk at length about the story they do not fully have.
With all the serious issues facing our society and the overall lack of confidence that our political system will solve them, I admit my rants here are near the petty end of the scale. Yet, poor communications skills are not inconsequential. They do say something about the speaker’s ability to convey a cogent idea. And if you can’t express an idea without annoying the hell out of your audience, then you’re not really getting your message across. Politicians and political analysts are coached in great detail what to say and how to act while making public statements, yet somehow these behaviors go uncorrected. Do I believe these annoying traits will ever change? No, but we should not rush to judgement because the fact of the matter is that someday, somewhere, a blinding flash of the obvious may fill them with good sense and clear ideas.