Regular readers will know that, although there are exceptions, I’m not crazy about politicians as a general rule. It’s not that they are evil, but you just want to keep an eye on them. I find them chameleon-like and quite often motivated by self-interest.
Politicians will take on the form you want them to be. They would have you believe that you and he or she are … kindred spirits in the world. That’s because politicians want something from you. They want your support or tolerance at least of their point of view. That’s a cynical view but I do want you to indulge me and ask yourself this question; When was the last time a politician was genuinely interested in how you are? Not just a handshake question like how’s the wife and kids, but a genuine interest in you and your interests and not their own.
“By their fruits you shall know them.” Politicians have been trying to use me and my kind in news for the last 40 years. That’s the length of time I have been in the business.
It isn’t always overt. Listen to the interviews on broadcast news or public affairs these days. Listen to how often you hear the sentence; “That’s a very good question.” Now that’s a politician trying to curry favour. He wants to compliment the interviewer in the hope he or she will be liked and the flattered interviewer will be kind on the next question. That is the thing that is in vogue right now. I can tell you that will soon fade and something else will take its place.
“We are going to hold their feet to the fire.” That was popular for a while and conjured up images of some Grand Inquisitor kind of questioning. It is a phrase meant to indicate how the politician is rough and tough and acting on your behalf to get accountability from some other opposing politician. It is a modern form of “we are going to put a gun to their head.”
Remember just a few years ago how everything was “at this point in time.” That blowhard expression means nothing more complicated than now, but the phrase gives the illusion of complexity to the speaker. That means you might like them if you think them complex. At least that is their thinking.
Keep Your Eye on Them
My favourite phrase in recent years is “on a go-forward basis.” That means that whatever opposition there is to a plan we don’t care and we are going to do whatever we are going to do. If you say “on a go-forward basis” it gives you a certain gravitas like you have seen the future and the right way in a vision and you are moving forward.
Remember these are the words and phrases that flow from those that need you. Keep your eye on them and always “hold their feet to the fire.”