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Rudy Takala's Columns

Review of “Confrontational Politics”

I recently finished reading “Confrontational Politics,” authored by former California State Sen. Bill Richardson, who was in office from 1966-88. It is an excellent analysis of the conservative movement and guide to how conservatives may be politically effective. The following are some representative excerpts.
“People are surprised, sometimes shocked, by the answer I give when asked about my preference for president. I usually answer, “I don’t pay much attention to who’s running for that office…. Presidents don’t return my phone calls or seek my advice…. Why waste time thinking about politicians who won’t care what I say or do when I can deal with candidates and officeholders who do?” (57)
“I can’t tell you how many [people] I have interviewed who are willing to serve in government—starting at the top. The fact that they have cursory knowledge of the methodology of politics doesn’t seem to bother them at all, even after they lose.... Working in local elections is spring training in the minor leagues. Virtually all the big-name stars start there. Control the bottom, and one day you control the top.” (58)
“Don’t just sit on the sidelines and complain about those who are trying…. The good guys who think politically are a small minority, but so what? We always have been, and we always will be.” (67)
“Incompetent and inadequate management can stay in business year after year because of the influx of new, wet-behind-the-ear candidates. It takes a capable, experienced professional to know which is which; they watch all the nuances of the elective process.” (67)
“I have interviewed hundreds of candidates over more than 35 years, both as the head of a major political action committee and as my state’s senate caucus chairman. I found few who were intellectually capable of defending their conservative views when pressed.… Some of the candidates ‘didn’t like what the government was doing.’ They were viscerally in tune, but surprisingly incapable of intellectually defending the free enterprise system. I’ve met doctors who can’t see the fallacies of socialized medicine, insurance salesmen who have little knowledge of economics, and contractors who don’t mind crippling regulations. Being successful in business is no proof that one can be successful in political office.” (87)
“Think long and hard about it. There is only so much productive time. Isn’t it better dedicating your hours to giving the other side trouble than stewing and complaining over what they are doing to us?... Do humanists blubber at the mention of our names or the organizations we support?... Don't you think it's better to give political pain than to receive it?” (96)

“Exposing a liar is confrontational. They first deny, then change the subject, then attack the accuser’s character. The more vigorously we pursue the truth, the louder they scream. These anguished outcries are often intended to intimidate and cause us to desist. Those reared with Christian ethic tend to back off and give the liar the benefit of the doubt. Bad move. Their cries of anguish are confirmation that we’re on the right course. This is the time to forge ahead and press on.” (97)
"The leftist Republicans are always meekly willing to compromise and give up more ground to the leftist Democrats. But within the Republican caucus, they are extremely aggressive and antagonistic in opposition to the conservatives….. The conflict… is not between Republicans and Democrats; it’s between conservatives and liberals—traditional American values adherents against humanists.” (102)

1 Comment to Review of “Confrontational Politics”:

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