I certainly go back to the 1964 presidential campaign, as possibly many of you do. The Democrats that year created an aura of fear around the concept that Barry Goldwater, the Arizona senator and Republican presidential candidate, was someone to be scared of. He would push the "button", as we regarded it then, and drop A-bombs, as we called nukes then, on the Soviet Union, as we ... OK, you get the idea.
There certainly was a climate of fear then to be tapped into by the Democrats. We had gone through the Cuban missile crisis a couple years since, and we still had air-raid drills and Civil Defense activities and, well, we were scared of the Soviets. Khrushchev, you know, and those guys. Kennedy had been killed by a communist, Lee Oswald, and there was tension.
The Lyndon Johnson campaign tried to take advantage of Goldwater's hawkish posture with commercials like the one with the little girl playing with a flower, followed by an exploding bomb and a mushroom cloud. I think there's no doubt that, though it only played once, its iconic nature amplified what fears the electorate may have had of that posture.
I'm thinking that our "friends" in the Hillary Clinton campaign and, perhaps, in the campaigns of some of the more establishment-type Republican candidates are looking at that old commercial, and wondering if they'll need to use something like it to tap into 2016-era fears.
I am not talking about tapping into fears of nuclear war, but of something far more challenging -- the truth. But now, the truth no longer needs to be feared.
This has all come about thanks to the heavy level of buzz associated with a couple recent entries into the race -- Donald Trump and Chris Christie. Now to clarify, I do not have a dog in the fight. My car is not sporting Trump or Christie bumper stickers, and frankly I haven't heard enough on some issues important to me to have a clue about whom to vote for in the primary.
But that's not my point. Trump and Christie, and to some extent a few others like Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina, are rather pointed in their willingness to tell things as they actually see them. There are a lot of criminals coming over the border with Mexico, along with other illegals, and there are a lot of emigrant females being sexually assaulted on the way. There is a thriving black market in border-jumping and all its attendant disasters, and it is because of Obama's anti-American policies. That's the truth.
Christie has told people to shut up, and it's when they need to be told that, in the interest of that rational dialogue that the left always asks for (but never really wants). Fiorina has dogged Hillary Clinton around trying to get her to answer actual, unstaged questions. And Ted Cruz has been willing to bring national attention to government overspending in dramatic ways.
So here's the thing ... maybe back in 1964 the threat of nuclear war was real, and the concern over Goldwater's views, while wildly over-dramatized, reflected an unknown about the threat of war for the USA. But this is 2015, going on 2016.
What is there to be afraid of that hasn't already happened?
I'm not talking about things we should fear, like ISIS and $18 trillion in debt and open borders and Al Sharpton. We certainly should fear those.
But candor? We should celebrate that. People like candor -- there's no question why Trump has soared to the upper ranks of the GOP field in polling, and it's not because of Celebrity Apprentice or his bank balance. It's because he is absolutely clear in his convictions, and people are hungry for a person to act more unlike a politician, and say what's actually on his or her mind.
My main point is that we have had six-and-a-half years of a president who has dragged the image of the USA to depths it has not known since our ascent in world stature a century ago. Our enemies do not fear us, our allies do not trust us, and no one loves us. We celebrate convenience-store robbers. It's only a testament to how atrocious other countries are that we even have an immigration nightmare and not a brain drain outward.
Donald Trump does not strike more fear into the USA than what is our existing fear of more of what Barack Obama has done. Chris Christie cannot make us worse by plainly calling out our enemies -- they already laugh at us. Carly Fiorina can only bring a better USA by recognizing the real content of the hearts of the leaders of our enemies and declaring what she sees.
In other words, the Democrats cannot scare us any more by trying to spook us and exaggerating fear of Republican leaders. We have seen what they have to offer, and it has nearly destroyed us -- an execrable image around the world, and the inability to live within our means and defend or borders, let alone those of our allies.
Mrs. Clinton, we are certainly not afraid of Donald Trump.
Mr. Obama, we do not fear Gov. Christie, either.
We are afraid of you.
Copyright 2015 by Robert Sutton
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