We don’t have time for details

By Rod Haxton, editor

You’ve probably seen or heard the commercial for a company offering to help inventors get patents for their inventions.

When my boys were very young, one of them said he would hire the company to patent their machine that would take people from one place to another in an instant. I agreed it was a great idea, but informed him that he also had to invent the machine.

That proved to be a minor stumbling block and, unfortunately, the travel machine never became a reality.

Little did I realize at the time that my son was way ahead of his time as presidential material. He would fit in well with today’s Republican candidates who offer grand fantasies - like time machines - but are as disconnected from reality as a seven-year-old when asked for specifics.

Donald Trump pledges to deport 11 million Hispanics without offering any details as to how this will happen or how it will be paid for, other than to promise he’ll hire good managers. Apparently, that’s good enough for 25-30 percent of Republican voters who say they’d vote for him.

Or to paraphrase the Mexican banditos from “Blazing Saddles,” the Republican base is declaring, “We don’t need no stinkin’ details.”

The Republican field is obliging the base by not providing any.

In fact, that’s been a pattern of Republican politics for the past seven years - lots of rhetoric and no substance.

Some GOP politicians, along with Libertarian leaning candidates such as Rand Paul, call for elimination of the IRS to the delight of their voting base. But they do so without offering a plan to fund the necessary functions of government such as agricultural programs, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, defense and, dare we say, border security.

Who has time for such details?

Same with a call to repeal the 14th Amendment which says that anyone born in the United States is a citizen of this country. It sounds great to the Fox News audience that is parading up and down their streets with pitchforks and torches in protest of “anchor babies,” but it’s not going to happen.

Remember how Planned Parenthood was the outrage of the moment only a few weeks ago and every Republican from Jeb Bush to Kansas Congressman Tim Huelskamp was bragging that they had either defunded the program in their state or that it should be defunded and dismantled?

The rhetoric plays well to the GOP base, but in the real world 97 percent of what Planned Parenthood does involves providing better health care and vital information for women.

Huelskamp, Sen. Pat Roberts and others can call for special hearings and they can play to their conservative base but, at the end of the day, nothing is going to happen because the critics are offering no alternative to a program that benefits tens of millions of women.

That, however, has become the Republican Party’s standard operating procedure.

Even before Republicans had seen the Iran nuclear deal they were condemning it. Presidential candidates are vowing to tear it up on their first day in office. Trump is stirring up his supporters on the campaign trail by making claims about the deal that are, for lack of a better word, lies.

Who cares about the details? This involves Iran so it must be bad. It was negotiated by a President who was born in Kenya.


Which brings us to the never-ending efforts - and more than 65 votes in Congress - to repeal Obamacare. Even as millions and millions of Americans are enrolling in the plan and as the number of uninsured Americans continues to decline, presidential candidates and the Republican Party still promise to do away with the Affordable Care Act if elected. They vow to replace it with something better, but after six years of railing against Obamacare not a single Republican has offered “something better.”

Details, as we’ve learned, are overrated.

It’s no different in Kansas politics.

Conservative lawmakers cut funding for public education and the consequences are immaterial. Let the local districts sort out the details.

The Legislature refuses to take advantage of federal funding to expand Medicaid eligibility which would provide better health care for the poor. It’s easier for these Republican lawmakers to campaign as opponents of Obamacare than it is to help fellow Kansans and provide an economic boost to our health care industry.

The fault lies not just with candidates and lawmakers who have grown adept at telling voters what they want to hear. Also to blame are low-information voters who are too lazy to question what’s possible and what isn’t, or more importantly, to ask what happens next?

What happens after you deport 11 million Hispanics?

What happens when you eliminate the IRS?

What happens when millions of Americans lose Obamacare coverage?

What happens when lack of funding forces the local school or hospital to close its doors?

Conservative politicians are guilty of not confronting these questions. Their base is guilty of not caring about the answers.

But on the outside chance that Trump is elected President and needs help in deporting 11 million Hispanics, we’ll be glad to visit with him about our travel machine.

They are two ideas that were meant for each other.

Rod Haxton can be reached at editor@screcord.com

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