Groundhog Day No More
Cal Thomas’s advice for playing it cool in life and politics.


Lopez: You write that “solutions exist, mostly at the state level, but the major media, of which I have been a part most of my professional life, prefer combat or resolution. Real solutions would give them nothing to talk about, and thus lower ratings, which would lead to smaller profits.”

Thomas: Yes, there have been occasions when a TV booker called to find out my opinion on a topic and then rejected me because I wasn’t “edgy enough.” They want the rhetorical equivalent of pro-wrestling. So much of our political discourse is fake, like professional wrestling, and who looks for real solutions today? It’s all about the comb, who’s up and who’s down in the polls.


Lopez: You talk about not “not playing on the liberals’ field and by their rules.” What does that look like practically beyond having alternative media?

Thomas: You can’t prove a negative. You can’t provide evidence you’re not a racist, or a misogynist, or homophobe. But that’s how the mainstream media frames the question when interviewing a conservative. I always turn it around on the questioner. Are blacks and women, especially, better off with the policies of the Obama administration? And what does “better off” mean? And why do you always refer to “women’s issues” as if all women think alike? Isn’t that stereotyping? Something like that.

Lopez: Why do you wish everyone could know Khadijah Williams and Joni Eareckson Tada?

Thomas: These are people from completely different backgrounds — one born into poverty, the other who became a paraplegic at age 17 — who have overcome and serve as examples to all. But we don’t teach overcoming today. We teach victimhood.

Lopez: “For the left,” you write, “it is always about expanding the size (and cost) of government, though a fair and objective look at government and how it has failed to solve the problems it is asked to solve should lead us to conclude, as Ronald Reagan said, that government isn’t the answer; government is the problem.” That sounds like typical Right–Left boxing, doesn’t it, though? How can you get someone who is more inclined to government solutions to listen in? And how can you get a conservative to more compellingly and constructively make use of government where it can help?

Thomas: We have a history. The Founders established boundaries for government. They wanted people to be unlimited in their quest for success, happiness, and liberty. We have exceeded those boundaries and that’s why we are in trouble. If we focus on what has a track record of working and update it as necessary, we can solve problems. That’s what many states are doing. I have a chapter on what is succeeding at the state level. I want to see a revitalized Grace Commission, which Reagan appointed, to do an audit of the federal government, but this time with real teeth, like the Base Realignment and Closing Commission. Every agency and program has authorization legislation or a charter which announced its purpose and goals. If it is living up to those goals and its purpose at a reasonable cost and the private sector can’t do a better job, we keep it. If it’s not, we get rid of it.


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