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The 11th Commandment

April 1st, 2007 by Kevin

Once upon a time, Ronald Reagan created what has become \”The 11th Commandment\”

\”Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican.\”

Needless to say, I don\’t follow it, nor do I feel that I should. I believe in calling it like it is and speaking the truth, even if the truth hurts. Tough love it might be called. If you can\’t hold up in the marketplace of ideas and stand up to public scrutiny why should I attempt to prop you up?

That said, I know that many do follow this code, and I generally don\’t have a problem with that. But I would caution those that do. When invoking the 11th Commandment, be careful that by invoking it, you\’re not breaking it, especially when you use it as a shield.

It\’s especially tacky when you call a fellow Republican a liar and then in the next breath hide behind the 11th Commandment.

I\’ll leave it at that. No names need be mentioned.

NOTE : And to those that would speculate, no I was not the one called a liar, and obviously not the one invoking the 11th commandment. Merely a public exchange I overheard.

NOTE : Now while the point of this post wasn\’t simply to address a particular exchange, it was prompted by one (more on that in a bit).  The 11th Commandment is something, in my opinion, that is invoked far too often, and which is often misused when it is invoked.  So much so that I almost instinctively cringe when it is used.  And the frequency with which people feel the need to use it, may itself be symptomatic of the real problem.

That said, to the issue at hand.  The above post was sparked by a particular usage of the 11th Commandment.  Now I\’ve spoken with both sides of the exchange.  And it does appear as if one party misspoke, the wrong impression was left, and in this case, after the fact, the invoker was right to question the facts (although he did not actually call the other a liar).  However, I\’d like to point out that the way it came across to others was that one Republican was immediately questioning the statements of another Republican, and then directly after talked about the 11th Commandment.  As it turns out, both were right, and both were wrong.  One didn\’t have his facts right, and the other didn\’t adequately explain why he was questioning the facts of the other, which resulted in an exchange that left a sour taste in everyone\’s mouth.

I think both sides have stepped back from the situation, and have begun reflecting on what took place.  I think that\’s a wise move and probably a good learning experience for everyone involved, which much to my chagrin apparently includes me.  As I consider both persons involved, friends and very capable activists, and I think I have cleared up any loose ends from my end, I consider the matter settled.  I would suggest they do the same and take care in the future to avoid similar public outbursts.

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Posted in General Commentary | 8 Comments »

8 Responses

  1. Dan S. Says:

    If it’s the exchange I think you’re talking about, I heard it, too.

    Person A says, “I spoke with Michele Bachmann today, and she said she hasn’t decided who to endorse” (for MN GOP chair).

    Person B says, “Well, she’s on my list and I think you have your facts wrong.”

    I also thought it sounded like Person B was calling Person A a liar.

    Maybe Person B was lashing out a bit ’cause he got caught exaggerating the support behind his candidate (not to accuse him of being a liar or anything).

  2. Kevin Says:

    Yes that was the exchange I’m referring to.

    And yes I think person B perhaps wasn’t expecting someone to challenge the mentioned support, especially with evidence in hand.

  3. Kevin Says:

    Oh and I realize you’re paraphrasing but the distinction might matter to some. So to be fair, I think Person A said “I talked to Bachmann’s people…”

  4. Residual Forces » Blog Archive » When It’s Convenient Says:

    […] notes an energetic exchange over the weekend regarding the 11th […]

  5. J. Ewing Says:

    And it is highly possible that both people are telling the truth. There is the possibility of people hearing what they want to hear, or talking to “people” rather than Rep. Bachmann herself, or, even more likely, that the conversations took place at two different points in time.

    It is interesting, personally, because Michelle Bachmann is one of the few people whose endorsement I would consider important in this contest. Pawlenty I would expect to pay back for the last minute support. Coleman similarly.

  6. Kevin Says:

    I have spoken with both, you are sorta right, I’m waiting until I get audio of the exchange to listen to it again. I’ll update the post at that time.

  7. Kevin Says:

    Having listened to the audio again, Person A did in fact state that they had talked to Michele Bachmann, which is incorrect.

    They had talked to Bachmanns people, who apparently did not know whether she had endorsed anyone or not, which is different than that she did or did not actually endorse someone.

  8. J. Ewing Says:

    So someone making assumptions that may or may not be correct in fact, that contradicted what someone else may or may not have verified as fact. And the word “liar” never really used (it rarely is, so that subsequent charges of lying about who was lying can be dodged). What a molehill.

    What concerns me is that this whole leadership fight seems to have degenerated into internecine squabbling that ought to be beneath us all, and that is most certainly not productive of our aims.