Authenticity. It’s something that certainly seems to be in short supply in America today, especially when it comes to our leaders. Do you feel like you know what any of the politicians in Washington really believe? Or even why they believe it? With few exceptions, you probably don’t. And that’s a big, big problem – because America has changed and the people demand authenticity and character from our leaders.
On the radio show today, Glenn explained exactly what he wants out of leaders – and it’s a lesson every poltician needs to learn.
Below is an edited transcript of Glenn’s monologue on authenticity:
We live today in a society of misfits and underdogs and tramps. Everybody today is weird. The days of sitting in an office wearing a suit and tie or a skirt and a blouse while taking orders from a boss or taking dictation rapidly coming to an end. We feel more free to dress casually. We feel more free to question leaders. We feel more free to shave every third day, at most.
Walk into a Starbucks at peak hours, you see it. This is America. Some are in line, some are in a hurry, some are seated alone, some are sitting there with their computer or tablet, some are seated together having personal or business discussions, but I will tell you it is not the coffee shop of 1958. And that’s a good thing.
But now look at the Republican Party. Let’s look at Mitt Romney during his campaign, George W. Bush in the White House, or his father. Look at Ronald Reagan as president, Ford or Nixon. White shirts, neatly pressed suits, neatly parted hair, fathers who were king of their castle, fathers know best, ‘my way or the highway’ kind of dads. And there’s nothing wrong with this.
When Reagan, however, was on his ranch, that was a different thing because it bucked that image that the Hollywood crowd and the progressive left liked to create for Ronald Reagan. It changed who you knew he was. When he was in jeans and a flannel shirt and he was on the back of his horse, you knew who he was, the true Ronald Reagan. He should have spent more time there.
I don’t know about you, but as a voter I’m not looking for a dad. I don’t need another dad. I got one. And when I was under his roof and he was paying the bills, I followed his rules.
What I do want is a politician that has strong morals, strong beliefs, convictions, somebody who will actually stand up for what they believe and know what they believe.
When I did my interview with FOX, it was the strangest interview I’ve ever had in my life. Roger Ailes had invited me for dinner, and I sat down for dinner, and he asked me some of the strangest questions I’ve ever been asked. I mean, it was a genius interview, it really was. I sat down and he said to me, “What’d you think of the Korean War,” something like that. And I happened to be reading something at the time about that time period. So I skated.
The third question was, “What did you think of the China summit in 1972?” And I looked at him and I said: “You know what, Mr. Ailes? I could bluff right now, I could bluff and I could tell you a bunch of stuff that I’m pulling out of the air but I have a feeling you’re smart enough to know that I’m completely bluffing. So I’m going to do something that could blow this whole interview, but that’s okay. Uh… I have no idea about that treaty and the summit. I have no idea, and I’d completely be bluffing if I said otherwise.”
He said, Hmmm. And then sat in silence for about five minutes and said nothing. And neither did I. And I was like, “Well, that was a short interview. That was good.”
He just kept throwing me up against the wall. I think I lost about 8 pounds sitting at a meal with that guy. It was brilliant. I don’t know if he does this to other people, but it was absolutely brilliant.
At the end, he got up from the table and I thought, ”I’ll never see this guy again.” He got up from the table and he said, “Young man, it’s good to be with people who actually know what they believe, but more importantly, know why they believe it. We’ll talk again.”
And that was it.
That’s really what I want from a candidate. I want somebody who not only knows what they believe, but I want to know why they believe it. I want to know that they know why they believe it.
In fact, forget about politics. I want that in life. If I have a boss, that’s what I want from a boss. That’s what I want from coworkers. It’s what I want from employees. Why do you believe that? Why’d you do that?
I want somebody who I could actually sit down with at a Starbucks and have a real conversation. I’m not looking for an authoritarian figure. I want somebody who understands what it’s like to be out in the real world.
Do you know when they — when they put this healthcare thing together, they didn’t have anybody who had actually started a business before. What a surprise. They’re not surrounded by anybody who runs a business or has ever run a business. They don’t know. And that’s why it’s running so poorly: Because they don’t put any stock. You didn’t build this. The government did. They just really believe that running a business just happens: You open up the door, you sell stuff, you rip people off, you go home at night and count your money. That’s what they really believe business is and so when they had to do something that revolved around business, it didn’t work.
You know, authoritarian figures, we talk about dictators being bad, but Father Knows Best I get. I get. It’s not a dictator that’s setting boundaries and raising responsible kids. Dictators don’t do that. Dictators set rules and treat you like a child, but we’re equals, aren’t we? Aren’t we equals? If I elect you to a job, aren’t you an equal? Do you feel that anybody in Washington, Republican or Democrat, are treating you like an equal? That’s the image they try to give to everybody.
I’m not looking for an authoritarian leader. I’m looking for a leader of individuals and one who understands the individual, a leader who speaks from the heart, a leader who knows who he is, authentically knows who he is, isn’t afraid to show it, a leader who isn’t all about himself but is about the individual. They may not know the individuals by name or anything else but knows that that’s really what it’s all about.
Put aside the ideological differences that we might have. Those are important, but not the purpose here. What the conservatives need, what libertarians need, what TEA Party people need is Reagan on his ranch, Harry Truman in his Buick. When Harry Truman went home from the president, he didn’t take a helicopter to a plane. He said, “Pull the Buick up.” They said, “Mr. President, you haven’t driven for a long time.” He said, “I know. I want to drive home.” In fact, he drove home. He said, “I’ve never been on the new highway system. I want to drive home.” So he drove home. Cops stopped him halfway home. Bess slid over on those big bench seats and said, “Officer, would you tell him he’s driving too slow?” He said, “Mrs. Truman? Mr. President?”.
We want a leader who just wants to be a normal guy, a leader who listens, a leader who cares, a leader who will sit down and have a real conversation, and it’s not about what’s after the presidency. Not somebody who comes across as a guy like that, but somebody who is a guy like that.
So many politicians, including TEA Party politicians say, “What America deserves…the American people deserve better…Our Constitution clearly states that all men are created equal.” Every time I hear one of these guys say something like that, I feel like they’re talking to the room. They’re talking to this big collective thing. You see it in the Senate, you see it in the House, you see it in the White House, you see it on the campaign trail. It’s like you’re watching C-Span all the time.
Tell me who you are. Tell me a story about what America is, but actually believe that story. Say “you” when you talk. Talk to me one on one. Reach down. Take a sip of coffee and have a real conversation. Tell me that you hear what I’m saying but “You know, I think I disagree with you.” Even if you know I’m going to dislike it. I’d much rather have an authentic leader, an authentic human than anything we’re seeing prop up.
Tomorrow is election day and there’s more choices in front of America, and we will indeed make those choices one way or another. But we will make the choice of more authoritarian rule, and that comes from the Republicans and the Democrats. The Republicans are just as bad, gang. Boy, did I used to get yelled at for that. “Stop saying the Republicans are just as bad.” They are. In fact, they may be worse. Because at least with the Democrats, they’re not saying that they’re against authoritarian rule. They’re not saying “I’m so against big government” and then give it to you.
Tomorrow we make some more decisions, but every day we make decisions. Every day we decide who we’re going to be.
I will tell you that in many ways I’m really optimistic. In many ways I know that what’s coming will be good. Might be painful along the way, but it will be good. And my imagination, as big as my imagination is, I can’t imagine what God has in store. I can’t imagine what you’re doing in your life. I can’t imagine all of the things that are happening all around the world that are good right now. But I know they’ll happen. The question is will we be brave enough to be ourselves? Will we be brave enough and wise enough to choose somebody who really is real? Will we be brave enough to say they don’t all have to be that way? They don’t all have to be on the take.
Did you see Mike Lee had a ten minute ovation? I think people came out to the park, so they had to stand. But a ten-minute ovation for Mike Lee on Saturday. Do you know that Ted Cruz’s popularity rating is at 80% here in the state? You’re not hearing that, are you? And by the way, it’s not 80% Republican in Texas. I don’t know if you know that. That tells you something. That tells you something: That people want somebody just to say “This is who I am and this is what I’m going to do.”.
What’s more disturbing is that we don’t seem to care about it. What’s more disturbing perhaps is that The New York Times, in an editorial, said that he didn’t lie, he didn’t really lie. When he said you can keep your doctor and you can keep your health insurance and that they had the studies that showed that up to 80 million people would lose their health insurance, now we find out, this week we find out that that number is actually 125 million, half of the population of the United States? They knew half of the population of the United States would lose their doctor and their health insurance and yet, he went on the road over and over and over and over and over again and said “You’ll be able to keep your doctor if you like them, you’ll be able to keep your health insurance” when they knew half of the population of the United States would lose their health insurance. And the New York Times said he misspoke. Boy. I think we all need a new dictionary because you know what? We’ve created the Tower of Babel because it’s like babbling to me.
I have no idea what anybody’s even talking about anymore.
I speak a different language. That language is common sense. Things that you don’t have to teach people. They just find them to be self-evident.