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Noonan: A Nation That Believes Nothing - WSJ.com


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A lot of politicians misunderstand this part of their art. A few months ago I talked with a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate. I asked to hear the outlines of the candidate's planned appeal to voters. The candidate leaned forward and said with some intensity, "I'm going to tell them I can get along with people. I can work with the other side."

This was a great example of confusing the cart with the horse. Why would anyone vote for you, especially during a crisis, only because you play well with the other children? What are your issues, where do you stand, what will you do when you get to Washington? If you believe in something and mean to move it forward, the people will give you a fair hearing, and if you make clear that you hope to make progress with the help of a knack for human relations, that's good too.

But this cult of equability, this enforced, smiley, bland dispassion—Guys, we're in a crisis, you've got to know how to fight, too.

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And you've got to fight on the issues.

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Just say it. Politicians lack cajones these days.

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