John Feehery: Speaking Engagements

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You Say You Want a Revolution?

Posted on February 11, 2011
Hosni Mubarak surprised everybody when he said that he was sticking around until September.  Charles Krauthammer predicts that once the mosques adjourn in Cairo later today, there are going to be a lot of very angry Egyptians who are not to going to accept Mr. Mubarak’s decision.

You want to cause a revolution?  Raise expectations and then disappoint those whose expectations you raised.

House Republican leaders promised in their pledge to America to cut one hundred billion dollars from domestic discretionary non-defense spending.   They then tried to explain to their newly elected revolutionaries that they had to pro-rate those budget cuts to account for the fact that close to half the budget year was done.

To newly elected revolutionaries, they don’t want rational explanations.  They want to cut a hundred billion dollars.  Instead of be toppled by the rebels, the leaders did what they had to do.  They agreed to the terms.

The lesson:  Don’t unnecessarily raise expectations.

Conservatives have come to Washington to their annual meeting to try to hash out what conservative really means.  The consensus?  I am a conservative, but that guy over there is a sell-out squish.

Dick Cheney got booed when he got up to introduce Donald Rumsfeld.  Dick Cheney?  This is CPAC, not MoveOn.org.

Gary Johnson thinks we should legalize pot.  Ron Paul thinks we should get back on the gold standard.   Newt Gingrich thinks we should subsidize ethanol.  Rick Santorum took a rhetorical swing at Sarah Palin.  Palin boycotted the whole thing.   Tony Perkins still hates gay people.  Bill Cristol finally got the joke about Glenn Beck, while Mr. Beck, the Mormon millenarian doomsdayer, lashed back at the party’s leading neo-conservative.  And gay conservatives are making a statement by saying: “we are here, we are here, we are here.”

There are so many different revolutions floating around this convention that it is hard to really know who makes up the establishment and who are the outliers.

Conservatives had high expectations after the Tea Party took back the House for the GOP.  But it is hard to move forward as a movement if you spend all of your time bickering with your friends.

John Boehner has been the only one who has played the expectations game right.  He gets that it will be hard to change the world from his perch in the Speaker’s chair.  He can only do what he can do.

My old boss, Denny Hastert, would preach a simple political doctrine:   Underpromise and over-deliver.  Good advice on how to play the expectations game.