I need to have a heart to heart talk with you. I am going to ask you to listen with your mind and not your emotions.
I want to speak to you as one who ran for office as a candidate numerous times; got elected to statewide office longer than any Republican in my state's history; and who now hosts a television show, a talk radio show, and a daily radio commentary.
I'm probably one of the few talk show hosts who has actually served as CEO of a state and also presided over a Senate as a Lt. Governor.
As a candidate, I had to run and win in a state that had only elected three people of my party to statewide office in 150 years, and I won by the largest margin of anyone in my party ever had. I even received 49 percent of the African American vote in my state -- and not many Republicans in any state can say that --black or white.
Now I'm not saying that to boast, but I'm saying it because I want to qualify what I want to say.
Having run for office, served in office, and been a talk show host talking about those who serve in office, I can tell you that the easiest of those is being a talk show host.
You see, I get to take a stand, I get to fully control the debate, and I can change the subject whenever I want to. I have no responsibility for the outcome of my ideas should they be embraced and adopted. The solutions that I push for on radio or TV don't have to work. I can be absolutely absolute about how right I am because no one gets to hold me accountable.
You see, holding office and governing is hard. Very hard. As Governor, I had 89 out of 100 in the House who were Democrats and in the Senate 31 out of the 35 of the Senate were Democrats.
Now with those numbers, I didn't have a legislature that was looking for ways to make me look good. And the legislation I proposed either had to be good but I still had to sell it to people who didn't have a natural interest in wanting to pass it.
This week, most of the Republican callers to my radio show supported the showdown and the shutdown. One said it best, he said, "We sent those guys to Washington to take a stand." That's when I realized "Houston, we've got a problem." Because, no, we didn't "send those guys to Washington to take a stand. We sent them to govern.
You see it's really easy to "take a stand." Heck, you don't even have to go to the trouble of running for office or serving as an elected official. On radio and TV I take a stand every day. You can take a stand by raising your voice on the Capitol Steps; but to make a real change, you've got to get inside that building and have a vote.
I can raise Cain as a talk show host, but to raise up test scores, create jobs, or build roads or reform prisons, I had to govern.
Now, unless the numbers are all on your side, you are not going to get everything you want. By the way, I had a theological education and in theology, things are pure, they're black and white.
Politics isn't pure. And it's never perfect.
By the way, when I cook barbecue ribs, I cook them on low heat and I cook them slow to make them fall off the bone real tender. Because good cooking is not done over an explosion, but over a steady heat. We've seen people in Washington taking a stand, but the question is are they governing?
Most people don't care about the process in the kitchen, they care about the finished product. Governing is about mastering the process so the product will nourish and not make us sick.
I've come to the conclusion, I think some of the politicians would be better as talk show hosts and some of the talk show hosts ought to run for office and find out what it's really about.