Billy Davis column 10-12-12

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 12, 2012

Some free advice to you fledgling conservatives: read, study, ponder

About the time my senior year rolled around at South Panola High, there came on the scenes a cool guy from Arkansas. His name was Bill Clinton, then the Arkansas governor, and he was running for President.

He was handsome and confident. He smiled a lot. He played the saxophone on “Arsenio,” wearing sunglasses. He was smooth, oh so smooth.

Among some of my classmates, he was the epitome of coolness. It was the ‘90s version of “hope and change,” and there was a promise of exciting times come November.

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But my gut just didn’t trust the guy. He looked too slick. He sounded too slick.

The alternative to Governor Clinton was our President, a blueblood from the East Coast. He moved slow and talked slow at age 68, while Bill Clinton at the time was a youthful 46. I voted for the old guy.

Fast forward 20 years — has it been that long? — and here’s another Presidential election with the fresh-faced, cool-sounding guy competing against another East Coast blueblood.

Up on the hillside on Tiger Drive, you can bet there are some savvy students who are in the same position I found myself 20 years ago. Your eyes and ears want to believe what you’re hearing — but your gut knows better.

What got me remembering those days was a commentary that newspaper columnist George Will wrote last week, after President Obama and Mitt Romney debated October 3 in Denver.

Will returned to their back-and-forth banter about a 15-member board known as the Independent Payment Advisory Board, or IPAB. It was put in place by passage of the controversial Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare.

“It puts in place an unelected board that’s going to tell people ultimately what kind of treatments they can have,” Romney said during the debate.

“We didn’t put in place a board that can tell people ultimately what treatments they’re going to receive,” the President replied.  

Will went back to the Affordable Care Act and re-read the law. In a commentary he wrote:  

Beginning in 2014, IPAB would consist of 15 unelected technocrats whose recommendations for reducing Medicare costs must be enacted by Congress by Aug. 15 of each year. If Congress does not enact them, or other measures achieving the same level of cost containment, IPAB’s proposals automatically are transformed from recommendations into law. Without being approved by Congress. Without being signed by the president.

What Will discovered is that even if the IPAB doesn’t say “no” to your grandmother’s second round of chemo, the board ultimately controls her care by controlling the Medicare reimbursement to her oncologist.

That’s like saying the President won’t affect the price of a gallon of milk, he’ll just put a tax on milk cows.
George Will’s diligent research of the IPAB is the lesson here for you young conservatives: do your own research about anything that comes out of the mouth of a politician.

Here are a couple of other tips to pass along:

•Read, read, read.

There was no Internet for young conservatives in 1992. But today you kiddos have National Review Online, Townhall, RealClearPolitics, The Daily Caller, Breitbart, and many more.

George Will, Thomas Sowell and Charles Krauthammer are the venerable old guard of conservatism columnists. Other columnists to look for are Jonah Goldberg, Mark Steyn and Michelle Malkin.

•Be a conservative first

Many Democrats seem to wake out of a slumber on Election Day, cast a ballot, then go back to sleep, never quite sure what they’re voting for beyond empty slogans and political ads that got them mad.

Republicans play “Follow the Leader,” too. Do not fall into this trap. Keep reading and keep paying attention, and keep an eye on those who carry the “Republican” banner for you.

The likes of George Will and Mark Steyn do not follow a party, they believe in a philosophy called conservatism in which the Republican Party claims to follow.

Here’s a trial run for young conservatives. If you watched the first Presidential debate, you may recall when President Obama talked so sadly about a California classroom in which the students were using out-of-date textbooks and the teacher had more than 40 students crammed into a classroom.

A liberal Democrat hears that story and demands new textbooks and more classrooms, and more money for both.

But the conservative grits his teeth that the President of the United States is concerned — or acts concerned — over textbooks and classrooms. Between that classroom and the White House there’s a teacher, a principal, a superintendent, an elected school board, a state Board of Education, a state legislature, and lots of parents.

How about you let all of them worry about textbooks and classrooms, Mr. President, and you go protect our embassies.

The problem is that many elected Republicans will drive the concrete truck to build more classrooms if it gets him more votes. The Democrats just got behind the wheel first.  

Always remember you’re conservative first, kiddos. The Republican Party is a jukebox playing your tunes, but the quarters are in your pocket.