"No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press. It is, therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions." --Thomas Jefferson to John Tyler, 1804.

Questions and answers

One of the touchier issues candidates for office have to deal with is the interest group questionnaire – not the kind of questions that newspaper usually will ask, which generally allow for open-ended explanations, but rather the yes/no type: “Do you agree or disagree with this?”

Back when advising candidates, our usual counsel was: Don’t answer those, even those of your allies. It’s an invitation to allow other people to put words in your mouth. Better (even safer) to insist, generally, to explain your own views in your own way.

A mini-squall (just one of the most recent) in the Republican primary for the Idaho 1st U.S. House district concerns one of these surveys, this one issued by the Tea Party Boise. Some federal office candidates answered to the group’s satisfaction, others partly or not at all. In all cases, what was asked was whether the candidate agreed with the statement presented, or was allowed to present a numerical score – no room for clarification or expansion allowed.

So what was asked? Some sample statements with which to agree, or not . . .

Mandate a force reduction of federal employees of 25% across the board, except for the military and Homeland Security

Return our currency to the gold standard

Eliminate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Vote “NO” on any bill or measure that allows one state to gain
advantage over another

Immediately launch a full investigation of the payoffs, special
deals and outright bribes used by the President, Speaker and
Majority Leader

Vote to repeal the 17th Amendment to the Constitution,
effectively returning the selection of U.S. Senators to the
individual state legislatures

Vote to withdraw the U.S. from the United Nations

Vote to repeal the Hate Crimes Law

Vote “NO” on any bill that uses terms like “Social, Economic or
Environmental Justice” to justify the provisions of the bill

Our rights are granted by our Creator, NOT by men, or by the

Our progressive tax system needs to be replaced with a “fair,
“flat”, or “consumer” tax

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