Something that can be discussed rationally

Posted 9 November 2010 by
Kit Bond

The Hon. Christopher S. Bond (picture, Missouri Historical Society)

The first person I ever voted for was Richard M. Nixon. This was in 1972, soon after I turned 18 years old. I remember doing this on an absentee ballot, being away at college. Not only did I not have to pay to have my absentee affidavit notarized, as state law required of notaries, the notary gave me a stamp to mail my ballot. As a college student, even saving the cost of a postage stamp was appreciated.

There are those who wonder how I could have voted for Nixon in 1972. The answer is give now is usually something along the lines that it was Nixon that started the Environmental Protection Agency, worked with unions (not against them), and proposed a nationwide healthcare system.

Sometimes dealing with facts quiets those that doubt you and helps to have a rational discussion.

There was another Republican for which I voted on my first ballot, Christopher S. Bond. He was running for his first term to serve as Missouri’s governor. When he was took the oath of office in January 1973, he was the youngest state governor in the United States.

Kit Bond was one of several recent law school graduates that John Danforth brought to the Missouri Attorney General’s office when he was elected to that post in 1968. Later, Bond was elected the state Auditor in 1970 before his first term as Governor in 1972. He was elected Governor through his hard work and his notable accomplishments after only half a term as Auditor. It was said the outgoing Auditor left Bond a filing cabinet containing a coloring book and some crayons.

You could ask what took Bond so long to get to the Governor’s Mansion.

After a second term as governor, Bond was elected a US Senator for the first time in 1986. He retires from elected public office in January 2011.

Morning Edition had a story on November 9, 2010, about Bond’s book The Next Front: Southeast Asia and the Road to Global Peace with Islam. The tone of this interview was very different from what I have been hearing from most Republicans for the last ten years or so. I was reminded on why I wanted to vote for Bond and Danforth back in the 1970s.

Bond was respectful. He based his statements on personal study and reliable research. He supported and had good advice for President Obama. And, Bond’s comments were not given over to fear and anger.

It was refreshing.

Here is an example of having a fact-based discussion from the interview with NPR’s Steve Inskeep:

[INSKEEP:] Can the United States increase trade with a country like Indonesia without having more American workers feeling like they’re competing with Indonesian laborers making a dollar a day? Can you do that?

Sen. BOND: I think that you look at the statistics and I believe it was the Dartmouth School study a few years ago pointed out that companies on average created two jobs in the United States for every one job created abroad. If you have an American company there, that is the best foothold to promote exports.

INSKEEP: That’s a tough sell. We had a discussion on this program a couple of weeks ago, that centered, in part, on a survey that found like something like 86 percent of Americans think that outsourcing is the biggest threat to their jobs and the economy in general. I mean that was the number one concern that people had.

Sen. BOND: I think there’s some hysteria that has been used. Any time that there’s a downturn, the protectionists come out and say, well, it because of outsourcing. Well, the recession we’ve had is because some very bad housing policies and bad failure to regulate Wall Street, those things caused us the downturn. One of the things that’s going to help us come out of it, and President Obama has said it himself, is we need to have exports driving our economic recovery. I agree with him.

I am not saying I am fully prepared to support everything Kit Bond said. What Bond did in this interview was to give the basis of a rational discussion on the subject.

  • What is this Dartmouth School study he referred to and what did it say?
  • Are the results of the study applicable—US companies create two jobs in the United States for every created job overseas—when trading with workers making a dollar a day?
  • Did outsourcing add to the severity of this recession, or was it only “very bad housing policies and bad failure to regulate Wall Street”?
  • Will trade be the best way to keep people in Indonesia from subscribing with the terrorists?

All discussions will not be as pleasant as this interview was. There will be passionate exchanges. What we need in the future are more discussions that deal with rational statements and not irrational fears.

(If any of you want to take exception to the real words of the “Missouri Waltz,” I guess you will next want to censor Huck Finn.)

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