Remember when Newt Gingrich was the darling of the right?
He was largely responsible for the GOP taking over the House of Representatives in 1994. So much so, he was Time’s Person of the Year in 1995. And, he was pretty successful as Speaker. There were a couple of hiccups along the way, but all things considered, he had a good run.
Remember when Arnold Schwarzenegger was the darling of the right? Heck, some were even serious about changing the Constitution to allow him to run for president. “Conan the Republican,” he was called. And the “Governator.”
Now, he’s the butt of jokes — the “Sperminator” — after word of his fathering a child with a staffer.
And Sarah Palin? In 2008, to those on the right, it was almost as if the Beatles were showing up. Or Justin Bieber, to you young kids.
Some were saying they wished she was leading the ticket, not McCain. And the Sarah 2012 bumper stickers showed up before the 2008 election was done.
Now? Conservatives are crossing their fingers, hoping she won’t run.
Rather than go on with a bunch more examples — you can supply several, I’m sure — I’ll get to my point. I’m sure I had one, after all.
For each of these — and for those you come up with — we conservatives were like dogs when their master came home: we jumped up and down, all excited to see them. We’d bark and yelp and make noise showing how happy we were.
Then what happened?
The 1998 election and word of Gingrich’s latest affair, culminating with his resignation.
The evidence that a conservative in California would be a liberal in most of the rest of America. That, and Schwarzenegger’s illegitimate child.
The resignation of office, giving the left another notch on their belt, and letting people believe that all the things said were true.
The truth is, Gingrich, Schwarzenegger, and Palin haven’t changed. Not much, anyway.
So, have we?
A little. We’re acting more and more like the left.
If a dog was all happy to see you, then suddenly started baring its teeth, you’d put it down. Or you should.
But, we’re not dogs. The politicians need to understand that.
And, the politicians aren’t those rosy images we painted of them. We need to understand that.
We see something we like about someone. Something they did. Something they said. Something. And we seize on it and proclaim them the greatest thing since sliced bread. Or since the iPod.
Then, as time goes on, the person continues to act like they’ve always acted. And the other side seizes on that. And we pay attention.
Eventually, we seem to turn on the politician.
The attacks on Gingrich, the jokes about Schwarzenegger, the comments about Palin … they’re pretty rough.
Not saying they aren’t accurate or playing off truths. But they are pretty rough.
Politics is a rough sport. You gotta be tough to play it.
Now, I’m not saying we should back off. I’m saying we need to be the parents of the schoolgirls screaming because John, Paul, George, and Ringo are on the stage. We can enjoy the music, too.
And, when John says something we don’t like, we don’t need to burn Beatles records.
We are the voters. We are Americans. We are America.
We need to act like it.