Tony Blankley

But the danger is that, in the next few months, the presidential candidates will be forced either to support or to renounce the various foolish and ill-considered positions they have taken in life so far. Of course, until one of them becomes president, it doesn't really matter what they have said. Young politicians on the make grab ahold of all sorts of stupid ideas. God knows what a young Obama might have thought was a useful throwaway line once in left-wing Chicago community-action politics. Or what cozy-sounding nonsense did Huckabee offer up when trying to get elected governor of Arkansas? One shudders at the thought of what left-wing drivel Hillary pronounced -- blood still dripping from the meat -- to an audience in some Rust Belt union hall back in the old days.

Certainly we all have believed foolish things in our callow youth. But for one of the candidates (the winning one, whoever that is), it is all about to get real. And for us, too. So I, for one, am prepared to offer all the candidates 60 days of policy amnesty, just as urban police departments episodically give amnesty to people who bring in illegal guns -- and, in fact, pay them a few bucks for them. It's just a matter of practical civil hygiene.

Each candidate should come forth now and tell us he really doesn't want federal law to outlaw this industry or that (which he found politically useful to attack a few years ago). God save us if any of the candidates really want to enact the Kyoto treaty requirements (returning America to energy levels used during the 1990s). It would cause a crushing depression.

The winning candidate is about to represent and govern all the people, not a mere faction. As an electorate, we should have the maturity to let the candidates get serious about things now. (And the candidates should stop and pause before lurching forward with fresh commitment. It is easier to drop it now than after you are president.) This is not a matter of flip-flopping in order to pander to a constituency. This is about permitting the next president to shed youthful and factional excesses in preparation for governing the greatest country on the planet.

Tony Blankley

Tony Blankley, a conservative author and commentator who served as press secretary to Newt Gingrich during the 1990s, when Republicans took control of Congress, died Sunday January 8, 2012. He was 63.

Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.

In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.

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