Some folks say, “The devil’s in the details." Not me. I believe that God is in the details. Details are what make the big picture come together. Details are what make bad get better and good become great. That sounds like a godlier approach in my view.
Being detail-oriented can be a personality trait, but it can also be a learned behavior. For me, I know the mentors in my life intentionally taught me to care about details.
My first real paycheck came when I was 16 years old working for Chick-Fil-A in what used to be called Parkway City Mall in Huntsville. It was an education about the working of commerce in action, but it was also an education in paying attention to details. You might think that the preparation of a chicken sandwich only has so many things to think about. Not so, it’s all about the details. Are the buns fresh? Two pickle slices per sandwich. How many do we have on hand for the Christmas shopping rush? Preparation of the chicken alone was detailed and thorough with each one being dipped, battered and cooked to standard, and that’s just the sandwich! I learned about stocking, receiving shipments, scheduling staff, dining room checks, reconciling registers, and all while keeping a smile on and telling folks it's your pleasure to serve them.
Trying to be a good employee at a fast-food joint was a lot for a 16-year-old learning the world. But it taught me details that are still carried forward today.
Details truly matter. Think about some examples: How about your favorite restaurant? Was it just the food? Or was there a combination of service, atmosphere and quality food? What about architecture? Is it just that a building is dried in and can support people being in it? Or is a beautiful building a combination of strong architecture, construction quality, and refined elements that create something more than just a building?
Then of course there’s politics. Do details matter in politics? Absolutely! We’ve just finished the midterms and that cake is baked. But now, we actually see whether or not they live up to the hype. It’s one thing to look at a candidate’s advertisements and billboards but it’s quite another to see the person work in living color. Do the actions, the history, the past achievements and life experiences really add up to match the glossy mailout that came into your mailbox? Details my friends. It’s all about the details.
So let’s talk some more about details among politicians because I predict that now that the Thanksgiving holidays are over we’re going to begin seeing the next flurry of ads for all of the candidates vying for the right to push the Biden administration into the annals of history. Every Republican presidential candidate is going to have pictures of themselves with a firearm because they’re Second Amendment friendly. All of them will have a pro-life statement. You’ll be amazed to know that none of them would ever consider raising your taxes. They are all balanced-budget fiscal conservatives who love the rule of law and are hard on crime. At least that will be the message.
The real trick is to look behind the curtain. What does their life tell you? What does their prior public image tell you? What have they actually done? Are they on the record in any way?
The hope of every candidate for any office is that you won’t look too closely. Everyone has that moment that they don’t want to have to explain, or that less-than-flattering photo. Unless the dirt is verifiable and truly egregious the real kicker will be looking at policy positions.
Voters have to recognize the importance of voting on policy as much as personality, and the classic example of why I say that is currently sitting in the Oval Office.
Think about it. So-called “never-Trump Republicans” and independents were more concerned in 2020 with mean tweets and big personalities. “We must restore decorum!” they shouted. “We must have a change in the political tone in DC!” they cried. How’s that working out?
When it comes to policy positions Joe Biden had over four decades of details, actual details, on the books. Policy positions, votes on record, soft on crime, hard on energy, wrong on foreign policy, terrible on taxes, and one weird gaffe after another. But hey, no mean tweets!
If you wondered about what Biden would do on energy policy, or education, or the border, or military strength, all that was needed was a quick look at Biden’s actual history touting the Green New Deal, sucking up to the teachers' unions, calling for amnesty, and the failed pullout from Iraq. The man had a record of failure that could stretch from here to the moon. Oh, except from here to the moon would be a bad analogy since the Obama-Biden administration effectively defunded NASA.
Aside from all of the usual policies that any president must deal with there were also two monstrous elephants in the room during the 2020 campaign season: COVID and race relations.
If there was any question about how Biden would handle COVID policy, all you had to do was look at his COVID protocols at his rare campaign events: everybody distanced, muzzled and not allowed to fully assemble. It should be no surprise at all that the Biden administration is still imposing worthless vaccine mandates on society.
If you wondered at all how Biden would treat race relations all one had to do was look at a single interview in which he condescendingly told a black radio host that if he didn’t support him “then you ain’t black," indicating clearly that he did not believe that black voters knew how to assess a candidate past what party affiliation they had.
It’s all about details. 2024 is already underway in the political sense. It is vital that conservatives find that candidate who appears to fit the bill and then look behind the veil. Get away from the shiny stump speech. Check out their actual record. Have they voted as a politician anywhere in the past? Have they held down a private sector job, started a business, made a payroll, served in the military or worked for a charity? Who is sponsoring their campaign? Are they bullish on school choice but yet taking contributions from the teacher’s union? Do they claim to be tough on crime, but they knelt down with BLM? Do they claim to be for the free market, but they voted for the Green New Deal subsidies that prop up a whole section of the energy industry?
Details. When you get past the ads, the billboards, the public speeches, what details do you find?
It’s all about the details, and the 2024 election will matter more than any we’ve seen in decades. If conservatives don’t find, support, promote, and vote for their candidates based on policy, not personality, but policy, then the 2024 presidential election is going to mean more of what we’ve been lamenting in the aftermath of this year’s midterms.
It’s all about the details.
To contact Phil or request him for a speaking engagement, go to www.rightsideradio.org. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to Commentary@1819News.com.
Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.