Say The Secret Word

Old movies filled many a winter Saturday afternoon when I was a child in the mid-1960s.  That was when I was introduced to the Marx Brothers.  I didn’t know that Groucho Marx had been a movie star.  Until then I had only seen him on his TV show, “You Bet Your Life”.  The show would consist of Groucho talking with people selected from his audience.  They would win $100 if they said the secret word.  That’s all it took.  If they happened to say the right word they won a prize.  This is a link to some of his most amusing comments.

We recently celebrated July 4th, the commemoration of one of the most innovative and daring political documents of all time.  The sheer audacity of the crafting of the Declaration of Independence is celebrated in the movie 1776.  Sadly, if you talk as I do with the men and women who serve us in Washington and Columbus, it is hard to believe that such a thoughtful, high-minded document could ever again be created.

Instead of a thoughtful articulation of political positions, our elected representatives are searching for the secret words that will win the two prizes they crave, campaign donations and our votes.  And yes, I put those in the apparent order of importance.

When is a politician most honest?  Is it when he/she is interviewed on a Sunday morning TV show, speaking to the constituents at a town hall, or are their fundraising letters the clearest insight to their innermost thoughts?  I don’t recall the last open forum town hall in our area.  I wonder how many of us would recognize our Congressman, State Representative, or State Senator if they were picking out apples at the grocery store.  So I will rely on the one thing I have in abundance, fundraising letters.  I believe that their solicitation letters accurately reflect their true beliefs.

Below is a list of politicians and a selection of excerpts from their fundraising letters.  The challenge is to match the politician to the quote.  The letters are all from Republicans.  I get as many unsolicited and unwanted solicitations from Republicans as senior citizens get from AARP. This is partially because I live in the gerrymandered 14th District and partly because they have the mistaken belief that insurance agents are all Republican gun enthusiasts.


  • Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14) – a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus
  • Senator Rob Portman (OH) – his letters only stopped days before he announced his decision to not seek reelection
  • Jane Timken – formerly Chair of the Ohio Republican Party now running to replace Rob Portman
  • Steve Stivers – a far right Congressman from Central Ohio who recently resigned to serve as the CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce
  • Ronna McDaniel – National Chairwoman of the Republican National Party

Here are the quotes:

  1. In the closing days of the campaign, I’ll be attacked by multiple liberal groups from every angle. But we won’t give in.  We have a conservative agenda to advance and with you by my side, we will win.
  2. But if the Democrats win the presidency and retake the U.S. Senate, America’s shining future will go up in smoke.
  3. Joe Biden, Kamal Harris, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer make good on their promise to take the country we love to the farthest left extreme of the political spectrum.
  4. Just like President Trump warned us, our rivals are pandering to their radical base and endangering our nation by espousing open borders, full amnesty, extra benefits for illegal immigrants and an all-out effort to defund the police.
  5. The contrast between Republicans and Democrats today couldn’t be clearer. While Republicans are working to bring safety and security to our communities, defeat the coronavirus, rebuild our economy and resort our way of life, Democrats appease and accept violent riots, call for the police to be defunded, embrace socialism, and erase our nation’s history.
  6. Mr. Cunix, as a registered participant in our 2021 Canvass project, you are on the frontlines of our efforts to shape Republican priorities as we work to better target our message and devise a winning Republican strategy in Mayfield Hts. Today, I am counting on your involvement to ensure that Joe Biden and the Democrats do not turn our nation into a socialist welfare state.
  7. Our campaign message is sharp, clear and compelling. We will build on President Trump’s accomplishments and stop the Biden Socialist Democrats dead in their tracks.  Our rivals believe in the beauty of the Washington Swamp and the brilliance of Big Government.  Some of them hate America and all of them hate Donald Trump!
  8. Democrat’s liberal instinct is to grow government, increase spending, raise taxes, bust the budget, drive national debt deeper, socialize medicine, open the border, enact a radical environmental agenda and obliterate our Second Amendment rights.
  9. Which candidate or solicitation specifically asked for a donation of $150 or $200?

Did you spot the secret words?  I find these letters depressing.  And yes, I’m sure that some/most of the elected Democrats are just as complimentary of their fellow lawmakers.  The questions remains – do they really believe this stuff or is it just what they need to say to raise money for their campaigns.  These letters motivated me to post this blog.  No checks were written, at least not to them.


Picture – Tell Me What You Really Think – David L Cunix


  1. Dave Joyce – October 2020
  2. Rob Portman – October 2020
  3. Steve Stivers – February 2021
  4. Jane Timken – February 2021
  5. Dave Joyce – October 2020
  6. Ronna McDaniel – March 2021
  7. Jane Timken – February 2021
  8. Dave Joyce – February 2021
  9. All of them. It seems that $150 and $200 are the perfect requests to Republican donors.