Election time is here.
Republican prospects for making gains in Congress appear to be in the offing.
But I’ll still be unhappy with Congress.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m energized about voting.
But I also have a melancholy feeling that won’t dissipate even with Republican control of Congress and the statehouse.
Why? We Republicans recycle way too much of our garbage. If I were speaking of environmental issues, you wouldn’t see a problem with that. No, I’m talking about derelict Republican politicians who resurface in elective office when they didn’t do a good job before the Democratic tide of 2006 rolled in. Perhaps no example illustrates this better than Jon Husted, who was Speaker of the House back in 2006, and now he’s the Republican candidate for Ohio Secretary of State. Why is this guy still around? Did we actually like the job he did and want to bask in those glory days again? No. It’s not as if I want O’Shaughnessy to win. I don’t. I endorsed the Libertarian, Charles Earl, in that race, but I have no expectation that he’ll come anywhere near winning this election. I expect Earl’s percentage share of the vote will be in the very low single digits. My conscience won’t let me offer my support to either Husted or O’Shaughnessy.
Many might say we want some new blood to take the reins of government. But do we see any new faces? Senator Voinovich is stepping down, so we’ll get some turnover for that seat, and I expect Rob Portman will win it handily, but is either Portman or Lee Fisher a new face?
Even if a tidal wave sweeps Republicans into power this time around, aren’t these the same guys that have been in the pipeline for about 4 years now? Were any of them that stellar back in 2006 to say,”Hey, how about recapturing the seat you just lost?” I think at least some of us, at least me, had been hoping the old guard would concede defeat and some newer faces would emerge to try to give the Republican Party an image makeover.
The best headlines this year were the ones where Tea Party favorites defeated the establishment in GOP primaries. I’m not 100% on board with the Tea Party (maybe I’m 80% on board with them), but I’m very happy that they’ve become a sizable enough group to do some GOP housecleaning. Heaven knows we’ve badly needed it. I wish there were some astonishing Tea Party victories here in Ohio, rather than down in Kentucky, over in Delaware, way out there in Nevada, and all the way up in Alaska. But I’ll take what I can get.
The Tea Party is really a middle-of-the-road constituency. Many among them are not hardcore Christian conservatives. Many are independent voters and ardent supporters of minor political parties. The mainstream media has it all wrong. These are not the people on the extreme conservative fringe of the political spectrum. They are the people that live next door or down the street, or maybe even you, yourselves.
And with that false MSM portrayal of the Tea Party, the establishment has woven a narrative that the Tea Party favorites are too radical, too extreme, to represent the voters.
The word “radical” is used to describe change. It is a change that is an abrupt departure from what was considered the norm. I think what the establishment finds so radical about the aspirations of the Tea Party is that the establishment would be replaced by the Tea Party favorites. There’s nothing really extreme in the ideology. It’s all about a reluctance to relinquish power. The crop of establishment Republicans we have before us have pretty much used ideology as just mere words to rally the masses. They don’t really vote that way as legislators. As legislators, they enjoy the perks of cutting deals, of being power brokers. They are drawn to those halls of power for exactly those reasons. They don’t really do our bidding. That’s how we end up with a Congress we have a low opinion of.
I’d be in favor of some radical change.
With no favorable track record for the establishment to run on, since they are such hypocrites with all their conservative talk, and a focus on their track record would truly expose their hypocrisy, they have made these elections about the question marks that surround the Tea Party favorites instead of about themselves. Radical. Extreme. Untested. Inexperienced. Unqualified. You are being told that Tea Party candidates are radical and extreme.
In reality, the most radical and extreme thing the Tea Party hopes to do in electing candidates this year is to replace the establishment. That’s what’s so unappealing to the establishment, is that the Tea Party’s aim is to put the incumbents out of a job, replaced by one of their own. Otherwise, the establishment Republicans are borrowing Tea Party credos for their own propaganda about what they, themselves, stand for. If the Tea Party is so extreme, so radical, why are the establishment Republicans echoing exactly what the Tea Party faithful are saying? Is it just pandering for votes? Of course it is. They want to co-opt the Tea Party message for themselves to win enough votes to put them over the top, but those messages really don’t convey what these Republican establishment types are all about nor do they really describe how they govern.
Pure and simple, the charges of “radical” and “extreme” are a last-ditch desperate effort of the entrenched establishment to hold on to power.
What’s worse is that the establishment really thinks that they are entitled to that power.
They’ll tell you that a Christine O’Donnell in Delaware or a Joe Miller in Alaska have no rightful claim to seats in the U.S. Senate. In O’Donnell’s case, the establishment conceded a November GOP defeat just as soon as the primary election outcome in Delaware was announced. They took their ball and went home. They gave up. They quit.
The most perfect illustrations of the establishment’s sense of entitlement are Charlie Crist in Florida and Lisa Murkowski in Alaska.
Former Florida Governor Crist, desperate to remain part of the national GOP establishment that he’d networked with, pulled out of a GOP primary race with Marco Rubio so that he didn’t have to make an early exit. He’s running as an independent, instead, grasping at anything he can cling to so that he can stick around.
Lisa Murkowski had no intention of an early exit, either. After a primary election defeat at the hands of Joe Miller, she got back in the race as a write-in candidate. She’s that addicted to the power she wielded. She can’t bring herself to walk away. She is trying to claw her way back into the Senate any which way she can.
Joe Miller and Christine O’Donnell have found themselves ridiculed for episodes from their past. Should this disqualify them from serious consideration? Lisa Murkowski may think so, but I’ve been around the block enough to know that all those establishment politicians have episodes from their past that they hope will go unnoticed. Christine O’Donnell, if she were placed on the scale with some sitting GOP Senator, and the blemishes from each one’s past weighed, would her demerits be any weightier than those already in the halls of power?
Lisa Murkowski, go ahead and point a finger at Joe Miller. There are four fingers pointing back at you.
I am absolutely disgusted when a sitting politician intones that a challenger is unqualified to be a legislator. I’m not swayed by their citations of “experience” as a reason to support them over anyone else.
The qualifications for being a Senator are the same as for being a registered voter except for a residency requirement (reside in the state you represent) and an age requirement (over 30 years old). How could anybody that meets those requirements possibly be unqualified? And what advantage is it to be an experienced legislator than an inexperienced one? The more experienced you get as a legislator, the farther removed you are from the constituents you represent, and the closer the orbit around lobbyists becomes as you are exposed to their tempting propositions for a longer duration of time.
It’s okay for legislators to be amateurs. In fact, it’s the ideal for them to be amateurs. When amateurs write our laws, they are likely to be more fair to the ordinary people of the United States, because they feel and experience what we feel and experience. Though it was pooh-poohed by the establishment and the MSM, I thought it was a major selling point when Christine O’Donnell said in an ad, “I’m you.”
Our Constitution has checks and balances built into it to ensure that our nation retains a government of the people, by the people, for the people. There are the separation of powers between the branches of government (executive, judicial, legislative) to check and balance each other. The Congress, itself, is structured with checks and balances. It doesn’t consist of one person issuing decrees. In the Senate, there are 100 persons and in the House there are 435, so, within each chamber, they check and balance each other, plus one chamber checks and balances the other chamber. So, if a Tea Party favorite really does turn out to be a train wreck, the damage done is limited.
There are also checks and balances between amateurs and seasoned professional public servants.
The executive branch enforces the laws. They administer. A politician who aspires to the executive branch ought to demonstrate some relevant experience. The resume of an executive branch candidate is highly relevant. You need someone with a lot of honed skills to be effective in the executive branch, and experience can demonstrate effective skills.
Judges are also professionals. Their chief qualifications are revealed by their resume. They interpret the law, review it to insure a law’s fidelity to the Constitution, and deliberate over very complex matters painstakingly set forth in courtroom hearings. They administer justice and balance the rights of the accuser with the rights of those accused when charges are lodged and suspects brought to trial.
But government decisions made only by professionals would lead us down the path of elitism which gives way to aristocracy which gives way to tyranny.
Voting is not the only check and balance amateurs have upon the professionals. Though a judge presides over a court room, a jury of amateurs decides the outcome. Though the executive branch carries out the law, it was intended for amateurs to make them. Turnover was to be encouraged so that we would have some amateurs arriving with each successive election cycle, while others who’d been in Congress a long time would eventually return to private life. That’s why elections for the U.S. House of Representatives occur every two years, to encourage such turnover to keep the Congress in touch with the people. There ought to be no career legislators. A career in elected political office is only fitting for the executive branch (and the judicial branch, although in the federal government, being a judge is not an elected office).
Yes, I want to show Democrats the door. I will be voting Republican for the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. But I’m not elated that, in many cases, the Republicans poised to capture seats are the same ones we were disenchanted with back in 2006.
November 3, 2010 at 7:32 am
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