A smart and successful young person recently challenged some of my writing in an email. Part 1 is here. To continue, her email went on to say the following about her aversion to party politics:
“I can’t speak for others but I have two major reasons for not wanting to get involved in established political organizations. One is that they are either too large or too incestuous to get anything done. And second, those individuals that I’ve seen enter with great messages and great intentions wind up getting spit out a polished but limp version of what they entered as.
The necessarily alliance with various interests for political gain inevitably ends up with the ultimate compromise of values and results in hair that has been so over-processed it doesn’t move and no there is no longer any real passion behind their original message.
I guess your response might be to get behind those people who don’t follow that path and support those that are true believers, but I just don’t see them entering into the scene – especially when it involves a decade long (or more) process. Plus, if they have any political aspirations at all which would incline them to put up with that crap, that probably means they are tainted and not worth having.”
The reason for these few columns about this email is because I know the sentiments of this person are shared by countless rank and file Republican voters across the country. She made several good points – yet the political work still has to get done and by someone.
Right now there is a vacuum of good people on the field. The process will always be messy – it was messy during the founding era and it has been throughout history. Political science and political philosophy are built upon unchanging human nature, and so we can expect a less than perfect result no matter what.
My argument is simple: it doesn’t have to be this bad when it comes to government policy – and our proof is – that there was a time when it wasn’t. Traditional values were common sense. The government was limited. Free enterprise was the route to progress and elevating standards of living.
And to her point about those with ambition almost being disqualified because of their ability to tolerate what amounts to a political sewer – I can only agree that too often that is the case. But I have met many honest and well meaning people whose ambition was – and remains – admirable. Those individuals would have more successes to boast about if they had more people backing them up doing the important mailroom and weed work (as mentioned in yesterday’s column).
Her email continued:
“There needs to be a more accessible route for real people to public office. If term limits are not on the table (and they’re really not in the timeline we’re talking about) – I think the next best option is an express route for ‘Joe the plumber’ to run for office without putting fifteen years, several million dollars and his family at stake to be able to do what the founding fathers pictured as our country’s future.”
That’s a fine idea, but any candidate will still need an organization filled with like-minded, eager, and ready to work in the weeds Republicans who will fund his campaign so the candidate doesn’t have to put in years and spend millions and worry about any past mistakes in his personal life that the press will find to try and disqualify him.
Who is going to advise the candidate on the many political and policy matters? Who will support him so he can be a bulldog once elected so he’ll voice his opinion strongly on everything from values to virtue to what it takes to make America victorious over Muslim extremists? Without that force backing him up – guess what – he gets watered down to 2% milk.
Sometimes, though, as the founders demonstrated – a person does have to lay it all on the line. The more people who step up and do the work of a pioneer, the easier it will be for others to follow on the path that has been cleared.
Right now where I live in the 14th congressional district in Illinois there is mostly just a shell of a Republican Party at the local level. The good news is that a lot of good people are stepping up to help build a real GOP here. The bad news is that because the Party is in such bad shape, the son of former U.S. Rep. (and U.S. House Speaker) Dennis Hastert has announced he is running for the seat his father held just a couple of years ago. That seat is now held by a Democrat in large part because of the enormous failure of his father.
If you’d like to learn more about our view of the elder Hastert, enter “Hastert” in our search box above.
If the Republican Party was vibrant and successful within the confines of the 14th district, first of all, his father would have been held accountable for his mistakes as they were happening and things would never have been allowed to deteriorate so much. Instead, a dilapidated regional, state, and national GOP has resulted in the situation where no one has of yet put their name forward who could help rebuild the Party while truly making a break with its failed recent past.
My point is – a strong Republican Party run by properly motivated professionals is the best, more accessible route for “real people” (like Joe the Plumber) to hold important public offices.
Up next: The conversation concluded.
©2009 John Francis Biver