I wrote this article about the common thought by people who are new to politics — “all that’s needed in politics is me” — six years ago today:
My purpose in this series of articles isn’t to be combative or offend but to share what I see as the number one problem — and challenge — facing Republicans and conservatives. What qualifies me to issue such an opinion? Allow me a quick review of where I’ve been during my three decades long sojourn in and around politics.
At the precinct level I’ve volunteered for congressional campaigns in Virginia, served as an appointed “captain” in Cook County, Illinois, and was elected to two terms as a Precinct Committeeman in Kane County. I’ve also served on the board of a township Republican organization in Cook County.
I’ve worked for the Republican National Committee in the main headquarters at 310 First Street, SE, in Washington D.C, and did a stint down the street at the U.S. Capitol as a legislative aide working for a member of congress.
I’ve worked for Illinois state legislators, ran their campaigns, advised candidates for higher office both as a volunteer and as paid staff. I’ve managed township level campaigns and assisted with referendum fights at the school district level. I’ve also served as the executive director of PACs and as the president of a non profit.
There’s more but that’s enough to give you a sense of the places from which I’ve been able to observe — often in a front row seat — the inner workings of politics and government from the top to the bottom.
At the end of yesterday’s column I mentioned that today I’d discuss what is, in my humble opinion, the most frustrating thing about politics. Here it is, simply put: everyone on the outside of politics is an expert about politics.
Okay, that’s hyperbole. Not everyone. There are humble people who enter the arena and seek to learn from those of us who are veterans.
One of the biggest problems in politics today is the lack of institutional knowledge on the part of the newbies (those who finally decided to stop being a citizen in name only and became involved). Okay, what is in the parenthesis may be far too mean. Many people raise kids, build businesses, and contribute greatly to society without ever dabbling in politics. I thank God for those people.
My frustration, though, is with those — like many in the recently formed tea parties — who enter politics for the first time and refuse to take the time to learn what is needed.
Let me ask a question: How many fields of endeavor are you aware of where someone can be successful after entering knowing little — and then refusing to learn more — all the while believing they’re an expert?
“Oh c’mon Biver, it’s only politics. Sheesh. It’s not chemical engineering or high finance.”
Allow me to disabuse you of the notion that it’s simple and that there aren’t people who know — in detail — what exactly the problems and solutions are. Some of us have been John the Baptists in the wilderness crying out about what ails Republican and conservative politics for a long time. The fact that you’re not aware of us is just one more example of what you don’t know.
Consider us similar to those who study cancer. Sometimes you have to know more than a little about what you’re intending to fix before you can fix it. If you don’t know who we are or what we’ve been saying let me suggest that you start doing some research and then exercise some critical thinking.
More on this next time.