Everyone is human. That said – those who run for and win high public office had better start figuring out how to succeed despite their humanness. Every day they don’t succeed just adds to the cost taxpayers are all going to have to pay.
For a couple of decades now I’ve been listening to all those talented (?) men and women who get elected to state legislatures and the U.S. Congress – and I have to tell you that the sum total of their “achievements” during that time is terribly lacking.
For those of you who don’t like my tone here or think I’m being too negative – just let me say that my goal is to highlight the need for better people to step up. The Republican Party can do better. You know we can.
In fact, some of you who are reading this fit the description of the type of person we need to run for office. You know who you are. You look at too many of the Republicans in the General Assembly and in the U.S. Congress and are aghast at their performance.
This op ed is directed at you, not those whose timidity and whimpiness winds up enabling those elected officials who fail to get the job done. Truth be told, I’d like to see those enablers make an extra contribution to the state and federal government treasuries.
After all, the debt we all face is not due to Democratic Party failures, but Democratic Party successes. It’s the left-wing vision that has been on the advance even while Republicans held power. The burden being left to future generations is the fault of elected Republicans from coast to coast.
In recent years I’ve had the opportunity to meet and talk with a lot of interesting people. Many of them either hold public or party office or are very close to those who do. On a regular basis I get to listen to their views about what they see as the political problem. While I have my own experience and opinion, it’s helpful to talk with people who also aren’t afraid to call it like they see it.
This past week two different individuals – political insiders both – shared with me their analysis of why too many of our GOP leadership can’t quite find first gear. How it is that they have the ability to get elected but then don’t have the ability to advance a reform agenda.
I had heard some of it before – but not all. This time I thought I’d put some of what I heard in writing while keeping the sources anonymous. Here’s a synopsis.
So – why don’t we see more leadership – positive action – from those Republicans we elect?
There are several reasons. Some of the men and women are just plain afraid of sticking their head up. For example, who wants to say anything about controlling the bloated costs of our public school system when the angry teacher unions will wind up targeting you?
Others just don’t want to buck the crowd. Why put up with the stress and work of leading when life is so much easier to blend in with the rest of the caucus? If one member makes a proposal, an enormous amount of work and responsibility comes with doing so.
What is the point of being an elected official when you’re not advancing reforms or building a list of accomplishments?
Many of the people in legislative bodies would have a hard time feeding their families if they were forced to make a living outside of the political and governmental arena. For all the talent on the surface, underneath tells a different story. Many of the people serving in public office wouldn’t experience much success outside of politics.
Many state legislators who are lawyers are rainmakers for their law firms. Several don’t even have to practice much law because their role is to raise the firm’s profile and bring in business. If they were out of office they wouldn’t nearly experience the pay levels they do. Worse, some might even have to put up a shingle and go to work on their own.
Also, for many of these people – if they weren’t in public office they would be nobodies. Now, when they go somewhere – they are somebody – they get attention and respect. That kind of recognition can be like a drug, and it can be addicting.
What about GOP principles and all that stuff these people promise during their campaigns?
The only thing that isn’t negotiable is their reelection. Everything else has a price. So when it comes to the big ticket policy items – the potential threat any reform agenda poses to their reelection pretty much rules out any serious action to bring about the fulfillment of those campaign promises.
Why don’t they reach out and rally the political troops and help build the party and create the proverbial bench?
Real political activity is a great deal of work. It’s enough work to just get elected. Trying to do something with the office once elected would be like willingly doubling your work load. Who in heavens wants to do that? And why risk the possibility of inviting the participation of people who might have more talent than you? You might wind up with a formidable primary opponent due to your own recruitment activities. It’s best to lay low. It’s better to learn the clichés and have a flip chart full of excuses for why the continuing of the failed status quo is all someone else’s fault.
Psychoanalyzing our political leaders often involves a lot of guess work. But platform supporting Republicans have every right to hold their elected officials accountable, and often, a little psychoanalyzing is in order.
The good news is that an awakening is taking place and the beginning of a renaissance is well underway.
I’ll leave you with a couple of links. The actions of the Obama Administration and the Pelosi Congress are providing an incredible opportunity to tap into the newly awakened anger. It’s a good time to recruit better talent.
If you think you have what it takes to lead – please step forward. Here’s a simple test for you. Read the following two articles and afterwards answer a simple question: Is there anything easier than making an argument based on simple math?
The government’s profligacy could spell doom for the U.S.
By Desmond Lachman
As Congress agonizes over health care, an even more daunting and dangerous challenge is bearing down.
By Tom Raum
Americans cannot afford the government we have. It must be reformed – made it into what the founders intended. Reform means shrink. Reform means cut. The goal is a thing called limited government. We know from history that it works.
©2009 John Francis Biver