I am sure you are familiar with the Chinese Curse “May you live in interesting times”. Well, I would suspect we have been so cursed. Not only do we have a liberal, Democratic administration that is hell-bent on remaking the United States into its version of … well, who knows what and citizens that are in a very strong, but calm, revolt; we now have a Republican Party (or at least some part of it) that seems to be uncomfortable with the fact that its voting members (again, the citizens) are rejecting many longstanding Party operatives. These operatives are Party politicians who meet all technical aspects of that term, including being “electable”. They are professional politicians who have been in some public office for a number of years and are comfortable with the working the system. They are, for the most part, career politicians who have chosen this as their profession, have mastered it and are exceptionally good at being politicians. Their principles are hard to figure, except that they are always on the side of power and think it important that they have control (funny how they never talk about the citizens having control).
My daughter worked an internship in Washington, DC the summer before last. She took away many images and experiences, but the most powerful observation she made was how almost everyone in the DC community considered politics, the system, policy and all that goes with it, essentially everything “DC”, to be everything there is, that it consumes everyone’s life. She was amazed at how little the DC environment actually had an awareness that there is anything beyond DC. Liberals, conservatives, it did not matter. Everything was politics, control, power, policy, connections, networking, the system, rules (written and unwritten), etc. Business is politics, religion is politics, sports is politics, family and friends is politics, recreation is politics, education is politics, life is politics. To her, this was absurd, as if the country, the world, the universe, even life itself would grind to a screeching halt if something happened to DC. It was quite sobering to her and she was very glad to come home, where a few other things matter.
Tonight I have been watching and reading the various reactions to the primaries, especially the Delaware voting. I am amazed (but not surprised) by the reactions not only of the “Party”, but also the NRO team. Step back a minute and consider the following:
* The perceived “amateurs” in this year’s primaries are generally winning;
* There seems to be a groundswell of anger/rejection of “Pros”;
* The citizenry is rediscovering the founding principles of the country;
* The Founders did not intend for the country to be led by “Pros”, but by representatives of the citizens (representing both as in being like and from the citizens, as well as representing them in action);
* Many of the Pros have taken up residence (i.e., bought homes, not a place to stay, but homes) in DC and no longer appear to “represent” the citizens (by either definition);
* The citizens are voting for those who are perceived to be better “representatives” as opposed to those who can be the best politicians;
* The citizens take their voting responsibility very seriously. If we truly believe what we (you) say regarding the greatness of our great American Experiment, we should not dismiss the carefully executed voting results of the citizens of Delaware or any other state;
* Republicans have more control now then they are willing to admit, and are willing to use. Consider that if the Republicans had really wanted to, they could have filibustered the Karen Supreme Court appointment (oh, but wait, the liberal Republicans would not go along. But we should make them the Party’s candidates so we can control things, or something like that).
Whether “unelectable” and “crazy” Christine O’Donnell can win or will be wiped out by her Democrat opponent has yet to be determined and anyone who believes that they know what will happen this year needs to quit their day job and start betting on things that really matter (the World Series, the BCS Championship, the Super Bowl, you get the point) (see Sharon Angle v. Harry Reid). This is certain, there is a significant movement afoot and it goes beyond who gains control of what house of Congress. It is about the citizens attempting to take back control of their country. Those attempting to be their representatives, i.e., who get it, stand a good chance of being hired. Those who don’t can still win if they have all the benefits of the System working for them (read NRSC). However, they are at risk like never before. The ones who say they do and get elected and then don’t, probably need to keep their resume fresh.
If you believe in the rules, the system, the connections, networking, the politics and policy, the Pros, then this is all very unsettling and tallying the number of Republicans versus Democrats is very important. However, things are not always what they seem. I remember a certain Jim Jeffords (or was that Arlen Specter or Gov. Crest) who switched parties and shifted control of the Senate from one party to the other. I do not know this to be a fact, but I am willing to bet that someone thought he was “electable”. It is always amusing how we expect those with no real convictions (other than to themselves) to stand on principle when we need their vote. Maybe it’s not the vote on key issues that is desired, but the ability to win committee chairmanships, get big staffs, determine assignments, set the chamber rules, the perks and all that good stuff that is what this is all about. In that case, head count is all that matters. Principles can go to hell.
My favorite book is “Animal Farm” (I made sure all my children read it). In the last scene, after the Farmers (the bad guys) and the pigs (the ruling class – originally the good guys – I think they were electable) had negotiated a deal to share the spoils of the Farm, they all sat down to a nice dinner and a game of poker. At one point, a farmer and a pig played the same card. An argument ensued over who was cheating whom. The other Animals (the citizens) looked back and forth at both groups and realized they could no longer tell them apart. The other Animals then hung their heads and walked away, realizing that they were the ones who really lost. I pray that we are not living Animal Farm.
This election is truly critical, but it is not the end. Getting control of the country back to the citizens will take some time, but steps need to be taken that start with electing people who view their roles as truly representing the people, not as professional politicians. There is too much that needs to be undone to expect it all to be accomplished at once. This November can be the start, but Republicans winning both houses with unprincipled Pros taking “control” will only prolong the agony and put the American Experiment further at risk. If all we really care about is head counts, then nothing will really change, except who gets the bigger parking space.