Here we go round the political bush.
This is the week candidates sign on the line to run for various elected offices that do the day-to-day work of governing.
While most will easily be able to recite who the presidential candidates are, usually with a mopey droll, far fewer will be have any luck pointing out a candidate closer to home. For that matter most will not be able to tell you who the sitting council members are, unless it happens to be some guy’s mother, then he may claim dopiness.
“Huh, mom never told me that. Hope she is taking her meds.”
Finding someone to run for these offices is at times challenging. The pay isn’t going to be the drawing card, and if it is, voters had best beware.
So that leaves us with the myriad of reasons candidates decide to do something that limits their ability to:
• Do anything;
• Do anything fun;
• Do anything illegal (although this one hasn’t always been noticed by certain candidates, nor has such information always hampered voters from checking the “he’s a knucklehead but who cares” box).
Selecting the best candidate for an office can at times be tricky, both at the local and national level.
Since I would never join an affair like running for office, I try to be as understanding and fair as my sunny disposition allows. If I did run I wouldn’t vote for me because I have no qualifications to do anything but whine. I would encourage voters to vote for the other guy or write in Mrs. Marlock Mammon.
If someone becomes a successful candidate she gets to:
• Read piles of boring documents only I find interesting (and no one likes me);
• Take action on items that make all sorts of people want to say terrible things about her, including her spouse;
• Read a bunch more boring stuff.
Usually an epiphany slams into an elected official’s noggin that the guy with beer cans duct taped to his head has more power to influence policy. If and when that happens, the official may finally become an effective political leader with at least a certain amount of knowledge about how to govern.
Here are a few thoughts I have about choosing candidates. My thoughts are, of course, as useless and anyone else’s.
• If you get a sense the candidate thinks the Constitution was written by Julia Child, ask him to cook a canapé and avoid checking his box.
• If the candidate explains lying to a newspaper reporter as simply being asked the wrong question, avoid checking her box. Despite a common perception in certain political sci-fi universes, lying is lying is lying.
• Expect new candidates to have idealistic notions and hope. They haven’t been elected yet. They should have hope. We need that.
• A candidate should have clear ideas and some rough concept how government works. A new candidate is not going to know the inside game, and that is understandable. But if someone is selling you a red Corvette owned by a guy with a two pocket shirt for the price of a dusty ’67 pickup, do not check his box.
There is one clear axiom in governing: money matters. It has to come from somewhere and “we will figure it out during my term” is a gravel road with deep ditches.
Voters who check the box of want and desire often get that.
When you hear the talk, listen for the ka-ching and follow the money.