We all tend to look at the 2012 election as a “Presidential” election year. We will vote for (or against) one person, right? Well, that would be two if you count the Vice-President.
I hate to share this with you, but the correct answer to that question is – WRONG!
In addition to the top two names on the ticket, there will be 435 House seats to be filled, 34 Senate seats, only one state governor (just wait until 2013 though), 5,465 state legislators, 1,917 state senators, 50 state Secretaries of State, 50 Attorneys General, a number of state Comptrollers, 3,140 county supervisors, between 20,000 and 25,000 city mayors, about 77,500 county legislators, and … well you get the idea. Well past 100,000 people looking for your vote. Now naturally we don’t all vote for every one of those 100,000, but you have to wonder why your hand doesn’t get tired voting for the ones just in your state, county, town, city, village, hamlet, congressional district or school district.
That’s well over 100,000 political busybodies who enjoy nothing more than telling you what to do, how you should live, what you should eat, how much electricity you should use, what kind of car you should drive, and on, and on and on.
This inevitably means that, all over the nation, over 100,000 political campaigns are getting underway. But why do we call them campaigns?
The word is invariably misused by politicians. They use the word to create the image of a military operation, with all its accompanying patriotic fervor. The real goal of a political campaign is simply to get them elected. That’s it. Just get them elected.
The simple fact is that the only thing that they are doing is applying for a job. And it’s a temp job, at that. Remember that, it’s only a temp job.
Temporary. Short term. Easy to replace.
Very few of us have ever run for office. But I am sure that most of us have, at least once, applied for a job. I know that I have. So we are all very familiar with that process.
In the real world there are a lot of things that have to happen between seeing a “Help Wanted” ad and actually getting a paycheck.
First, each of us has to demonstrate that we have some skill that shows that we can actually do the job. Seems pretty reasonable, right?
Second, we have to sit through at least one face-to-face interview. For some jobs you have to go through a team interview. You know the kind where there are a half-dozen managers asking questions and you have to deal with all of them.
If you’ve ever been through an interview of this type you begin to think that those Christians in the Coliseum had it pretty easy.
And as each interview started, we’ve all worried about being blind-sided by unexpected questions. But not once, at least in my experience sitting on the interviewer’s side of the desk, has anyone ever responded to a tough interview question by saying that the question was not only unimportant, but a “distraction” from what THEY want to communicate. Let’s face it, in a real world job interview, such a response would lead immediately to “Well, thanks for coming in, and we’ll be in touch.”
In addition to the face-to-face torture of the interview, job candidates are always required to provide transcripts from colleges that they have attended, copies of papers they have written that bear any relevance to the job they are trying to get, as well as names and contact information from past employers and character references.
Finally (and this is required by current Federal law, not some racist-sexist-homophobic personal preference), the applicant must prove that they are legally able to work in this country at the job being considered. And it’s not just a matter of qualifications. There’s a big national security difference between flipping burgers, and working on a top secret fighter plane for Boeing.
We have to insure that, in the future, all candidates provide the same level of proof. I’m sure my Liberal/Progressive/Democrat friends will call me a “birther”, but I’m simply saying that every office seeker should have to jump through the same hoops that they force ordinary citizens to jump through when we look for work.
So as we gear up to enjoy the spectacle of the blood-sport that we call electoral politics, we need to remember a few things:
- This is not some sort of glorious campaign or holy crusade. Every one of the candidates, challenger or incumbent, is just looking for a job. Period. Treat all of them the same way you know that you have been treated when YOU looked for work.
- Every candidate must respond to any and all questions. No evasions, no equivocation, and absolutely no implication that the question is merely a “distraction”. That should get them a polite “Thanks for coming by, and we’ll be in touch, but don’t call us, we’ll call you” message. This same response should be triggered by any candidate saying “Are you serious? Are you serious?”
- Every candidate should be able to show how their background, education and experience, not their “vision”, gives them the ability to do the job they’re running for. If that means that if we want to see a college transcript, then it had better show up instantly. Any attempt to fudge this will result in another “Thanks for coming by, and we’ll be in touch” message.
- We also have to look for evidence in things that they have said and done in the past. Don’t depend on what they SAY they’ve done…check for yourself. Google can be a huge help here. As a comedian once said, “What happens in Washington, stays on YouTube!”
- Any incumbent should be considered guilty until proven innocent. Claims of Congressional experience should be treated as equivalent to an admission of being a child molester. In the same way, an incumbent’s claims to have years to experience in legislating should be viewed as proof positive of guilt. They just confessed that the mess we’re all in is due, in part, to all of their “experience”.
- Remember that they need us, we don’t need them.
- Keep in mind the words of the late French President Charles DeGaulle, a man with whom I rarely agreed, who said: “The cemeteries are full of indispensable men.” If any politician dropped dead, would anyone outside their family care? Would it change anything? Would it increase threats against our national or economic security? If the answer is “No”, then there aren’t indispensable, are they?
Not only do we have to remember these things, but we have to convince the political class that this time we’re not kidding.
So let the games begin!