(Chuck Muth) – Nevada News & Views reader Dick Robie wrote on Saturday: “I am saddened by the GOP/conservatives/independents and those in responsible positions getting behind one candidate this early in the game. Those in a position to influence the outcome, regardless of their personal point of view, should refrain from public support of any candidate until the primary is over.”
I couldn’t disagree more.
First of all, it’s not early in this year’s game whatsoever. Filing for office officially opens in just three weeks. And the primary is now only four months away. If anything, it’s extremely LATE in the campaign process for anyone serious about getting into a race.
Secondly, politics is not, and was never intended to be, a spectator sport.
One of the legitimate criticisms of the tea party folks by longtime conservative activists is the fact that many of us have been fighting these battles against higher taxes and bigger government for years – decades even – while the new kids on the block today were busy NOT being involved in the process and the fights.
Yes, welcome to the fight! It’s about time you got in the game. What took you so long? Do you really think the battle for smaller government didn’t start until after Barack Obama got elected?
Do us a favor and stop complaining about how those of us who have been ACTIVE for a long time “screwed up” while you sat home watching “Friends” and eating bon-bons from the comfort of your couch. While you were busy doing whatever it was you were doing before 2008, we were knocking doors, stuffing envelopes and running for office.
In other words, a lot of us were paying dues when many of you new guys weren’t even paying attention.
OK, with that said, folks such as Mr. Robie need understand that there are still disengaged voters out there who aren’t coming to meetings or showing up at rallies. But they still want what you and I and my friend Grover Norquist at Americans for Tax Reform want: To be left alone.
However, since they aren’t actively engaged in politics the way many of us are, they look to those who ARE involved in politics for some sense of guidance – our friends, our neighbors, our co-workers and our family members who are too busy just trying to keep their heads above water.
And when election time rolls around, they want to vote for the “right” person…but don’t trust the mailers, the TV and radio commercials, or even the candidates themselves.
They know you’re active in politics. They know you’re involved in politics. They know you know the game and the players. “Who should I vote for in this judge race?” “Who should I vote for in this county clerk race?” “Who should I vote for in this state legislative race?”
Party activists who refrain from providing this sort of guidance, especially in primary races, are committing an abdication of responsibility and providing an absence of leadership.
If you need to buy insurance and aren’t in the insurance business…who do you call? Someone in the insurance business. If you need to buy a house and aren’t in the real estate business….who do you call? Someone in the real estate business. You naturally look for someone who has the knowledge you don’t possess and who, ideally, you know and trust.
I gotta be honest with you….I do it a lot myself.
If I’m not sure whether or not a bill in Congress is good or bad, I often ask, “Where’s Ron Paul on this measure?” Because (a) I don’t have the time or inside knowledge to research every bill that comes down the pike, and (b) I know that Ron Paul does this for a living and that 9.7 times out of 10 I’m going to agree with Ron Paul’s position.
Sure, it’s a shortcut. But it’s logical and it’s reasonable and it’s responsible.
So no, Mr. Robie, I heartily disagree with you.
Party leaders, party organizations, political clubs, issue organizations, meet-up groups, etc., are SUPPOSED to get behind candidates early so as to provide leadership to other like-minded citizens who simply don’t have the time (or, frankly, in some cases inclination) to research each and every candidate for each and every race.
And to be honest, even if they did…and this isn’t exactly a news flash….many candidates, well, lie. They are bullsh*t artists. They tell unsuspecting voters what they think they want to hear. They misrepresent not only their own records of accomplishment (or lack thereof), but they misrepresent the records, positions and experiences of their opponents as well.
It isn’t just a responsibility for those of us in the political and public policy arena day in and day out to expose those trying to attain office via false advertising. It’s our obligation.
If establishment party and political leaders line up early behind a certain candidate, that tells the less informed voters something.
If tea party leaders line up early behind a certain candidate, that tells us something.
If anti-tax leaders line up early behind a certain candidate, that tells us something.
If gun rights leaders line up early behind a certain candidate, that tells us something.
If pro-life leaders line up early behind a certain candidate, that tells us something.
The bottom line is this: Leaders who sit on the sidelines and wait until after the primaries are OVER to weigh in aren’t….well, leaders.
Let the endorsements begin!