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Monday, October 11, 2010

"Let all things be done decently and in order."

Both Democrats and Republicans exhibit peculiarities in their candidate selection. Democrats have strong servile tendencies. They like to elect aristocrats, and they refer to their elected representatives as 'rulers'. With the name Kennedy, any charlatan is eligible for Democratic nomination to high office. The Bush dynasty shows the GOP shares this tendency to a lesser degree. The Democrats swoon for their candidates; their candidates "make their knees weak." Before the Tea Party, on the other hand, the GOP often seemed to regard nominations as a reward for services rendered; there almost seemed to be a queue, with candidates 'entitled' to the nomination, simply because they were, by some measure, next in line. How else can you explain nominating candidates like Bob Dole or John McCain, who seemed embarrassed by political principles?

Perhaps the 'reward for services rendered' interpretation was naive. As I became more active in the local GOP this year, I learned to appreciate the great power of name recognition in seeking support from an often uninterested electorate. Perhaps the 'next in line' were simply the best known.

The rise of the Tea Party promised an overthrow of the queue. In primary after primary, the 'entitled' GOP candidates were rejected. Unfortunately, in my county GOP, I have witnessed precisely the entitlement mentality that I had naively speculated was the source of Bob Dolian candidates. An important function of our county organization is to endorse candidates in nonpartisan races. In one nonpartisan race we considered recently, we had two Republicans competing. Our evaluation committee reported that one candidate had previously held the position, but was removed from office after committing a criminal offense. The other candidate was new to politics but boasted the sort of business and professional background which usually appeals to GOP voters. I was the only vote opposing the candidate with the criminal background. His appeal? He had more experience.
It was uncharitable to hold his prior offenses against him. I was unaware that the county GOP was a charity. I was appalled. After the meeting was over, I realized that not only were we rejecting a promising new candidate, but that our endorsement of the criminal could potentially cast doubt on all our endorsements of strong candidates. What happens to our credibility when a careful voter sees that we recommend criminals?

I felt culpable afterwards for failing to successfully convince my fellow Republicans. I have learned that the manner of argument suitable for faculty debate is not very successful in political forums. Oh well, maybe next time.

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