"All politics is local" -- former Speaker of the House Tip O'Neal.
Our one and only favorite unofficial candidate for Congress son-in-law will be proud of us. Saturday night, we went to something billed as a "Stars and Stripes Ice Cream Social."
The announced purpose of which was to promote interest in the political process by conservative church folk such as we. We don't go to meetings all that much, not being social gadflies as is our son-in-law; nor nearly as interested in the political process. The result being I'm not sure what I expected, but this probably wasn't what I expected. The main reason I went was the free ice cream.
We were given a Voting Record pamphlet by a "non-partisan and non-political" group, not to be confused with a "no political agenda" group. The way their seven most important issues were phrased indicated a conservative values orientation. Nothing wrong with that -- I was there because I'm a conservative type guy. Our 44th District State Representative, Nancy Michael, voted "right" on two of the seven votes listed.
Two candidates for State Rep. (43rd & 44th) and Ms Michael's campaign manager, Chris Shuck, were in attendance. As we live in the 44th District, I only paid attention to those two. Personally I've always had a kind of awe of anyone who serves in such offices: There's not a lot of money, little glory, and you have to stay around for a very long time to gain any power.
Candidate Jim Baird is an apparently honest, what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of fellow. Well educated, Vietnam veteran, successful business man.
Mr. Shuck apparently has known and worked closely with Representative Michael long enough to be quite an admirer of her work.
There was the mandatory Q & A session. The questions were mostly what you'd expect from a conservative, church-going audience: Schools, taxes, right to life type things. The answers proffered indicated no great ideological chasm.
The question, which seemed most germane to myself, was how the current anti-incumbent atmosphere in the nation will affect local and state elections? This is an issue to which I have given a bit of conservative political process thought.
The quandary is that we really don't want politicians, so there is always the urge to throw the bums out. On the other hand, there are certain things we want our representatives to accomplish, which require they learn to be political animals. The result being we elect some well-meaning, qualified person to a given office; then by the time they have actually figured out how to play the game, we're looking around to replace them because they're "politicians."
What I propose is a new political movement to rival the Tea Party -- which I've named The Ice Cream Party.
Our platform would be "Two-Twenty-Plus."
First, nobody could serve in any one political office more than two terms. It usually takes the first term to learn the rules of engagement. It has always seemed that any office holder after two terms, having gotten their political footing, develops something of a "fiefdom" mentality. I greatly appreciated the recent comment by Senator Evan Bayh, "...I love serving the people of Indiana. I just concluded that 12 years in Congress was enough."
Second, nobody can run for office -- win or lose -- for more than 20 years. There has got to be a point in everyone's life when they have done their bit for God, Country, and the American way. At some point there must be something just as worthy that intelligent, well-qualified folks can do with one's life beneficial to their fellow man.
And, the "Plus?" No political meeting could be held without free ice cream.
David L. Lewis is an observer of and sometimes commentator on life who may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.