Monday, February 19, 2018

The Underdog - A Badge of Honor

Yep, that’s me, The Underdog. My thoughts about political campaigns and politics in general might be seen as radical, sure, but maybe they’ll represent the beginning of the earthquake that will shake up the political establishment and start to put us back on the path the Founding Fathers intended. That’s worth the difficult up-hill struggle I’ll no doubt face in the months ahead as I campaign for Georgia’s Seventh District seat in the United States House of Representatives. I find comfort, though, and strength to continue in my Daddy’s words: “Everything worthwhile is worth doing right. There can’t be any short-cuts.”

The campaigns across the Country for this year’s primary elections are starting to get into the frenzy mode. Here in Georgia’s Seventh District, our Republican Representative appears to be running for re-election, and already there’s another Republican who has tossed his hat in the ring. There are six Democrats that I know of who have formally declared their candidacies.

It will be easy for our Congressman – it usually is for incumbents. And most assuredly, his campaign will raise and spend tens of millions of dollars to add to his nearly $300,000 "war chest" to keep that red seat in The House. Most of it will probably come from political action committees and deep pocket donors (some, or many, presumably, from outside of our District), and of course, the Republican National Committee if he does indeed win the nomination.

On the other side, you can bet the Democrats will shell out A LOT of tens of millions of dollars to flip our red seat blue. After such a close call in our neighboring Georgia’s Sixth District Special Election last June - that ended up costing the Democrats over $30-million to lose - rest assured they are hungry now for Georgia’s Seventh. That $30-million (or more) circus that happened in the Sixth District will no doubt happen here after the primary in May.

A lot of money buys a lot of short-cuts.

We’ll see the same, worn-out script played out by the same actors in the months before the Primary Election in May, then again leading up to the November 6, 2018 General Election. Political “experts” will do their paid appearances on the mainstream news shows, the sound bites from the candidates now and then, the barrage of negative television ads, and so on and so forth…

The news won’t be so much about positive ideas from the candidates that you’ll need so that you can arrive at an informed decision next November, but instead much of it will focus on how much money they’re raising and spending. We’ll hear about those $1,000-a-plate fundraiser dinners (to which none of us Ordinary Americans will ever be invited) where the elite gather to be seen “supporting” their candidate while leaving much of those tepid and unappealing chicken breasts uneaten.

There will be the strategically staged and carefully orchestrated rallies… (that make for good video on the t.v. news; people opposed to a candidate’s platform will be banned from such events because it doesn’t look good to the party masters and deep pocket donors when their candidates get heckled ). Experienced candidates will stand behind their sign-clad podiums on stages, looking oh-so-proper as they deliver their canned stump speeches, talking at a crowd of “supporters” making promises they know they can't keep because it takes a majority of the 435 members to pass legislation, assuming their promised bills even get to a committee and emerge for a vote on the House floor. (And if elected, when the promises they made are broken they know they can just blame every other Representative that didn't support their proffered bills..)

The saddest part of all this will be the prevailing theme of this upcoming campaign season: “Who will control the House of Representatives after next year’s election?” None of this should come as a surprise to any of us because it’s the same theme time after time.

So where will I be and what will I be doing while the other candidates perform their political razz-ma-tazz? I’ll be The Underdog, out of the limelight, and out and about in all the precincts of our District meeting you, listening to you, talking with you and not at you. I’ll be doing what I’ve been doing since last May (long before the major-party performers came out of the woodwork) - getting to know you while you get to know me, learning what’s important to you, and not smooth-talking you for the cameras. And I won’t be trying desperately to look superior from behind a podium with my name plastered on the front of it while wearing the uniform of a politician.

More importantly, I won’t be insulting your intelligence by trying to manipulate your emotions around my points of view, or the same party-line promises to do this or that; the same typical campaign rhetoric that will be passionately pleaded all over America by all the incumbents and opponents seeking the same prize – that precious colored seat for “control” of The United States House of Representatives.

And I most certainly will not be hosting $1,000-a-plate dinners or other black tie and gown “elites only” fundraisers. I’ll refuse the mega-millions of dollars in contributions from the “connected” and “influential” groups because when candidates take enormous amounts of money from such organizations, you can be sure that if elected there will be a dreaded quid-pro-quo expected sooner or later.

“They” say it takes several millions of dollars to wage a political campaign. That just doesn’t make any sense to me. (Who decided that the most money wins? Jon Ossoff’s campaign raised more than Karen Handel’s and we all know how that turned out!) I won’t need to raise a lot of money because I won’t need to spend a lot of money – for silly stuff like fancy fundraising parties or very expensive television mudslinging advertising, or salaries for highly overpaid campaign managers and unnecessary staff. (No big money means no short-cuts, in my humble opinion, and I think it even assures more transparent and honest discourse.)

When I have rallies they probably won’t be covered by the news because they won’t be arranged as public relations shows for the media. They’ll be open to anyone who wants to attend and not set up to appeal to a “base.” Besides, I’d rather host actual, in person Town Hall Meetings instead to talk amongst ourselves about what matters to you, not the typical “stump speeches” filled with unrealistic promises to get what I think I need from you to get elected.

Unlike typical candidates who want to be politicians by promising what they can't deliver, I don't want to be a politician and I never make promises I know I can't keep, or promises that I even think I won't be able to keep. Unlike the others with their rehearsed and canned party line promises, I'm making only one promise: if you hire me to represent you in the United States House of Representatives, I will give the power of Georgia's Seventh District vote there back to you, all of you, where it belongs; where it has always belonged.

I reckon my opponents will probably look for creative ways to “put this dog in his proper place” and that’s okay, really, because I really don’t see a political campaign as a “dog fight.” Political campaigns have become a sick and deceitful game, in my view, and I just won’t play it. Referencing one of my many Bible inspirations: “When I became a man, I put away childish things.”

To that end, I won’t engage in that mudslinging, negative ad nonsense that has become the go-to weapon of experienced candidates. I’ve never paid attention to ads like that anyway because as far as I’m concerned, a candidate who behaves like a playground bully is either lazy (it’s easy to attack an opponent), or simply doesn’t have a message or merit to prove worthy of your vote.

I will, however, be quick to illuminate the blatant lies and misrepresentations of the other candidates. To quote Tucker Carlson of Fox News: I will always be "the sworn enemy of lying, pomposity, and group-think. In other words, you'll never have reason to associate me with "identity politics." Perhaps in so doing, I'll be forcing my opponents to be honest with you so you DO have the ability to make an informed decision.

Yep, I am The Underdog. And I’m mighty proud to wear that badge of honor because I have to believe we could be magic; nothing could stand in our way…

 We need to get back to the "vintage" time when

we all believed in the magic of America.