Is a Blanket “Vote out ALL incumbents” Attitude the Right Idea?
There is a real problem with the out of touch political class currently in power. As people spend decades in Washington, D.C., or the capital city of their state, they tend to have less of an idea how the people they represent live. This leads to legislators thinking nothing of spending billions of tax dollars here, billions there, etc. It leads to legislators blindly voting for bills like ObamaCare, TARP, the “stimulus,” etc., often without being able to read and understand them completely.
Incumbents who routinely violate their oath to uphold the Constitution and couple that with ignoring their constituents need to be voted out. But not all incumbents vote this way. Each race must be examined individually. The full picture of an incumbent’s votes must be thoroughly examined. All challengers’ activities (and legislative/political activity if they served in previous elected office) must be thoroughly examined as well.
The Founding Fathers believed in rotation in office. However, they staggered US Senate seats to provide for some continuation. While there is a US House election every two years in which an election is to be held for every seat, due to the number of seats it is not feasible that a scenario would happen when every House seat was occupied by a freshman. Experience and transition are important.
We must remember that certain incumbents are good and decent. When we say “Vote out ALL incumbents” do we include Michele Bachmann, Paul Ryan, or Jim DeMint?
We have been asleep at the wheel for decades. The awakening began in late 2008 when TARP was rammed through Congress and signed by President Bush. Things only went further downhill after that point. The opposition to this coalesced into the tea party movement. However, the frustration must be focused and refined. Instead of “throw the bums out,” this passion should develop into making sure we have good candidates. Do we replace incumbents with just anyone or do we challenge the challengers to make sure they know what they are doing and are generally correct on the issues? Do we investigate their past writings and activities to give us an idea about how they might vote or govern?
I am by no means saying if we don’t find a “perfect” candidate we don’t get behind them. I am just suggesting that we must know who we are supporting and avoid any kneejerk reactions. Ultimately, we need a more refined approach.
I remember a time, not too long ago, when people were very frustrated with the administration. A new face appeared. He read vague statements from his teleprompter about “hope” and “change,” followed up by saying “Yes we can!” Crowds were mesmerized by these simple words. People were demoralized and were willing to buy anything. They put all their hopes and dreams into this man. Pictures were created showing the man having a halo. People developed YouTube videos with this man’s face on Superman, Luke Skywalker, and other fictional heroes.
This fresh face had no executive experience and an uninspiring opponent. His past is still shrouded in mystery. He won what was largely a popularity contest for the most powerful political position in the country and one of the most powerful positions in the world. He was not vetted. While he has succeeded in ramming a totally unConstitutional agenda through Congress, and seems to greatly enjoy the privileges of power, he has shown a great incompetence in the more mundane aspects of governing. The economy is in a shambles and unemployment hovers close to 10%. While his alleged “soaring rhetoric” seemed to impress certain people on the campaign trail, his speeches continuously fall flat today. But people said they wanted “change.”
In the end, how are vague statements from the tea party like “Vote out ALL incumbents” any better than vague statements like “Yes we can”? Do we as the tea party not get into specifics because we are demoralized? Is there such a thing as a ‘quick fix’ for over a century worth of government expansion?
Does this seem like I am nitpicking? Unfortunately, a statement like “vote out ALL incumbents” reflects poorly on the tea party movement and gives the left an opportunity to make hay. It also encourages blanket ideas. We need to get away from “one size fits all” thinking especially when we are promoting concepts like states’ rights over centralized power.
Bottom line on any political candidate: “Buyer beware.”