10/07/10 — Politicians' club: It's no wonder newcomers hesitate to throw their hats into political ring

View Archive

Politicians' club: It's no wonder newcomers hesitate to throw their hats into political ring

If there is one thing that members of the Tea Party, and anyone else who is a newcomer trying to break his or her way into public service, have learned this year, it's that it certainly is not easy.

Sure, there are the challenges of learning what is required of a congressman, a senator or a governor. But what is perhaps the biggest surprise is just what you have to endure to capture a place at the public service table.

In the last few months, there have been numerous, ruthless and ridiculous attacks on candidates for office who do not already have a politicial pedigree.

And while mudslinging and attack politics are certainly nothing new, it is shocking just how much of it has been unfounded and deeply personal.

And why is this election particularly ugly, particularly irritating for those who are watching from the sidelines?

Simple. It looks very much like the political elite who control the nation's capital are closing ranks -- with the backing of their party bosses -- to make sure there are as few new faces as possible in Washington.

Here's the bottom line: They like having a crew of insiders who know the ropes, and they want to perpetuate the image that if you do not already have a resume of government service, you cannot possibly be an effective representative.

And while that might be true for the president and governor, it is not necessarily the case for other offices -- and it is important that voters remember that at the polling booth.

Honesty, integrity and common sense -- scarce commodities in Washington these days -- are what we need the most. And if there is a candidate who inspires that confidence, he or she is the one who should earn a vote this November.

The image that government service is simply for those who meet Washington's definition of experience and qualifications is nothing but a smokescreen. A regular person, with the appropriate skill set, can indeed make a fine legislator.

All we have to do is not fall for the mud, the insinuations and the personal attacks.

There are some candidates on some ballots this November who are not the best choices. It will be up to the voters to decide if they should get a chance to serve.

But there are others who will bring a fresh perspective to the offices they wish to occupy and just might be the right choices to move this country forward.

New blood is what Washington is afraid of, but it might be just what we need.

Published in Editorials on October 7, 2010 10:39 AM