Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

Politics is more than just ‘vote for me because I’m not the incumbent’

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“A Fresh Start”

“A New Beginning Starts Now”

There are two candidates running for public office that has smothered the neighborhood with signs. The person running for Congress has “A Fresh Start” on the signs. The other slogan is someone running for the state senate.

Who are they? Have no idea. What party do they belong to? Not on the signs. What else are they offering? Does it matter?

These candidates are running on one major platform: “we aren’t the people in office.”

“We’re different” is an exciting slogan to be sure, but it only tells us to vote against someone else, but says nothing about why we should vote for that person.

Not that long ago, politicians made promises and you had to decide whether that politician would keep that promise or not. In 2010, we don’t need no stinking promises or platform or ideas. All we need is “hey, we aren’t them.”

Whether these new people will be better than the old people doesn’t seem to be relevant. Maybe the new people will be better. But we would feel better about them if we knew more about them.

Yes, the signs are there to let us know they exist, and we can use the Google to find out more. Hopefully.

But they haven’t given us much credit. The signs are everywhere for both candidates in a rather obnoxious fashion. And even if I have the time to do the research, most people don’t.

Again, they haven’t reached out with the best foot forward, so being anxious to find out more isn’t on the radar.

They could have kick-butt proposals, extensive and well-considered, that we might be missing.

But let’s consider a candidate running for governor within the same state as these people: Bill Brady.

Brady is a state senator who is the Republican nominee for governor of Illinois. Brady is running against Pat Quinn, who took over when some guy named Blagojevich was impeached.

Brady is trying to run as an outsider, even though he has been in government. And Brady says he has a plan to deal with the extensive budget deficit, but he won’t tell us what that plan is.

Brady has much more name recognition than the other two candidates mentioned earlier. And he is in a higher profiled race. But Brady feels, because he is not the incumbent, that he doesn’t have to tell us his plan.

Quinn has a plan, and you are entitled to like or dislike his plan. I basically like the general idea of his plan, but would modify it a bit. In the Democratic primary, the two major candidates had a discussion of their plans, and I would have picked the plan of the one who didn’t win.

At least Quinn has a plan that we can like or dislike. As you might imagine, Brady doesn’t like Quinn’s plan, but against the suggestion of just about any grandmother, Brady won’t come up with a plan of his own.

Oh, Brady says he has a plan. But since he won’t tell us, there is no way to know.

The two unknown candidates might be playing a smart political strategy: reveal as little as possible and hope that on Election Day, people will go blindly into the booth and say, “I don’t know that name, that person will do a better job at representing me.”

But that smart political strategy relies on a cynical public and a clueless voting pool. Not every incumbent is bad. Not every challenger is awesome. It’s lazy politics, and some will use it because, sadly, sometimes it works.

Running for political office isn’t easy. Making it easier by not running on anything doesn’t make for better politics or better politicians.


Written by democracysoup

October 22, 2010 at 7:07 am

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