Monday, August 11, 2014

Legislators or lemmings

By Bill Kraus

The candidate for the Assembly is running in a district which traditionally votes 70 percent Democratic, and he is running against an incumbent who once was mayor of a city within the district which comprises a substantial portion of the Assembly district.

This is not a promising opportunity.

He is running as a Libertarian.

This diminishes his already-almost-hopeless prospects of winning.

As we talked it became clear that he is about as libertarian as most Republicans are and he really should be running as a Republican.

Although the Republican who ran for the seat in 2012 got less than 30 percent of the vote, a Libertarian surely would have gotten even less.

So why isn’t he running as a Republican?

Because he wants to be more than a lemming, and he thinks this plus other “conditions” that are imposed on the members of this party are more liabilities than assets.

I suggested that he might be called a fallen or falling-away Republican and that there are many others who I have talked to over the years who have traditionally supported Republican candidates feel much the way he does.

The most prominent standard bearer of this group topped off 16 years as a campaign manager/treasurer for a Republican member of Congress by serving as a presidential appointee.

“I am a former Republican,” he once told me.

No one is running as a former or a fallen-away Republican. “Independent” is as good a label as can be found, and it doesn’t have much heft in an increasingly partisan world.

"Homeless" would be more descriptive of the category the Assembly candidate occupies. Helpless too.

If he ran as a Republican he could safely endorse frugality and competence in the doing the things we do that have historically been assigned to the public sector.

But he would also have to be very careful not to step on the toes of those with favored causes and/or money.

In the unlikely event the aforementioned candidate should win his election, he would find the big tent that Tommy Thompson and most of his GOP predecessors occupied has been taken down.

In its place are a long series of litmus tests which must be passed before being accepted as a “team player” and avoid being labeled a pariah, a RINO, or worse, within the caucus and the party itself.

His decision to run as an independent or a Libertarian tacitly expresses the hope that voters might apply their own litmus test to determine if candidates are really legislators or simply lemmings

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