One inevitable side effect of any wave of populism is that you’re going to have opportunists looking to latch onto that wave as quickly as they can. With the recent wave of anti-federal sentiment courtesy of the tea party movement, the hollow rings of opportunism have reached a similar crescendo. They range from the somewhat plausible to the laughably transparent (I’m looking at you, Orrin Hatch). To those of us with a track record of opposing the never-ending reach of federal power, it’s galling to find a bunch of wannabes and hypocrites attaching themselves to these ideals while simultaneously stoking the bonfire of crazy that seems to accompany it. It doesn’t just insult our intelligence, it makes us look bad.
I spend a considerable amount of time each election cycle researching candidates to figure out who would best represent me. I can usually find a wealth of information on most candiates, but there are a few who are information black holes. There’s no campaign literature, no website, and no time taken to respond to questions mailed from the major papers. It’s almost like they didn’t really want to run in the first place.
I’m finding that the current lead for US Senate from the Democrats, Sam Granato, has taken frustrating to an entirely brand new level. Despite dozens of YouTube videos and considerable press releases, I couldn’t name even three positions he holds. He hasn’t even bothered to put up a basic website on his domain, having left it parked at GoDaddy for months. The only thing we’re getting is a big pile of empty fluff, meaningless platitudes with no position statements. Worse yet, complaining about the problem only gets a snide remark that you should get behind the horse without knowing what you’re getting into.
C’mon, Sam. Running an “I Like Ike” type of campaign is insulting our intelligence. Take the whole 30 minutes to grab a free copy of WordPress with some cheap hosting and put up some campaign planks. Or nab a free account from Blogger and redirect your domain. Stop acting like you’re entitled to our support because Shurtleff is loony, Bennett is out-of-touch, and nobody else has stepped forward.
As Attorney General, I think Mark Shurtleff has done an exemplary job. In fact, the only blunder of his I can see is failing to take action against Free “Capitalist” Rick Koerber based on evidence collected against him by the Department of Commerce. Unfortunately, this experience as a legal eagle hasn’t translated well into running for other elective office. In fact, his actions make him look like a political novice rather than a seasoned vet.
Honestly, Shurtleff’s actions smell a bit too much like pandering. He’s managed to very quickly attach himself to the TEA Party crowd, popping off quotes from Ronald Reagan at every opportunity (the irony being that Reagan greatly increased the national debt, but I digress). He takes every opportunity to slam Sen. Bob Bennett, his incumbent opposition, at every turn even when his slams don’t make a lick of sense. The fervor is not unlike that of a new convert to a cause, but that’s don’t make it any less obnoxious or annoying.
It seems that this is a problem with all of the people vying for the Republican nomination. They’re all talking up how they’re the “real conservative” in the race (whatever that means) and denouncing Bob Bennett for, well, anything he does that isn’t conservative by their incredibly narrow definition. These same people would likely call me a liberal or socialist over a few points of minutiae despite that we likely agree on at least 90% of the issues. That small and loud group seeking to purge heresy from the party is a primary reason why the Republican Party is in as bad a shape as it is.
Thankfully, I’m not the only one wise to how loony this all sounds. I still think Bob Bennett is due for retirement from public office, but we sure can do a lot better than the current crop.