Wow, I am really humbled by the nice things some of y’all said about me running for office back on this post (am I sounding like a candidate yet? they’re supposed to say stuff like that, about being humbled, etc.).
But again, what office? The context was that we were talking about Congress. But as Karen suggested, maybe I’m better suited for state office. State issues are the ones I’m most knowledgeable about and passionate about.
Not that I don’t know as much as (or more than) the other declared candidates for Congress about national and international issues. I’m pretty confident that I do — or at least that I can hold my own, and I can certainly approach those issues in a fresh way that would break the partisan, shouting-back-and-forth pattern that I, for one, am sick of.
But what if I were elected to Congress? I would just feel pretty weird going off to Washington and watching another lame governor take office back here. And you know what? My own mother called me up the other day and said I should run for governor. So that’s one vote I could count on, I guess. (Right, Mom?)
You know what I need at this point? I need Peter Boyle to come see me and make a pitch. You ever see “The Candidate?” Excellent movie. Peter Boyle plays a political consultant type who talks Robert Redford — son of a prominent politician — into running for the U.S. Senate. Redford is a nonprofit activist who is uninterested in the compromises one must make to run for office. Boyle promises him he can stand up for everything he believes in, and points out that this is a great opportunity to give those things he believes in greater exposure. Redford asks something like How does that work? or What’s the catch? and Boyle hands him a matchbook on which he has written two words: “You lose.” On that basis, Redford agrees to run.
But as the campaign proceeds, the itch to win — or at least not lose by an embarrassing margin — starts to get to him….
Anyway, to run for office what I need is a Peter Boyle moment — somebody to say, we’ll take care of the mechanics of the campaign, you just be the candidate. Because I’m an issues guy, not a mechanics guy. Renting an office and getting phone lines set up would be the overwhelming part for me. Seriously.
This, of course, is why most people run under the auspices of parties. Each of the parties has loads of people like Peter Boyle who can say, here’s your infrastructure, you just concentrate on running for office (and raising money).
What I need is an UnParty Peter Boyle. I guess that would be a party stalwart who has become disillusioned. Or who sees greater opportunity in breaking away from the two-party dichotomy.
It’s interesting to contemplate where such a person would come from. On an earlier post, I speculated that if I were to give in and run under the banner of one of the parties next year for pragmatic reasons (see the above discourse on Peter Boyle), especially for Congress, it would probably have to be the Democratic Party. Why? Well, not because I’m a Democrat, but because I don’t see a Republican having a good-enough shot against an incumbent of that party. Too much of an uphill climb.
But it occurs to me that if I run as an independent, my theoretical Peter Boyle would be more likely to come from the Republican Party. It’s the party in trouble. It’s the party that’s falling apart, rather pathetically clinging to tired slogans and petty resentments that have not served it well of late (whereas the Democrats have been doing OK, for the moment, with their tired slogans and petty resentments). It seems more likely that a smart Republican would calculate that an UnParty bid would be advisable than that a smart Democrat would do the same. Democrats are smelling opportunity now, and are unlikely to jump ship.
Then again, there could be a smart Democrat who would rather see me elected than Joe Wilson, and who also sees as I do that Rob Miller is not the best candidate to take advantage of this moment, and yet he’s the Democrat with the money, and has a leg up toward the nomination. Going with me might be the way to step around that problem. I don’t know. That’s the kind of hard-eyed political calculation that I’m depending on this Peter Boyle person to make — I’m the candidate, not the backroom strategist.
Anyway, now would be a good time for my Peter Boyle to step forward. I’ve got a job interview later this week, and possibly another soon after. This window won’t be open for long (I certainly hope.)
The kindness of friends is one thing, and I truly appreciate the supportive things y’all have said here. But at this point I need a nudge from a hard-eyed professional who truly believes this can be done. You might say I should go out and find that person. But I’m thinking that if I truly have a chance, that pragmatic person will see it and come to me. If I don’t — if it’s just me indulging myself and some friends egging me on — then there’s no point in continuing the discussion. Does that make sense? It does to me… Call it the first test of my viability…