The noble lies vs the crushing reality
October 3, 2008 10:49 PM   Subscribe

Election woes: Or, why not to discount 26 year old lawyers.
posted by oxford blue (27 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
I want to believe that it's important to be earnest.
posted by cytherea at 11:37 PM on October 3, 2008


I really liked this story. To summarize, money talks, the truth walks.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:39 PM on October 3, 2008


I liked his two year old kid the best.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:39 PM on October 3, 2008


It has a degree of resonance with anyone who's ever run for a position and lost; the best guy never wins (except in The West Wing), at least according to them. Politics produces politicians and rarely great leaders, inspiring thinkers, or life changing heroes.
posted by oxford blue at 12:11 AM on October 4, 2008


Maybe I'm the odd one out, but this just struck me as rambling. I thought I would like it since I got to work on the campaign of a guy running for elected office (state representative) his first time. He would bring up stuff he had to go through, talk about what was difficult or frustrating and what was rewarding. In comparison, this just felt like a log of events and didn't seem terribly insightful.
posted by Nattie at 12:16 AM on October 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh my goodness, rambling or not that is just wonderful writing. Thank you, oxford blue.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 12:27 AM on October 4, 2008


Excellent. I loved the oblique way he revealed the whole "money matters" thing as he went.
posted by batmonkey at 12:44 AM on October 4, 2008


A little googling leads me to conclude that this guy is the Ken of the story.
posted by essexjan at 1:00 AM on October 4, 2008


I don't know what to think of the story, other than I never really want to run for office.
posted by maxwelton at 1:04 AM on October 4, 2008


Maybe I'm the odd one out, but this just struck me as rambling.

♫ You are not alone. I am here with you ♪
posted by chillmost at 1:12 AM on October 4, 2008


...other than I never really want to run for office.

Yeah. There are lots of ways to help people if you want to help people, without becoming a public figure...and to all would-be politicians out there, if becoming a public figure is a prerequisite for you being willing to help people, you're doing it wrong.
posted by davejay at 2:17 AM on October 4, 2008


He just seemed like a really shitty politician to me. He had none of the local party appartus behind him, which is probably the most important in local elections, and he was a horrible fund raiser. It's nice that he had nice policy positions, but to win you actually have to practice politics.
posted by afu at 3:19 AM on October 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


PoliticsHumanity produces politicians and rarely great leaders, inspiring thinkers, or life changing heroes.
posted by DU at 3:48 AM on October 4, 2008


great work, as always in the believer, but I would have liked a and this is what happened later to the author paragraph by someone else.
posted by krautland at 4:58 AM on October 4, 2008


great work, as always in the believer, but I would have liked a and this is what happened later to the author paragraph by someone else.

Me too. I kept looking for where it said this was an excerpt of a longer work, or what happened to the author, or...something that would tell me how the story ended.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:18 AM on October 4, 2008


What sharp, funny writing! He should become a novelist instead--Less humiliation.
posted by applemeat at 6:23 AM on October 4, 2008


Excellent article, very illuminating for those of us who haven't been through the process (and thank god!).

He just seemed like a really shitty politician to me.


Uh, yeah. That was kind of his point. But I realize snarking is the most important thing in the world.
posted by languagehat at 6:44 AM on October 4, 2008


The author writes a blog on father hood it says at the very bottom of that article. Dadistan? It also links to a bio of the author.

I have this theory that my wife asks me not to break out very often. Rather than (re)institute the draft, we require that everyone under the age of 27 and over 18 serve in a position of community leadership such as on the Board of Education, the local town council, the president of the local AYSO, etc. It has to be a position whereby you have to make public decisions AND you have a constituency that feels like it can comment on your performance and tell you what to do because they elected you.

My other theory is to require everyone in the same age category above to live in a city with a population of more than 1 million people for a year. Those who grew up in a city of more than 1 million would have to live in a town that had less than 5,000 for a year.

The goal is to walk a mile in someone else's shoes. We would all get along much better than we do now. These theories still need some refinement of course.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:16 AM on October 4, 2008 [3 favorites]


What sharp, funny writing! He should become a novelist instead--Less humiliation.

At the bottom of the article it says that the author is presently writing a novel. So we can look forward to a future article bemoaning how the author sacrificed his ideals and his family to write a touching, astute novel about how real lives are led, only to end up sitting for hours behind an untouched stack of that novel at a small table at a mega-bookstore watching the customers who are loitering by the magazine rack pointedly ignore him while some 24 year old clerk tasked with babysitting him details every interplanetary war and alien sex act in the science-fiction novel they are planning in their head, only to eight months later find similarly untouched stack of his novel pushed on to a table of $3.99 remainders while product of the likes of Dan Brown and mystery authors who title their books after the alphabet rushes out the door.
posted by TimTypeZed at 8:35 AM on October 4, 2008 [4 favorites]


Great article, but the decision to change the opponents' names vaguely irritated me when the subject is such a matter of public record. Here are the results in the election (scroll down to district 18). Here's an article about one of the debates.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 8:37 AM on October 4, 2008


Compelling article, thanks. I very much enjoyed the writing style.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 10:52 AM on October 4, 2008


Uh, yeah. That was kind of his point. But I realize snarking is the most important thing in the world.

Everyone seems to think his point was that idealism always loses out to power, which I see zero evidence of in this article, all there is is evidence of his incompetence.

His only criticisms of "ken" were that he worked for a corporate law firm, but there is no follow up to see what Ken actually did after he got in office. If this guy is so anti social he can't go out and get the local Sierra Club endorsement he has no right to bitch about being unsuccessful in politics.
posted by afu at 11:05 AM on October 4, 2008


He was a bit naïve, to be sure, but he put in the shoe leather, it sounds like. I don't think he's that much different from people I've seen run for Congress, which you'd think would be a whole 'nother ball game, but still attracts political neophytes (especially who have no interest in state and local issues). Lots of people run once, find they're not cut out for the game, and never again. Lots of people also run once, learn some hard lessons, and come back to win next time (or in another office). Pretty clear which category he's in, so so what?

My mother was on the County Board and I did a lot of legwork and brochure design and such for her, as well as GOTV for presidentials, so I appreciated the ground-level view. My most memorable encounters are the people who would talk with me but not agree with me (from these I learned which category I'm in).
posted by dhartung at 5:12 PM on October 4, 2008



JohnnyGunn we require that everyone under the age of 27 and over 18 serve

allow me, the still young-at-heart, to illustrate to you why this is a bad idea. as in really, really bad. as in "I just wrote very german there."

I took the bus to work today. I paid full fare. everyone above sixty rides free, as do schoolkids. I also went to the gym today, half of it being blocked off for women because it's saturday and the free drinks were only for children. I went home only to be greeted by all four BBC channels playing programs for the mentally shriveled. oh yeah, there was some douchebag at my door who thought I should donate for his after-school activities. I paid for a cab home from a pub later tonight because I don't qualify for those free shuttles that race all over town to drive the elderly to bingo halls. did I mention that as an unmarried male I pay the highest possible taxes in the country? woo-fucking-doo. no matter what I do and where I go, I am the one who gets shafted. I pay more, I have less rights (to seats just as much as to government services) and hey, if you have a great new idea for something someone should do, that someone somehow always ends up being me.

let's force old people to work instead. you have two choices: move to florida (or iowa but I'm biased to reserving that for moms with strollers) and enjoy your retirement. want to stay in the city? want to pay with dimes at the express checkout counter in the evening? earn it. pay an inconvenience tax that benefits the non-elderly. it could support my parking tickets (which brings me back to the express checkout counter). let's draft all the octogenarians to sweep my street every now and then. it's only fair if I have to let them sit on the bus.

what I'm really trying to say, dearest JohnnyGunn, is listen to your wife.
posted by krautland at 5:50 PM on October 4, 2008


Krautland, I did say there were still some flaws to work out. I guess just saying, "You meddling kids get out of my yard." would work as well. All your points are well taken. I love visualizing putting old man Smith to work in order to earn his seat on the crosstown bus. However, your last sentence be fighting words. I hear her, but don't listen. Sort of like how I am not always right, but have never been wrong.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:39 PM on October 4, 2008


I've periodically consider running for local office around here because I spend too much time at city council meetings disagreeing with them anyway, so if I ran the joint, maybe some stuff would get done right for a change.

Then I remember all the things I've done over the years that have been caught on film and I think "Yeah, there's no way I'm going to be able to explain why I was naked, juggling fire, while toga clad stoners carried me in a canoe." to a rural/suburban Texas demographic.

I can't imagine how much fun politics is going to be once the Facebook generation is old enough to want to start running for public office.
posted by dejah420 at 8:53 PM on October 5, 2008


I've periodically consider running for local office around here because I spend too much time at city council meetings disagreeing with them anyway, so if I ran the joint, maybe some stuff would get done right for a change. Then I remember all the things I've done over the years that have been caught on film...

Tangent: that doesn't always make a difference.

A friend of mine for a while had a pet project wherein he dug up the wackiest news he could find on each and every congressional candidate every year, typed them up into a booklet and gave them out to friends (the whole thing started because he got caught up in a bar bet in 1996 and wanted to do "a little research" and started turning up very outrageous stories).

He was finding out things like: there's a man in Congress at THIS MOMENT who was caught in his car with a prostitute with his pants down around his ankles, and who tried to resist arrest -- and he STILL GOT RE-ELECTED TO OFFICE. Then there's the guy who tried to send his picture in to Playgirl magazine to promote his campaign. And then there's Jim Traficant.

And then there's the fact that my parents own a videotape showing their then-neighbor -- someone who is currently serving in the state legislature for my home state -- lipsyncing "Girlfriend Is Better" into a rolling pin with one hand and holding a half-empty bottle of schnapps in the other. This video existed when this man was just starting his political career ten years ago, and no one's ever found it because he's doing too good a job.

...People don't ALWAYS pay attention to things like that....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:01 AM on October 6, 2008


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