Friday, August 18, 2006

Understanding Why

The deeper I get into the campaign season, the more I understand why politicians act as they do when on the trail.

The public says it has a hunger for honest candidates. That's great! But candidates try to actually win their elections, so they try to be smart. They try to do the things that will help them win, and to avoid the things that could cause them to lose. So, incumbents tend to hide, because they have everything to lose. Challengers like to be as highly visible as possible.

I've been getting a pile of questionnaires lately, from all manner of special interest groups. The questionnaires are always incredibly simplistic, and worse, not one has addressed even a single issue that has the remotest thing to do with the duties of the Secretary of State. Some are clearly left of center, others clearly right of center. As a Libertarian, it means that I can guess that I am on the correct side and the incorrect side of almost every questionnaire.

So, I can see why so many candidates fail to turn in completed questionnaires. It's real easy to tell what your chances are of getting favorable play out of them. It nearly takes a fool to fill them out completely and send them in when you know you're going to score an 'F' on their report card. Better to get an "I" and leave them guessing. It seems like a pointless charade at times. A PAC knows if it's going to back Republicans, Democrats, or Libertarians. Very very few PACs back candidates across party lines. FOP comes to mind.

But, I'm an optimist. As a result, I've taken to adding a letter with the questionnaire that enunciates my platform positions that relate to the office I am running for. I thank them for their interest in my perspective, but give them something a little more germaine.

But I get the cynicism of many candidates out there. I don't encourage that attitude, but I do understand it.

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