In California for example, the Fiorina senate campaign is reported to be statistically close to that of three-term incumbent Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer. If elected, Fiorina will have to work with incumbent Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein. If not elected, as a former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, she will still be a former CEO either looking for a new big corporation gig or living off her new celebrity, like Sarah Palin, who endorsed her. If nothing else, Palin has proved that celebrity pays better than public service.
Once non-incumbents are elected, they become junior members of a governing elite and are obliged go to knife-and-fork school to be trained in their new positions. They have no influence. They do as instructed if they want to return. They are obliged to work for their constituency by making deals, especially with other legislators of their state and of other states.
Because of my Irish heritage, I am anti-incumbent by nature. I am for term limits on Congress. However, I cannot support candidates who have never shown any interest or participation in public service. By the way, one never hears the tea party Republican candidates speak about public service. To them the very concept is foreign, probably even socialist.
Theodore Roosevelt said, “A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues.” The deficit is not a real issue for the midterm elections, which are state elections. The deficit, part of the economy, is an issue of federal elections. Employment, two wars, and immigration are “real issues,” as they were in TR’s time.
With an alarming dearth of policy, the present GOP is content with merely opposing everything and anything that the President does or supports. The argument goes like this: it took the GOP seven years to destroy the US economy and to create the deficit out of a surplus. The Democrats have not fixed it in the first 19 months of the Obama presidency. It is kind of like saying “We screwed it up. Only we can unscrew it.”
The war in Afghanistan has not ended. The war in Iraq is slow going. They are both products of the Bush Administration and each is astronomically costly in terms of the three Ms: the men, the material and the money, and somehow it is all Obama’s fault. He should have wrapped those two wars up by last Christmas. He is, after all, the commander in chief.