I start… I want you to consider this article --
mulls run for president”
now a bit of background…
was writing an article that took its own sweet time developing.
hope we haven’t met our next American President
Part 1 – Who do you want? Who wants to be President?”
was something that started when I was getting fed up with the
same names coming out over and over again. Honestly though, it
wasn’t just because the same names were coming up, and it quickly
branched off in a different direction.
new direction involved how politics had greatly become a game.
It wasn’t one driven by results, but instead was simply about
doing the dance to get elected. It was a pattern… blame the other
person for suffocating hope and being unwilling to change while
promising a new day and an end to the same old situations and
it turns out, everything old is new again. (First of many applicable
clichés.) As they promise a brighter dawn filled with improvements,
the results find many of us still smacking our hands against our
head and muttering to ourselves about déjà vu.
look at the public relations, or the sorry attempts at it. The
same waves of attacks… from the opposing party (or, to be fair,
I suppose parties)… from the media… from the fair and balanced
(ha ha) media (because… yeah… whatever)… and ups and downs and
great candidate one day and awful candidate the next day, and
did you see what his office did and did you hear about her e-mails
and… I’m babbling and have lost track of this sentence and wake
me when it’s Election Day.
1” was an article designed to point out that not only do we have
the same candidates over and over, the funny part is that even
when we don’t have the same specific candidates we find the same
game being played.
in doubt, go negative. No one tells you what they are going to
do. Coming up with specifics provides potential measureable results
that can be pointed out when they aren’t accomplished. Instead,
tell everyone that you are different, the opponent is nothing
but more of the same, and do whatever you can to discredit the
gets promised. Change gets promised. Out with the old gets promised.
And… nope. Even if the names don’t seem familiar to you right
now, in time we’ll all be treated to a campaign that features
someone playing the part of the racecar, someone the thimble,
and someone the Scottie dog. Names change… game’s the same.
pause here for a moment to allow you the fun of developing your
own jokes based on the idea of playing pieces being referred to
as tokens. (Thank you. I thought that was pretty good. Ok… ready?))
something amazing happened. Not a good amazing. In all honesty,
it likely defies virtually all levels of stupidity previously
understood in politics. But, still, amazing.
to where I started -- “Chafee
mulls run for president”
to Rhode Island and walk around. I want you to be prepared to
ask anyone you meet the following two questions -- “Do you live
in Rhode Island, or at least know the name Lincoln Chafee and
his association with politics in the state of Rhode Island?” and,
if any person says yes, then ask “Should Lincoln Chafee run for
president?” -- and I will guarantee you that no matter how many
people you ask, or how often you get to present that follow-up
query, you will not run out of single-digit numbers while tallying
the “yes” responses to your second question.
here’s a better test -- Tell any person that lives in Rhode Island
that Lincoln Chafee announced in April that he was running for
president, and then ask them what day his announcement was released.
100% of those responding will tell you April 1st (with a plus
or minus margin for error of zero… 0%).
fine… he didn’t announce he was running, and it didn’t happen
on April 1st. Neither of those ideas is the point. We’re looking
at the sheer brilliance that he might even be considering it.
far as I know, outside of politics Lincoln Chafee is a fine man.
A good man. Kind of guy you would readily be happy to have in
your home for dinner, head out to a ballgame with, and so on.
I have no memories at all of him in person, though for some strange
reason I’m fairly certain that if I haven’t met him, I have been
in the same room as him on multiple occasions. And, his lifetime
in the public eye throughout Rhode Island along with service as
Mayor of Warwick would seem to lend itself to that possibility.
family has always been politically active, and his father (John
Chafee) was a well-respected Governor and U.S. Senator (with multiple
terms in Washington). Lincoln Chafee has a strong education and,
to my understanding, a very solid family. Most of his political
stances have been against political party affiliations… at least
to the extent that he has never been one to let his specific party
by name represent his beliefs if he felt strongly other than the
party’s official position.
guess is, on paper, there really isn’t much about Lincoln Chafee
not to like if you happen to be in the vetting business for political
but it never is that simple. Is it? Remember… it’s a game, and
as I mentioned in “Part 1” you need to know that numbers lie.
Chafee is a man with no true home. He was a Republican as a U.S.
Senator… an Independent as Rhode Island Governor… and most people
would consider him as leaning in the direction of a Democrat should
he decide to run for office again.
election as Governor involved collecting a whopping 36% of the
vote statewide in his victory. Not exactly convincing numbers.
And, one of the understood reasons for his not seeking re-election
was weak results from fund raising.
let’s step away from the idea of running in a campaign to be the
President of the United States. Let’s for a moment consider some
of the concepts we are always told time and time again about the
process that goes into selecting a running mate. You know… a potential
up, you want someone that can deliver a state or region to your
candidacy, especially one you might not be able to capture on
your own. In short, you want to broaden your appeal to voters.
it never hurts if that person has a home state with several votes
in the Electoral College.
I think it’s fair to say you want someone that can connect with
the voters, seems approachable and liked, and does a decent job
getting dollars into the war chest.
these are very general ideas indeed, and only three. But I don’t
think we need to go much further than this… Chafee can’t deliver
Rhode Island on his own (and honestly, Rhode Island isn’t a valuable
prize toward election), he doesn’t consistently connect with voters,
and he is anything but a fund raising machine.
face it… a man that doesn’t earn a majority of the vote in a small
state isn’t going to be discussed for long in conversations based
on selecting a second name on the party’s ticket, especially when
he doesn’t have a party that really will rally around him as a
dedicated member of their ranks.
back to the idea of becoming President.
Lincoln Chafee doesn’t pass any of the thoughts needed for considerations
as a Vice President, especially the few I’m laying out here as
a starting point, then there is absolutely no chance of him becoming
President. None. Not at all.
few years ago… I forget exactly where… I recall that in some fashion
I presented a thought that becoming President of the United States
was not a legitimate career option for everyone. There were so
many factors involved that navigating the waters to actually get
to a point where your name would even be a viable possibility
was ridiculous. And toward that end, I submit that in our country’s
history not even 50 individuals have held the title. It’s a pretty
thing is… for Lincoln Chafee, he does pass the tests for it to
be a legitimate career option. May not be a good candidate for
consideration, still, if you drew up a job description and moved
beyond those most basic conditions such as age and place of birth
in to additional things you would expect to see needed, I’m sure
he would meet each and every one of those qualifications.
yet… again… as I said earlier, 100% of Rhode Islanders polled
would tell you that Lincoln Chafee considering a run for President
was an April Fool’s Day headline.
it’s not April Fool’s… not a Pat Paulsen filing of papers… not
being stated in a throw-away “sure, I’d like to be President”
fashion by someone.
the heck makes Chafee… or, more precisely, Chafee and those around
him that talk such things over… think such a concept is worth
he have any hobbies? I mean… New Hampshire and Iowa and other
locations are great states to visit… but investing his time as
an outreach portion of an exploratory committee project?
to the snapshot in the article on the Providence Journal
web site, here’s what we could expect from Chafee:
change. Values don’t.”
where to begin? Because the problems with that slogan are virtually
I’ve now gone on for almost two thousand words and probably given
you the idea that this is directed at Lincoln Chafee. It wasn’t
supposed to be. It just works so well as one example for the larger
pause here for a moment to allow you the fun of developing your
own jokes based on playing the word whole against the word hole,
and a discussion of political candidates. (Ok… ready?))
the surface, Chafee has a nice, short, simple message here. The
political world is ever-changing and evolving, and the elections
of our fathers and grandfathers are not the same elections being
held today. Just one problem…
more things change, the more they stay the same.
heard that cliché before… and it is far too true. Politics
has become a consistent repetitive promise of hope and change
and future, while providing us with headaches and absurdity and
do you expect to connect with me on a vision for the future, when
you don’t really understand that most of my decisions are being
made paycheck to paycheck?
is common to far, far too many political candidates right now.
What Chafee’s announcement shows is simply that potential candidates
are separated from the realities we face. They don’t live in our
neighborhood. They don’t understand our best interests. And the
more complex part of the Chafee example is that these people don’t
seem to recognize that this play has been acted out before.
until we stand up and react with our votes, and change the game
being played, we’ll keep seeing these results.
that end, as people begin announcing their intentions… or the
exploration of their intentions… I find myself over and over again
hoping that someone steps forward that hasn’t yet. Someone that
actually seems worthy of consideration. Because as I write this,
of those that are being discussed, I am amazingly unimpressed.
am not asking for a change in the game. I don’t know many alternatives
to the current voting process or the action-reaction results that
proposing some new system might create.
I simply want to ask you to look around. Really, really look around.
Find out what the candidates not only say they believe, but try
to find out how they have actually worked on specific issues.
then… turn up and vote. Again, the more eligible voters that begin
showing up on election days, the more candidates will notice that
the campaigns are important and do matter to everyone… not just
the largest voting blocks in the most rewarding states. Let them
know this isn’t a game… at least not one that we can comfortably
watch being lost.
~ ~ ~
understand… this essay is not a critique of Lincoln Chafee as
a person. I said it in the piece -- I’ve never met him in a one-on-one,
personal setting that I can recall.
that holds true for most political candidates. I am incredibly
unimpressed by what I have seen happen to businesses and hiring
practices around the state of Connecticut during the two terms
of President Obama. Discussions with friends of mine have revealed
similar situations at other businesses in several other states.
There are many other things that have happened that tend to make
me believe Obama and his team have not been a successful group
in the White House.
does not mean I don’t feel Obama is a fascinating, impressive,
and inspirational man. I find his speaking abilities to be brilliant.
His passion, enthusiasm, and drive to excel are extraordinary.
I may not believe in the candidate… I do believe in the man. I
would be honored to shake his hand and spend an evening speaking
with him. I sincerely believe that as time moves on, he will join
Jimmy Carter as one of the finest post-office American Presidents
ever. His best days, his greatest influences, have yet to be realized.
Chafee, the idea is simply that sure, I could see how when considering
the qualifications of a candidate he does manage to get through
any checklist you might devise. But the idea of him being a serious
candidate? It isn’t even worth a serious discussion. There is,
quite literally, no reason at all for a web site to be officially
accepting donations for this cause. None.
that is what politics in many ways has become. A joke. It’s not
reality any more. It’s not a true representation of the best interests
for the majority any more. It’s not the qualified leading those
who need leadership any more. Elections are a game… and my life…
your life… our country… are worth more than that.