S&R co-founder Mike Sheehan had a really funny comment on my “Dems need their own Tea Party” post. As in, I laughed until my sides hurt. Checkit:
Well, what’s stopping you from running for office?
If I’d had soda in my mouth I’d have spewed it all over your computer. He continues:
Er wait, never mind… intelligence is a liability in US politics… makes you look godless and America-hating.
He gets it. But seriously, I’ve been bitching for decades. Why don’t I run? I think I have solutions for everything, right?
Well, in truth, there have been moments when I have fantasized about being Congressman Sam. But there are good answers for that “why not run?” question, and Mike’s wiseassery got me to thinking – I should write them all down. You know, because posterity.
So, in no particular order:
- I’m not a Christian, nor am I a Jew living in a largely Jewish district. Despite what the Constitution says, there is by god a religious litmus test for elected office in the US.
- Worse, I’m sort of part atheist and part pagan. I might as well sacrifice a baby to Baphomet as I’m holding the press conference.
- I’m not rich.
- Nothing about my history of managing money is going to suggest that I should be allowed in the same building with a budget process.
- I don’t know a lot of rich people.
- I’d feel terrible asking the ones I do know to throw their money away on such a lost cause.
- I have a soul, and no interest in selling it.
- If I were elected, I’d have to spend all my time in the company of lobbyists and Congresspersons. I need a shower just thinking about it.
- Elected officials spend an obscene amount of time on the phone raising money. I cannot stress to you how little appeal this holds for me.
- I don’t have a natural constituency to appeal to on the issues. I agree with progressives on most things, but at the core I’m almost a one-issue guy, and that issue is education. I firmly believe that if you do that one right, literally every other problem facing us gets solved as an indirect effect in one to two generations because there’s not a lot that millions of smart-as-hell critically minded people can’t outwit. And folks, ain’t nobody voting for a guy running on a platform that says octuple the ed budget and wait 40 years.
- I’m divorced, which means I’d have to run as a family-values Republican.
- I’m smart. I’m educated. And I live in an aggressively anti-intellectual culture that hates smart and educated.
- I have written a great deal on controversial topics, often giving voice to opinions that my opponents could frame as everything from Communist to Satanic. For instance, I don’t think #Merica is the greatest nation on Earth. We may once have been, but if so, it was a long time ago. We’re not even a democracy anymore. And if we were, what value is democracy when a vast majority of the voting public is too stupid to come in out of the rain? See, told you. How does that guy get elected?
- A wonderfully accomplished former colleague once said of me that “Sam never met an idea he was afraid of.” While I think that’s the best thing anyone ever said about me, and it’s something that I think makes me an interesting guy to invite to your party, it’s also something that disqualifies me from consideration for any office higher than dog catcher.
- I legally changed my name, which makes me a weirdo.
- If they get to digging into my recreational pursuits, they’re going to find all kinds of stuff that marks me out as a closet geek, nerd, freak-job and loser.
- While my love life in recent years has been unfortunately tame, as a younger man I led a lively social life. Dubya got away with it, but I probably wouldn’t.
- Another tidbit that would probably emerge is that for a brief period in he ’80s I dabbled with the nose candy. I quit straightaway when Len Bias died, and would probably have quit anyway for a couple other reasons. First, that shit was expensive and I was living on a waiter’s salary. And second, I didn’t like how it made me want more.
- I tried pot once. Hated it. I hate smoke, period, so that was destined not to happen. But my attempts to answer that question would almost certainly result in me saying something the press would have even more fun with than they did “but I didn’t inhale.”
- I’m a great liar, but that’s a skill I have packed away for good. Which means I’d be wading into battle with both hands and one leg tied behind my back.
- I’m a good diplomat, but despite my best efforts I sometimes find the ugly truth escaping my mouth. You can neither govern nor campaign effectively if you’re prone to fits of honesty.
- As a younger man there was nothing I loved more than a debate. These days debates require you to deal with a system that treats barking gongbats and pathological charlatans with the same measure of respect accorded to the brightest and most honorable amongst us. I detest false equivalency in any form, and a process that feels obliged to treat voices of reason and the obviously corrupt the same way isn’t worth a second of my time.
- Another thing about young Sammy – there was no windmill he wouldn’t tilt at. The longer the odds against me the more I’d dig in, the more passionately and righteously I’d fight. These days? The odds aren’t long, the game is rigged. There’s a difference. I only play rigged games if they’re entertaining, like Blackjack in Vegas. Politics? There is no part of me that thinks it would be entertaining. Not even a little bit.
- Finally, it should be noted that many people have attributed to me a wide range of basic character flaws and personality shortcomings. While I don’t believe that I’m a complete bastard, millions of people can’t be wrong, so it’s probably necessary that I admit to being at least a partial bastard.
Would I suck it up and make the sacrifice if I thought I could make a difference? Maybe. But that’s the biggest if you’ve heard all week.