“That guy is a boy scout” – unknown
“Even boy scouts aren’t boy scouts” – Frank Underwood
“That (boy scout) gang raped me” – Christine Blasey Ford
Frank Capra’s epic film, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, captured the American imagination and our eternal optimism. We like to hope that virtuous, self-less “boy scout” leaders will at least occasionally emerge out of the fog of war created by career politicians, lawyers, and lobbyists doing battle for the two major political parties in Washington, D.C. Unfortunately, we do not get the government we want; we get the government we deserve. While we may wish for a government made up entirely of Jimmy Stewarts, cynical political operators are standing firmly in the way of that dream.
Why will our politicians not keep the promises they made as candidates? Why do all of them come home and tell us how they “try,” but that the system is too complicated? What kind of person would lay $20 trillion of debt at the feet of their children and grandchildren and not resign in shame?
Try this trick: At the next social gathering of your peers, try to talk someone into running for office. Without a doubt, your suggestion will be met with a resounding “hell no.” No one with any sense wants to run for public office these days, and that means fewer good choices for you and me.
The candidates I look for are accomplished entrepreneurs, business owners, and job creators. I want people with real life experience who can solve tough problems and who have proven their mettle. I suspect I am not alone. The typical congressional race features a crowded field of career politicians and lawyers — but only if we are lucky do we get a chance to vote for a veteran or a business owner.
Most “normal” people, especially business owners and family men and women, avoid politics for obvious reasons. They don’t want their business, their loved ones, or their own reputations dragged through the mud. They don’t want small, long-forgotten indiscretions dug up — or, as is increasingly common, invented out of whole cloth. Who would?
The New York Times just recently exposed the name of a supposed victim who apparently does not even realize she was a victim. That the accuser who is still trying to smear Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was an attorney for the chronic sex abuser Bill Clinton is an epic hypocrisy that somehow slipped past what remains of the Times’ “fact checking” apparatus.
Rape is the newest go-to for leftist political operatives, and the anti-Trump “#resistance” movement has a remarkably ample supply of adherents willing to lie. One sad effect of this is that the left sacrifices the reputation and diminishes the pain of actual sexual assault victims by elevating one false accuser after another. The other sad effect is that all of us have fewer quality choices for candidates.
Candidates today must have more ego than sense in order to willingly subject themselves to the perils of contemporary politics, and this is a hidden price we all pay. In this environment, why would Mr. Smith even think of answering the once-noble calling to run for office?
We, the people, did this to ourselves.
We deserve the sort of candidates that our loathsome system produces. Both political parties have robust opposition research machines working 24/7 to dig up the dirt on their opponents. The political media do a mediocre job of filtering political dirt from real dirt, and increasingly it seems that they don’t even try.
Imagine an election featuring two candidates. The one from your party looks pretty good on paper, stands for most of the things you believe in, and has a long record of public service. The opposing candidate also has a record of public service, but holds views that are generally the opposite of yours. Then “news” breaks that your candidate has an accuser.
The alleged bad act happened 35 years ago. The candidate has been married to the same person for 30 years and has been accused of nothing since. If you accept the assertion made by many in the Democrat Party that all accusers are to be automatically believed (except accusers of Bill Clinton, apparently), and that there is zero allowance for redemption, then you are accepting that even Mr. Smith is not safe from the threat of such accusations.
There aren’t many Mr. Smith-type candidates on the ballot, and it’s up to us to protect the remaining few by establishing some guidelines.
I loathe the use of the “unfit for office” cudgel, but if ever there was a measure, we saw it in the response to theTimes story. Five Democrat presidential candidates — people who are seeking to lead the free World — called for Kavanaugh’s impeachment based on the fourth-hand account of Clinton’s lawyer that he heard a guy claim that a woman was once a victim of inappropriate sexual behavior, even though she does not even remember that ever happening. That the Times would see this as a story is shameful, and the fact that some of the Democrat Party’s leading presidential candidates hold so low a regard for civility that they would take that bait makes them unfit in my view. Talk about building a glass house of cards!
Improving our pool of political candidates is something that would benefit all Americans, regardless of Party affiliation. Our very survival as a constitutional republic is on the line. Without enough Mr. Smiths in Congress to disrupt the corrupt status quo, there’s simply no political appetite to address the ballooning national debt or the many other major issues that have gone unresolved for years due to partisan gridlock.
Of course, there are still a few truly amazing people serving in Washingtondespite the corruptions in the nominating process, but I can imagine the frustration when President Trump, the results-driven businessman, tries to negotiate with the establishment politicians in both Parties, who never miss a chance to put political goals before results.
Let’s reject the bullies and peer pressure holding that every accuser of a political candidate is to be believed. These candidates belong to all of us, and no single person should hold veto power over our choices.
John Loudon is a former state senator who represented Missouri’s 7th District.