31 May 2012

Editorial: 'Paid' Opinions

I've been accused of many things over the course of my time in politics.  But, as they say, there's a first time for everything, and for the first time in 14 years, I was accused of having bought opinions yesterday.

I find this so nauseatingly repugnant that I thought it might be worth it to explain how I pick candidates--those I work for, volunteer for and/or generally support.

Arguing with those who are so clearly set in their opinions (not backed by any facts or reason, I might add) isn't worth my time.  But responding to this is important because it is foundational to what I do and what, in many ways, I think sets me apart from other "operatives" in this state.  I believe very strongly in principle and character, and to claim something that calls either my character or principles into question is something I take very seriously and is not wise to do.  Politics 101 says don't piss off potential allies unless there is a very good reason to do so--I've done this many times, so it’s not that you shouldn't do it.  Just have a good reason first.

When I hear about a race or meet a candidate, the first thing I do is look at their website.  What a candidate chooses to tell the world is important.  What they say, or often... what they don't say, is huge.  I also ask others who know them (political folks I trust and know from the area, etc.).  I usually get a pretty good sense of a candidate after meeting them anyways, and so far, I'm only rarely proven wrong about my initial impression.

Before I would ever consider volunteering or working for a candidate, I do a little more extensive research.  I want to make sure that, beyond all reasonable doubt, I have no concerns about supporting that candidate in that particular race.  I have a hard time doing anything I can't put my all into, so it would be very difficult for me to work for a campaign that I didn't thoroughly and whole-heartedly support.  If I can't do that, I'll elect (pardon the pun) to stay out of that race.  I don't generally like being approached by someone to work for or support them and then going to work for their opponent if I have already decided I can't support that candidate (unless there's a really, really compelling reason to do so--but those are rare).  

You'll notice, for example, on my Primary recommendations, there are some that I didn't give an opinion on.  I know most of the candidates running this year, but I don't know some well enough to completely and totally support some of them over another in their specific race.

Of course, my support of a candidate in a race doesn't mean that their opponent is bad--it just usually means they aren't qualified for that particular job (granted... there are some who are just total sleaze-buckets, but that's not always the case).  In fact, there are many times I think reasonable Conservatives can disagree over who is the Right Republican in a race--and there are times that it's hard to decide who is the best candidate.  On the other hand, there are times when a candidate is so bad that if they end up winning... rather than supporting them over the Democrat in a race, it's better to let the 'lesser' of evils in that one win.  

Simply put, there are some candidates, Republican candidates, who I will not support and, in fact, secretly hope lose.  The only way to bring this Party back to its roots of principle is to make sure those who have none are not reelected.

Ultimately, I form my opinions (which are entirely my own--anyone who knows me knows that I am not easily swayed once I form my opinions) long before I would work for or even support a candidate in a race for any office.  Any insinuation otherwise shows a lack of knowing me and how I operate, and even, maybe, is a projection of character deficiency on their part--but perhaps that's just the cynical side of me speaking.  

There are many whose opinions, endorsements and work can be bought (too many, in fact).  I am not one of them.  Those who do hire me do so for my expertise once I have already decided to support them.  It's certainly never to "buy" my support.  Anyone who thinks otherwise is just plain ignorant.

Oh, and since I'm also apparently a paid blogger (ha... with 10 posts over 4 months?  I must be really good...), feel free to send in your checks.  Cos I haven't gotten any of them yet--for what are you waiting?

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