Updated: Jan 27
Here are my thoughts on what it takes to be a politician in today's political arena. I've tried to break it down into the simplest terms possible.
Understand the composition (gender, race, age, party affiliation, etc.) of the voters in your district;
Whatever ethics you have, put them on a back shelf;
Say anything you have to in order to secure votes;
Do anything you have to in order to secure votes.
Once elected (assuming that happens):
Keep your ethics on the back shelf;
Begin running for re-election as soon as you take office;
Say anything you have to in order to stay in office;
Do anything you have to in order to stay in office.
I'm sure there are a great many people who would say I don't know what I am talking about in making these statements and don't understand the reality of running for elected office. Is this picture overly simplistic? Yes, it is a simple breakdown of how I view many politicians today. And, to be fair, in the 30 year career I had in local government management, I had the pleasure of working with and for a number of elected officials, who had a genuine desire to do what was best for their community. I applaud those individuals. There are, however, a great many more individuals, especially when looking at the State and Federal levels of government, who fit very nicely into the aforementioned mould.
Let's take a look at the political arena that exists today by using a few examples:
At an October 9, '21 Trump rally, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley accepted the endorsement of former President Trump stating the following: “I was born at night but not last night. So, if I didn’t accept the endorsement of a person that’s got 91 percent of the Republican voters in Iowa, I wouldn’t be too smart. I’m smart enough to accept that endorsement.” This is the same Senator who earlier in the year was one of a handful of Republicans who criticized former President Trump following the attack on the Capitol. Grassley had called it “an attack on American democracy itself,” and said Trump shared responsibility for the attack.
So let's see where Senator Grassley fits into the Playbook above:
Say anything you have to in order to stay in office (check)
Do anything you have to in order to stay in office (check)
2. Senator Josh Hawley, Missouri, is another good example of today's opportunistic politician. Here is an individual that has a singular objective, that is to be President of the United States one day. Having been elected to the U.S. Senate and taking office on January 3, 2019, Josh Hawley was by no means a household name in the political arena. That changed in 2020 when he decided the best route to achieve his objective was to align himself with then, and now former, President Trump and buy into the advocacy of Trumps incessant 'big lie' rantings about the Presidency being stolen from him. Senator Hawley's ascent into the political limelight is best symbolized in the following photograph, taken on January 6th, 2021, just prior to the assault on the Capital.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) gestures toward a crowd of Trump supporters gathered outside the Capitol on Jan. 6. (Francis Chung/E&E News/Politico/AP Images)
Does Sen. Hawley believe that Trump was a good President? I doubt it. Does he believe in Trumps rantings about the election having been stolen and of widespread voter fraud in the election? I doubt it. What he does believe in and what he does understand is that Trump currently holds sway over a sizable block of potential voters and if he (Sen. Hawley) expects to have any chance of becoming President in the future, then he needs to ride the coattails of Trump as long as it takes to curry the favor of those voters.
My comments about Sen. Josh Hawley are only a snippet of who he is as a person and a politician. For a more comprehensive overview of Sen. Hawley, I would recommend reading a May 21, 2021 article in the Washington Post, written by Michael Kranish, which can be found here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/05/11/senator-josh-hawley/. Read the article and then apply my Political Playbook - 101 outline. In doing so, you will see where each step of the Playbook has a check against it for Sen. Hawley. And while Trump was an aberration and a buffoon, Hawley is blatantly taking it to a whole new level.
3. Let's take a look at another newbie to Congress - Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, Georgia. In mounting a campaign in Georgia's 14th Congressional District, a district described as being very conservative, Greene, along with her handlers, packaged her candidacy around an image that she was a highly successful family-owned construction business executive/owner and hands-on problem solver, who's top priority would be to reign in government spending. The campaign was successful and Greene took office in 2021.
Credit: Video screengrab
The truth, however, is far from the image that was created for her. She is a member of the Taylor family (that part is accurate) and in 1969 her father started a multi-family siding business - Taylor Construction, selling the business in 1999, following which he then started an offshoot company - Taylor Commercial, Inc., later selling to Perry Greene (Marjorie's husband) in 2006.
From 2007 until 2011, Greene was listed as CFO of Taylor Commercial, Inc. in corporate registration records filed with the Georgia Secretary of State, however, during this same time frame Greene was apparently spending a significant amount of time in the gym pursuing her passion for CrossFit training and traveling to participate in national competitions.
Following (husband) Perry Greene's acquisition of the company in 2006, the required annual registration filing lists Perry Greene as CEO, replacing his father-in-law in the position. The registration also lists him as CFO and Secretary. Over the intervening 15 years, Taylor Commercial’s annual filings often listed Perry as the only officer of the company.
Representative Greene is quoted as saying “I’ve spent the past two decades running my business alongside my husband”.
Herein, the facts do not support the public image that was manufactured for Marjorie Taylor Greene during her congressional campaign or statements made by her about her role in the company. Resulting from scrutiny of these inconsistencies, the company website was taken offline for "scheduled maintenance". In reality, Marjorie Taylor Greene had no significant presence on the company website as shown on company web pages collected over a 20 year timeframe by the Internet Archive site Wayback Machine.
What does this all mean? It's just another example of what I've outlined in my Political Playbook - 101. For Representative Greene, here's my assessment:
1. Understand the composition (gender, race, age, party affiliation,
etc.) of the voters in your district; (check)
2. Whatever ethics you have, put them on a back shelf; (check)
3. Say anything you have to in order to secure votes; (check)
4. Do anything you have to in order to secure votes. (check)
Keep your ethics on the back shelf; (check)
Begin running for re-election as soon as you take office; (check)
Say anything you have to in order to stay in office; (check)
Do anything you have to in order to stay in office. (check)
One of the many unfortunate issues surrounding Representative Greene is how, in the span of only 30 days in Congress, in a bi-partisan vote, she managed to get herself removed from House Committee Assignments. While she still has her position in Congress (at least temporarily) which offers a pulpit to espouse her ramblings, being ostracized by her congressional colleagues and essentially being rendered impotent, only hurts the residents of her congressional district.
And the latest on Representative Greene:
Twitter Permanently Suspends Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Account
The social media service said the Republican congresswoman had violated its policy on coronavirus misinformation.
These examples represent only a fraction of the number of politicians who could be listed. And is it coincidental that these three are Republicans? No, it is not. I am a registered Republican but what I am not is a Republican that even remotely supports who these individuals are or who and what they claim to represent. Are there Democrats who could and should be listed above? Absolutely. Why did I choose Chuck Grassley, Josh Hawley and Marjorie Taylor Greene for this commentary? Primarily because they represent low hanging fruit, they fit my model to a 'T' and they chose to align themselves with Donald Trump in order to further their own personal and political ambitions.....voter's be damned. No, just kidding you 'Trumpetes', give me your votes and send me your money!