We’ve all had that friend, neighbor, or co-worker. They moved to Georgia because jobs were here and weren’t at home. They like the weather, and the cost of living is good. And people are even friendly here. Yet they can’t resist constantly telling you how much better they did things in Michigan.
For some reason, this was all I could think about when I read this morning’s column from Jim Galloway. Apparently, One of our front page posters who also spends some spare time on RedState and Cobb County’s own former Speaker of The House are having a bit of a tiff (along with the Club For Growth) over who the voters of New York’s 23rd Congressional District should give the Republican nomination.
I’ll save the merits of each’s argument for another day. It is, after all, the great Civil War within the Republican party that will be with us through at least 2012. I choose instead to focus on why two guys from Georgia are telling the voters of New York how much better we select our Congress Critters in the South. And to do so, I’d like to discuss a speech I heard at the Northwest Georgia Young Republicans a couple of weekends ago.
Tom Dooley doesn’t look like most congressional candidates. His head is covered in a bandana, and most of his clothes are denim or leather. He began by saying that he had some ideas, and some were off the wall. He did not disappoint.
He proposed that we finish building a wall along the Mexican border. He then proposed we clear 100 yards on the US side of the wall, and build a second wall. He proposed routine patrols (with specific numbers of agents, how far they would travel in shifts, etc) to catch those who still tried to cross. He then reminded us that some of his proposals are “out there”, and jumped right in to planting mines within the area loaded with dye similar to packs used to thwart bank robberies. He emphasized he did not want to harm anyone, he just wanted some way to be able to identify people who were able to still get through the elaborate system designed to protect the sovereignty of our country.
It would have been easy to laugh at this point, but not appropriate. Tom served our country in Vietnam, and is willing to admit his idea is a bit kooky. Off the wall? Sure. But also sincere. His service alone earned him the right for me to hear him out. Besides, it was just getting interesting.
His second idea was familiar, as he proposed to put all bills online 72 hours before they were voted on, and be written at a roughly junior high school level. I’m pretty sure our current President promised to do this, but he doesn’t seem to remember that now.
The third idea was simple, yet poignant. Only citizens of a congressional district should be allowed to contribute to congressional campaigns. Period. No corporations. No unions. No PACs. Just individuals who live within the boundaries of a Congressional District.
He reasoned that contributions affect voting patterns, and when people represent contributors, they may not be representing the citizens. And if members of Congress had to rely on their own voters for their campaign funds, they would spend a lot more time with them and a lot less with the special interests of Washington.
I think the idea has about as much chance of passing as I do of winning a Pulitzer. But deep inside my cold cynical self, there’s still part of me that wishes Jimmy Stewart were still around so that Mr. Smith could go fix Washington. Mr. Smith would sponsor this legislation.
I spoke with Tom afterwards, and he admitted he probably can’t win. What he wants is for his ideas to get out there, debated, and if they have merit, adopted by those who may win. I’d score #1 as a non-starter, and #2 as less than original. But his final idea has merit, and if adopted by some of the right folks, it could have legs.
But for this election cycle, the good folks in NY-23 will have to deal with the outside agitators – well meaning folks, but agitators nonetheless. After watching the wrestling match between Erick and Newt, one wonders if they may be the first to adopt Tom Cooley’s idea. Or perhaps, to be the first Northerners who feel compelled to tell some Southerners “Delta is Ready When You Are”.