Dear Big Daddy,
I’m a young Republican staffer, and I work in the ‘horseshoe.” The problem
is I came here to work for Republicans, and now I find myself surrounded by
Democrats. Call me a partisan hack, but if I wanted to work for Democrats I
would be working for the speaker or pro tem or any one of dozens of
legislators or statewide officials. Would you have put a bunch of
Republicans on your leadership team?
Well, it depends on the Republicans in question and whether or not they had
Ralph Waldo Emerson got it right well over a century ago when he noted, “A
foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little
statesmen and philosophers and divines.”
Translated to today’s political climate, it means no great leader ever got
to the top and stayed up on top simply by surrounding himself with a cache
of rear-end smooching suck-ups who do little more little more than nod in
agreement like a bobblehead doll anytime the self-anointed oracle made a
pronouncement or rendered an opinion.
Turn your eyes east and ask yourself, “Do you really want your governor up
to his pancake make up in alligators the way your president is?” President
Bush has the largest collection of “yes men” east of the Rio Grande, which
is one of the main reasons why he can’t go to church without stepping in
something along the way. If you don’t have people in your inner circle who
will question your ideas, challenge your thought process, make you justify
your actions or even ask a rudimentary question like, “Is this a bad idea
that people are likely to hate?,” you may as well just hang a “kick me” sign
on your back. It’s the president’s decision to insulate himself from the
real world that effectively has forced him to have to say, “Thank you sir,
may I have another?” repeatedly when he’s getting passed around the White
House press room like a hacky-sack ball.
Unfortunately, the list of politicians who have a proclivity for surrounding
themselves with people who do little more than tell them what they want to
hear isn’t limited to Republicans. California’s most recent former governor
had a reputation for hating bad news and being risk averse to the point of
putting on sun-tan lotion in a blizzard. Inspiring a single-minded paranoid
approach to policy making isn’t the same thing as inspiring loyalty, a trait
I was much more interested in investing in.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m glad we have partisan hacks. But at some point
you need people who can sheath their swords long enough to actually govern.
Do you think Ronald Reagan ever would have beaten me in 1970 to win his
second term, much less been elected to two terms as president, if he’d
surrounded himself solely with the kind of Republican syncopates you see
today? Of course not. Why? Because he understood what your current governor
understands–and what every Republican partisan hack conveniently
ignores–which is that gerrymander or not, California is basically a
Democratic state. Democrats outnumber Republicans 43 percent to 34 percent
and of the 18 percent of the electorate who are registered as DTSers tend to
vote the Democratic ticket more often than not. That’s good for me, but not
so good for you.
As a life-long Democrat, please be my guest and ignore 61 percent of
California’s registered voters, institute a “blind party loyalty” test in
the horseshoe and eyeball everyone’s voter-registration card at the door.
Then, please turn out the lights and try not to let the door hit you in ass
on your way out on November 9.