Hey Big Daddy,
I’m a Democrat, sort of, and I work for a Republican in the Legislature.
When I first got hired last year, my political preference was no big
deal–they liked my work and I’ve never been that interested in politics,
anyway. I took a job in the Legislature because it was a good gig, but not
for any political reasons. But now the fact that I’m a Democrat is causing
tension in the office, and I can tell that some of my colleagues are getting
tight-lipped around me. My girlfriend (a Republican) thinks I ought to
change parties, and I’m leaning toward changing employers. So weigh in, Big
Daddy: What should I do?
– Dithering in Davis
There was a time, back in the old pre-term limit, pre-instant media,
pre-campaign finance reform days when none of this would have mattered; when
a man’s party registration ranked a distant fourth behind his ability to
play poker, hold his liquor, and sweep a lady (regardless of party
affiliation) off of her flats. These days, “trust” has become a four-letter
word and the concept of taking a man at his word has been replaced with a
requirement to take “loyalty test” and swear allegiance to a party platform
written by people who haven’t been in touch with the real world since 1874.
Unless you’re wearing Birkenstocks to the Capitol and covering your office
with pictures of Jerry Brown, Rose Bird and Cindy Sheehan, your Republican
boss should feel lucky to have you. California has a Governor who has a
Democrat for a chief of staff and is himself trying to look more and more
like Pat Brown every day (busted lip notwithstanding). So why shouldn’t a
back-bench Republican be able to employ a Democrat for a legislative aide?
As for what you should do, keeping your job, filling your closet with (those
dress shirts with the white collar and blue body – what are they called?)
shirts, changing your party registration, moving to Roseville, leasing the
Volvo SUV, and ordering 2.3 kids is always an option. However, just as Big
Daddy – even at the height and width of his popularity in the 1960s – could
never pass for Twiggy, you can’t pass for a Republican if you don’t believe
the blood oath you’re required to take.
If your colleagues keep putting pictures of Bob Ney on your computer screen
in an effort to drive you out of the office, perhaps it’s time to take the
hint and float that resume about the Capitol. Big Daddy has it on good
authority that a certain Central Valley lawmaker always seems to have a
half-dozen openings in her office, so you certainly have options.