Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Should our Congressman be a "Regular Guy?"

I'm seeing a trend in a recent spate of comments here at the blog. "Roberts seems like a good person but he comes across as a policy wonk and not a regular guy who "gets" the district," reads one comment. Another comment elsewhere describes Leon Koziol as "the one Democrat that can truly 'connect with citizens'", and a third comment describes Cortland mayor of possible Democratic candidate as "a true everyman".

Although the Democratic candidates for Congress this year are named Jeff, Les, Mike, Bruce, Leon and Brian, there seems to be a request that many of them share: Just call me Joe.

Well, I'm not buying it. Regardless of who is running for Congress, we can be sure that the candidate is not a regular guy. It takes an awful lot of skill and dedication to run for Congress, not to mention resources. Regular guys don't run for Congress.

Furthermore, I don't think we ought to have a regular guy representing us in the House of Representatives. There's a grave responsibility to serving in Congress that requires abilities that are well above the norm.

When it comes down to it, I have a strong distrust for politicians who pretend to be regular guys. It's a condescending act that shows disrespect for the voters. As we consider which Democrat should take on Sherwood Boehlert this November, let's remember that George W. Bush's campaign style includes the act of putting on regular guy affectations, like his fake Texas drawl (he was born and raised almost exclusively in Connecticut and went to elite private schools).

Let's look at substance, not which candidate has the most grease stains on his jeans, and wears the most convincing flannel shirt. Above all else, let's watch how well the different Democratic candidates are able to organize their campaigns. Somebody will have to take on an incumbent member of Congress, after all, and that's no easy game.

So far, some of these regular guy candidates in the 24th District are showing a distinct inability to get their acts together and actually communicate with the Democrats they want to represent. In a district that stretches from the center of the Adirondacks through to the core of the Finger Lakes region, a whole-district effectiveness is what will win the general election - not a few good old boy connections in one particular area.

I will note, as I have noted before, that only one of the Democratic candidates has actually taken the time to even construct a campaign web site to communicate across the vast distances of the 24th District: Les Roberts. As a result, the other Democrats are allowing bloggers like me to define their online presence.

It is beyond understanding to me that anyone who believes that he is capable of running for Congress would not be thinking about communicating to voters online at this stage in the game. If they are checking online, they should find this blog, and be concerned about what they are reading here - because I make it a matter of principle to goad Democratic politicians who are not working hard enough on their campaigns. If these Democrats are not checking online to see what kind of publicity their prenatal campaigns are getting, well then, they're not prepared to run for Congress... matter how regular they are.


Anonymous said...

If this is a Les Roberts for Congress Blog, be honest. And if you think somebody like Roberts who wants to talk about Rwanda and international health but doesn't seem to have a clue about the bread and butter issues here in the district can win, you are dreaming.

24 Independent said...

Nope, this is not a Les Roberts for Congress blog. It's a totally independent, grassroots blog that supports getting a good Democrat to beat Sherwood Boehlert.

My name is Jonathan Cook, I live in Trumansburg in the District, and I don't work for anybody but myself. Go and check it out if you like. What I write here is my own. Completely.

So far, Les Roberts is the only candidate to really work at campaigning, and do anything more than toss a television ad here and there that doesn't really talk about the issues. Look online. No other candidate has any presence online at all.

So yes, I talk about Les Roberts. Yes, I complain about how the rest of the candidates are failing completely to adequately reach out to voters across the district. I call it as I see it.

When the other Democratic candidates get off their butts and start their campaigns, I'll give them coverage with whatever material they can give.

I've called up some of the other candidates to beg them for information. That's not how it should work. Get the picture?

You may not like that Les Roberts has the experience and ability to talk about international issues that are relevant to the work a member of Congress does, but the fact is that he is the only Democratic candidate that is talking AT ALL.

From the rest, silence.