Mike Kueber's Blog

February 19, 2013

Desperately seeking office

Filed under: Issues,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 2:22 am
Tags: ,

After learning that I was running for the San Antonio City Council, my brother Kelly sent me a message on Facebook asking about my competition.  I told him there were two young guys running who seemed “desperate to earn this volunteer position. They are spending loads of money and have been campaigning for many months.”  Kelly responded, “Sounds like you need to get desperate if you want the job.”  I countered, “My experience is that desperate doesn’t work, either when trying to win a girl or when trying to win a job.”

Since then I’ve reflected on that exchange.  Was I engaged in wishful thinking or can a person seek elective office without doing the unpleasant things that most candidates feel compelled to do, such as asking fat cats to give money or intruding on voters privacy by knocking on their doors or calling their phones?

It hasn’t always been this way.  I just finished watching the John Adams miniseries, and Adams commented on how it was considered inappropriate for a candidate to directly ask electors for their votes. 

And it isn’t even always done that way today.  Just last week, an article in the NY Times discussed the Pope’s election and suggested, “There is no formal nominating process for choosing the man to succeed Pope Benedict XVI, and campaigning for oneself is counterproductive.”

But I still remember the Tip O’Neill story about asking his life-long next-door neighbor if she voted for him, and she said no.  A shocked Tip asked her why and she responded, “You never asked.”

When I was soliciting signatures for my City Council petition, a friend told me that she had voted for Jeff Wentworth for state senator a few years ago for one reason – he had knocked on her door.  That sort of behavior is what causes candidates to do a lot of shallow, unpleasant campaigning.  I am hopeful that it will be less important in a City Council race because the few voters will more likely be civic-minded and less likely what Rush Limbaugh calls the low-information voters.

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