Politics Magazine

05.30.14 How Your Blogger Choses Candidates to Love (and Hate)

Posted on the 30 May 2014 by Keith Berner @leftyview

Dear Readers, you may just be wondering what happens in the mind of your blogger, as he writes about candidates for public office. Some of you might be surprised that much is going in there at all. Anyway, I do indeed have some criteria for selecting good guys and bad guys in politics.

  1. Ideology and values. If you’re not a progressive, at least in a substantial part of your agenda, you cannot win my love. (I’m not going to define “progressive” here — most of you know pretty much what I mean.) On the county level, I go for environmentalists over developers. Thus do Doug Duncan, Nancy Floreen and 99.9% of Republicans lose my consideration. Oh yeah, those who run on tax-cuts for the wealthy (that’s you, Doug Gansler) also get no love from me. Chris Van Hollen — NSA lover — also no longer gets my vote.
  2. Relevant knowledge and competence. Does the candidate know anything about the issues at play, the other players, and the process? I’m sorry, you can’t just show up suddenly in Rockville or Annapolis and be a hero, without knowing anything. By the same token, you can’t declare yourself ready to run a state, when the largest previous operation you have ever run is a political campaign: sorry Heather Mizeur.
  3. Previous service to the community. Don’t show up here suddenly demanding glory if you haven’t paid some dues. I want to see a resume of engagement – a record of caring about this place and its people. This is where Hans Riemer (the Liar) lost me at the start of his quest for glory — he hadn’t even lived here long enough to know anyone’s name when he declared his first run for office. This remains a valid criticism of Will Jawando, who certainly has experience, but not serving our area.
  4. Diversity. I don’t think diverse communities should be served by a non-diverse set of elected officials.
  5. Tempered ambition. I get that nearly all politicians are ambitious. Heck, your blogger is ambitious in his day job. But I want to vote for people who intend to do the job they’re running for, rather than plotting their next advancement from Day 1 in office. Empty ambition, thy name is Heather Mizeur.
  6. Putting power in perspective. Power is necessary for the accomplishment of anything. Power ought never be the end in itself. Beware these cynics for whom power is the only thing. If your fundamental political views are malleable and subservient to your pursuit of power, you won’t get my support — sorry, Duchy Trachtenberg (more on this soon!). And Valerie Ervin is the poster child of a power-hungry pol.
  7. Ability to work with other elected officials. If you and those you’ll be serving with can’t get along, this is a black mark against you.
  8. Stopping the worst of two evils. Sometimes, I do the pragmatic thing and vote primarily out of disgust with the other guy (rather than love for mine). When I vote for Democrats at the federal level in general elections, this is usually what I’m up to. That’s what I’ve decided not to do in MoCo D5 this year (Hucker vs. Barclay).
  9. Character. If you behave with impunity (Doug Gansler), steal from the public (Chris Barclay), or treat people badly  (Tom Hucker), you have a hill to climb with me.
  10. Personal. If I know you personally and like you, it certainly helps drive my support for you. Great examples include Sheila Hixson, Jamie Raskin, Marc Elrich, and Terrill North. But they are not the only ones — in a year of depressing politics, I have met some really nice people who are running for office.

So, am I 100% consistent in applying these criteria? Yeah, right. As you have previously accustomed yourself to, Dear Reader, your blogger is flawed. But he takes comfort knowing that those who criticize inconsistency are hoboglined by little minds, or some such.

©2014 Keith Berner

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