Maybe I oughta run for congress....


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Texpatriate
August 8, 2008, 06:39 PM
I was infuriated on Tuesday when I went to vote in the state primary here in Missouri to find that absolutely nobody was running in the Republican primary for Missouri congressional district 1, which means that our not so beloved congresscritter William Lacy Clay will run unopposed in the general election:cuss:. I believe that Clay has an F- rating from Gun Owners of America if I remember correctly.

So I started thinking, "well heck, if nobody else has the guts to run against this joker, maybe I ought to?"

I am by nature fascinated by government and politics, though it is often a love-hate relationship for me. I was a poli-sci major for two years in college, until I got fed up with my professors and switched majors. I've never run for any kind of office in my life (I've even declined opportunities to run for student government positions after being nominated). Anybody know what would be involved in investigating a run for congress in two years? How do I get pro-2A organizations to support me if I decided to run?

My political philosophy is quite similar to Ron Paul's in many respects and I consider myself a "small l" libertarian-leaning conservative. I value freedom over increased regulation in so far as individuals' freedoms are not causing harm or imposing upon the freedom and well being of others. I also admire the guts and legislative efforts of Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, and of Congressman Eric Cantor of Virginia. I am disgusted by the increasing nanny state mentality of those on both sides of the isle in congress, and Congressman Clay is no exception.

I am a 32 year old seminary student with a wife and two kids. Obviously my current training is preparing me for vocational Christian ministry, but this has got me worked up enough to reconsider that calling for a call to public service.

Any suggestions on a course of action?

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Thernlund
August 8, 2008, 06:45 PM
Do it. Get on the ballot and run. Worst case, it'd be an interesting experience, especially if you won.

Average case, you make a difference, which is good.

Best case, you go on to a glorious career in politics and make a huge difference.

(I know. I'm not helping. Just trying to encourage though.)


-T.

DJW
August 8, 2008, 06:50 PM
Go for it! If you win you will get a pension of about $13,000.00 per MONTH for life....even after ONE TERM.

Thernlund
August 8, 2008, 06:54 PM
You might need this if you win...

http://www.dummies.com/WileyCDA/DummiesTitle/Congress-For-Dummies.productCd-0764554212.html

I know I would. ;)


-T.

Double Naught Spy
August 9, 2008, 07:10 AM
I was infuriated on Tuesday when I went to vote in the state primary here in Missouri to find that absolutely nobody was running in the Republican primary for Missouri congressional district 1,

It is always scary when seminary students get infuriated, LOL!

Any suggestions on a course of action?

First of all, raise your political awareness several notches. If it took you going to the primary before discovering the lack of a Republican candidate, then you obviously are not up on the issues in regard to the election or your political party. You are way out of the loop.

How can you be a good Congressman if you don't have a clue as to what is going on around you in the political universe?

onebigelf
August 9, 2008, 09:09 AM
Do it. Go to your local Republican Executive Committee and tell them you want to run. They'll help, it's what they are there for. Congress' approval ratings are below 10% right now. Being an incumbent is a liability, not an advantage. Run on the true Goldwater Republican platform and I'm sure we'd all support you, even in a Missouri race. One of the things I think we are all learning is that it's important to support Congressmen that share our views regardless of their state or district.

As Barry Goldwater wrote in The Conscience of a Conservative:

I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed in their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is ‘needed’ before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents’ interests, I shall reply that I was informed their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can.

That's all you really need to know about "Goldwater Republican Conservatism".

John

ilbob
August 9, 2008, 10:44 AM
A lot of times there are tacit agreements between the parties that certain races will be left uncontested. This is for the convenience of both parties to save money. Its not likely you will get any real support out of the local republican party if they did not select you. They will probably just let you die on vine.

It takes a lot more than just getting on the ballot to run any campaign. It takes money, and you probably don't have it personally so would have to raise it. Its also possible that at this point, you might even have to run as a write in candidate, something that is very difficult to pull off.

I encourage your interest in politics but suggest next time you run in the primary with the support of the local party. It probably won't improve your odds any, but it gives you a slight chance.

IMO, you are far better off to run for some local office to get a taste of politics, rather than jumping into the deep end completely unprepared like this. There are often local elections that only have one candidate as well, and you have a much better chance there with the limited resources you may have.

I don't want to say never without you looking at the situation closer, but politics is not a one man game. It requires a team, and often that team expects to be paid. One yard sign is cheap, but thousands of them are not.

I would urge you to call the local republican HQ and ask them about it. You never know. Please let us know what you find out.

Yo Mama
August 9, 2008, 11:15 AM
Don't make it difficult, on yourself or other voters. Grassroots campaigns are designed for those with little money. In addition, who said you must run under the Republicans. There are a few other choices, including Libertarian.

Keep your message simple, you're pro gun, and here is what that means...ect.

ilbob
August 9, 2008, 11:58 AM
Don't make it difficult, on yourself or other voters. Grassroots campaigns are designed for those with little money. In addition, who said you must run under the Republicans. There are a few other choices, including Libertarian.Is there any evidence that a LP candidate has any chance at all of getting elected at this level? The LP has almost no political infrastructure. It seems to me that doing a write in campaign as a LP member is going to be even harder than as a republican.

I have a soft spot in my heart for most of the LP beliefs (other than their inexplicably bizarre open borders stance), but I would be deluding myself to believe that is enough to make for a campaign with even a remote chance of winning. If you are going to do this, make a run that has a chance of winning.

Yo Mama
August 9, 2008, 12:09 PM
I believe that a short answer would be not much hope for wide acceptance of a small party such as Green or Libertarian. However, it only takes a few to get into office, and Independents have started to enjoy some of this hard fought success. Joe Liberman is one example.

ilbob
August 9, 2008, 12:20 PM
I believe that a short answer would be not much hope for wide acceptance of a small party such as Green or Libertarian. However, it only takes a few to get into office, and Independents have started to enjoy some of this hard fought success. Joe Liberman is one example.He is no more of an independent than Jumping Jim Jefforts. You cannot compare the chances of a guy like Lieberman who is well known, knows the political ropes very well, and has won dozens of elections to someone who is completely unknown and has no clue what he is getting into.

That being said, I do not want to discourage him from at least looking into running. Thats a lot more than most of us are willing to do.

GunTech
August 9, 2008, 01:07 PM
Go for it. I am running for state house as a total newcomer. At least running for a major party there is a change of monetary and other support. Just make sure it isn't too late to register to run.

wheelgunslinger
August 9, 2008, 01:41 PM
I am of the opinion that you should go for it.

There's something very cool about an average guy running and being elected to represent his community.

guntotinguy
August 9, 2008, 08:34 PM
Absolutely... DO IT!!!Hope you win too!

ilbob
August 9, 2008, 08:42 PM
Its best if you can get party support, even if they don't give you a whole lot, just to make sure the I's get dotted and the T's get crossed.

LAR-15
August 9, 2008, 10:57 PM
No reason a gun hater should run uncontested.

Heck run as Democrat against him in the primary.

Attack him on gun rights.

Force him to explain why he will not support folks rights to bear arms.

VPLthrneck
August 10, 2008, 04:30 PM
How can you be a good Congressman if you don't have a clue as to what is going on around you in the political universe?

I'd say that 400 of the 435 cuurrent Congressmen already fit that description.

Go for it! File the paperwork, contact your state GOP. DONOT go with a smaller party (Libertarian, Independant, etc.). In these political offices the bigger parties have the foundation to get everything up and running for campaigns (plus the financial backing).

Study Goldwater and Reagan. You (like most of us) probably have values that are closer to these two geat men than any other poll-itician serving today. And since you are a seminary student, you should have the communication skills already. That is a big part of campaigning, being able to get your message out effectively.

Good luck out there.

orionengnr
August 10, 2008, 04:58 PM
I heard this on the radio yesterday:

"The good news: Since we have figured out the DNA code, we can build a politician that does not lie!"

The bad news: He will never get elected..."

Of course, that's just the pessimist's view. Go for it, and good luck.

IMHO, we need a whole lot less incumbents and a whole lot less incestuous lobbyist/politician relationships. In the mean time, maybe you can use this to advantage:
www.blowoutcongress.com

230RN
August 14, 2008, 12:56 AM
Looking back over 68 years, I regret most the things I did not try.

However, this goes for your seminary studies as well.

I would stick with the religious studies, but in the meantime, do some volunteering at your local party HQ and kind of get your feet wet. When you get your degree, ordination, whatever, you may well find a pastorship (or whatever) position elsewhere, where you can ripen your people-experience in general, and hone your oratorial skills.

However, I do not know if,when you get a post, political activity will be discouraged by your church --which is another variable to be considered.

Bubbles
August 14, 2008, 10:01 AM
If the primary has already passed then it's probably too late to file for this year. Typically those deadlines are in the Feb-Mar timeframe.

If you're serious about running, join the local/county GOP and get to know the local issues. Volunteer to work for someone who is running for office so you know how to do it. Learn who is the real "local political power" (business owners, church leaders, etc) and schmooze them up. You'll need to learn who you can trust, who to keep at arm's length, and the local alliances.

Also, the Leadership Institute offers courses in how to run, craft your messages, make speeches effectively, appear on tv effectively, how to manage a campaign, how to finance and fundraise a campaign, etc. Make sure you pick a good treasurer - someone who adheres to filing deadlines, and who knows how to keep your a$$ out of trouble as typically the FEC has no sense of humor with respect to campaign finance issues.

Does your county have local commissions with appointees? Are there any vacancies? Offer to sit on one. It won't necessarily be gun-related, but it will get your name out there with some exposure with the public at no cost to you.

When the time comes for you to campaign, are you willing and able to quit your job and do nothing for the eight months prior to the election except campaign? Because that will be your job. There simply aren't enough hours in the day to run for Congress and work a full-time job simultaneously.

Do you have any skeletons in your closet? Same for your wife, siblings, parents, in-laws, etc. The opposition will dig deep into your background looking for dirt. If there is anything in your past you don't want aired in public, don't run.

FWIW I was active locally for over 10 years and still don't consider myself experienced enough to run. Those who jumped in last-minute with no experience typically run lackluster campaigns. I also believe this is why the Libertarian candidates continually fail; it's not because of their message, but their lack of experience working in the local government so that people can get to know them and learn they're not kooks.

ilbob
August 14, 2008, 12:43 PM
Does your county have local commissions with appointees? Are there any vacancies? Offer to sit on one. It won't necessarily be gun-related, but it will get your name out there with some exposure with the public at no cost to you.

When the time comes for you to campaign, are you willing and able to quit your job and do nothing for the eight months prior to the election except campaign? Because that will be your job. There simply aren't enough hours in the day to run for Congress and work a full-time job simultaneously.

Do you have any skeletons in your closet? Same for your wife, siblings, parents, in-laws, etc. The opposition will dig deep into your background looking for dirt. If there is anything in your past you don't want aired in public, don't run.All very good thoughts to keep in mind. I would add that the "skeleton in the closet" issue might come back to haunt you for things you don't even know about, or think are well hidden. We had a very well qualified and competitive US senate candidate on the republican side here in Illinois who fell victim to this. Turned out his ex-wife claimed in a sealed divorce proceeding that he wanted her to perform some kind of sex act on him in a night club. Want to guess who won the election with basically no opposition? I will give you a hint - he is one of two people who will be the next president of the USA. If it had not been for this skeleton, there is a good chance BHO would still be a nobody in Illinois politics.

highlander 5
August 14, 2008, 01:04 PM
To run for office just paint a great big bullseye on yourself and let the media and your opponent take pot shots at you..

bogie
August 15, 2008, 12:54 AM
Musta been about 8-10 years ago... Ran into William Lacey Clay at the Esquire Schnuck's...

I really cannot say just exactly how I felt about that meeting among polite company. And I felt like I required a lysol shower afterward.

Let us suffice to say that the message presented was "we are superior, so respect our authoritay."

Quoheleth
August 15, 2008, 01:05 AM
Texpatriot...which seminary are you attending in STL? Eden? Concordia?

I graduated with my MDiv from Concordia in 2000; was in STL for 96-98, interned ("vicared") down in the Bootheel, and then finished my 4th year 99-2000.

Love the town...great frozen custard...good Vietnamese food down off of Shaw...

Now to the question...and mods - I'll be honest, this may be flirting with boundaries of religious discussion, but I hope you'll let it ride...

I would suggest that you need to make a decision whether you are being called to the ministry with politics as an avocation; or whether your vocation will be politics with an avocation of theology. The doctrine of vocation is one where the Lord works through you and you serve Him in either vein. (One is just a little cleaner than others :neener: On 2nd thought, I just spent 3 hours in a building committee meeting at church where politics is alive and well. Dad always said there are two things you never want to see being made: policy and sausage, and that's doubly so when either one is in a church.)

Don't get me wrong...it's not that it's a willy-nilly choice. But its one you have to make with the advise of family, friends, and perhaps professors/pastors. If you are at peace with a vocational decision, stick with it and make the other your avocation. Personally, I wouldn't trade my pastoral ministry for congress. However, I am becoming more involved in local & state politics. Contrary to what many groups tell clergy, there is room for clergy & the church in politics, just don't confuse Gospel with Government. Maybe down the road my avocation (politics) would become something else, but I am not planning on it.

Feel free to PM if you would like to converse...

Blessings on your deliberations,
Q

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