Saturday, November 10, 2012

It's No Joke!

My trial balloon about a run for Congress is not a hoax.


KFAB host Scott Voorhees speculated on his show that my partnership pitch -- I'll run for Congress if the public buys 30,000 copies of my book -- was simply a ruse to sell books.

It's true that I'm using capitalism to position myself for a possible congressional campaign, but the promise is valid. If the public signifies there is support for my proposal to fight for a return to limited government under the Constitution, I will run.

The reelection of President Obama prompted me to turn a book project into something more serious.

A year ago I met with Congressman Lee Terry to clarify whether he was running for reelection in 2012. He had ruled it out, but the rumor mill was buzzing about supposed front runner Jon Bruning looking more vulnerable than first thought, and a path to victory being viable for Lee. Obviously the success of Deb Fischer confirmed that it was valid speculation.

I told Lee that I thought the Tea Party was not a passing fad but instead was a chance to get the country back on track, and I wanted to join that effort, but I wasn't looking for a congressional campaign because my wife and I were co-chairing the annual parish school fundraising banquet in March.

Running such an event is a part-time job for the better part of a year. It's not just the time and effort. It requires a lot of donor dollars and volunteer hours from a range of people. Injecting the politics of a congressional campaign into that process would have been, at best, problematic.

My school, Saint Cecilia's at 39th and Webster, is not on the east-of-72nd chopping block for Catholic schools, but we can't afford to be complacent. The demographics have been working against us for several decades. The school is a midtown anchor institution. The Cathedral area, Bemis Park, Joslyn Castle, Gifford Park, CUMC, UNMC -- these areas of midtown would be much different without a healthy St. Cecilia's. The fundraiser has to net six figures and I didn't want politics to hinder the prospect of success.

I was not looking for an overlapping congressional primary, but if Lee had said he was not running for reelection and was running for the Senate after all, I would have considered a run for an open seat.

Lee ran for reelection. I wrote a book. It's basically a collection of my opinions on how to get the country back on track fiscally.

I want somebody in Congress willing to fight the status quo. Doesn't have to be me. If Lee wants to adopt what I pitch in my book and fight to get the country back on track, mission accomplished.

But that hasn't been his approach. He is trumpeting the fact that he is in line to be chairman of a subcommittee of the House Energy & Commerce Committee. That's nice, but the country is going down the drain and I want more from the Nebraska 2nd District representative.

There's a representative who entered the House the same year Lee did, 1999. Maybe you've heard of him -- Paul Ryan from Wisconsin.

Mitt Romney picked Ryan for his vice presidential running mate in large part because Ryan shows courage and leadership on the fiscal issues that threaten the nation's future. Ryan is one of the few people in Washington, Republican or Democrat, willing to think it through and present an actual budget. He gets pummeled for it, by Republicans as well as Democrats, but he keeps coming back with more and will not back off because the future of the country is at stake.

That's what I'm talking about. After what happened November 6, I am worried that our country is sliding leftward on the political spectrum passed a point of no return. Ryan is trying is to stop the self-destructive lurch to the left and bring the country back in the right direction, but he can't do it alone. He needs help.

Every congressional district in the country that can produce a warrior for limited government must deliver. We can't afford to waste a single opportunity if we want to build a majority in Washington.

I'm already hearing that it's a fool's errand for a Tea Party Republican to run in a district where the Democrat won Douglas County. Maybe, but I'm going to focus on Romney winning Douglas County and the 2nd District and getting more votes than Terry in Douglas County and the 2nd District. That's evidence that Republicans are still strong enough to win if the right candidate is running. As the full Obama agenda kicks in, maybe more Democrats will drop off the bandwagon, though I thought it would happen this time.

I offer a plan for getting back on track fiscally. We'll see what the public thinks of it. One good thing about the book pitch is that if it goes nowhere, I have my answer.

I may be in for a rude awakening, but that's OK. I want to know the truth. If there's no market for what I'm selling, if the public thinks the status quo is fine, then there's no reason for me to run. My conscience will be clear and I won't worry about it.

Well, I will worry because I have children and fear for their future, but if there isn't public support for my message, there's no point in running for office on that message.

1 comment:

Jeff Quandt said...

Chip,

Interesting post. You have certainly laid out your position and there are many other people in the 2nd district that will agree with you.

I hope you sell your 30,000 books in time to see your name on the primary ballot.