Why would anybody want to run for political office? It’s expensive, it’s time-consuming, it’s tiring and you have to kiss a lot of babies. Babies have a tendency to drool when you try to kiss them.
I confess that I ran sort of half-heartedly for office one time. I wasn’t happy with the way the county was taking care of the roads out our way, so I ran for county district commissioner with a campaign promise to keep the motor grader busy and spread more gravel. But I didn’t spend much money; I didn’t spend a lot of time making speeches, and I didn’t kiss any babies. I also didn’t win. In fact, I got fewer votes than I had voting-age relatives in the county. For awhile there after my pitiful showing in the polls, I considered packing a gun. Anybody with no more friends than that might need some protection.
I’m just as happy that I didn’t get elected. If I had, I might have had a good chance to become wealthy. A lot of politicians seem to get rich, although county commissioners usually aren’t among them. I would have had to show up at the office every day and probably wear a tie. People would write mean things about me in letters to the editor and if one of my relatives ever got busted for snorting stuff up his nose, I’d have had to stop claiming him or risk losing the next election. So I’m probably better off that my one political outing was a flop.
Does it seem to you that political campaigns have gotten nastier the past few election cycles? Especially by those politicians who are running for national office. Candidates and the political action committees that support them have discovered negative advertising. Instead of telling us why we should vote for the candidate, he accuses his opponent for not trimming his toenails, having bad breath and not being able to carry the tune to the Star Spangled Banner. His opponent fires back with the same kind of commercials. “Do we really want a man like Sid Snydman representing us in Washington? He fudges on his income tax returns, pays rent on an apartment for a girl of dubious reputation and roots for the Chicago Cubs.”
After a few weeks or months of negative commercial after negative commercial, a voter might get the idea that all political candidates are crooked lamebrains who shouldn’t be trusted with the keys to the chicken house, let alone high office.
I once had a neighbor who ran for the state assembly. He lost, too.
“It was the worst time I ever had,” he said of his campaign for state office. “Every time I lied, they caught me. And every time I told the truth, nobody would believe me.”
I don’t know why anybody would put themselves through all that. On the other hand, most politicians are already lawyers.