This post was prompted by an excellent essay in the Washington Post:
Stop treating voters like idiots. Thanks in advance
by Paul Wildman. Wildman explains:
[O]ur politics is no less dumb than it ever was. I’d like to take a look at one variant of that stupidity, which says that this vaguely defined thing called “Washington” is broken, and what we need are more elected representatives who will channel our rage at it.
In his essay, Wildman discusses senatorial ads by Rick Scott in Florida and Joe Manchin. He notes that both have the same message:
”I hate politicians just like you do!”
As I read Wildman, I couldn’t help thinking about West Virginia’s senatorial candidates. He writes:
Just to be clear, I’m not saying there isn’t plenty to criticize about Washington, or that there aren’t enormous improvements that could be made to the way the political system operates. There is and there are. But the people who shout the loudest about how “Washington” is the problem almost never offer anything resembling a useful idea for how to improve things. They dish out pablum like “We need more common sense” or “We need to bring [insert your state here] values to Washington,” either because they think that’s all voters need to hear or they simply don’t have any better ideas.
Yes, that describes them.
Republican Patrick Morrisey
Morrisey is probably West Virginia’s best example of what Wildman is discussing: he has no useful ideas and all he wants to do is “blow-up” Washington. In case you’ve missed it, here’s Morrisey’s tacky ad which his campaign continues to run:
I'm running for U.S. Senate not to just change Washington, but to blow it up and reinvent it.
From last month, here’s a link to one of Jenkins’ first ads and an NBC commentary which describes how he is playing the “outsider” role even though he is an “insider.” It's short but it's an excellent analysis. (Note -- no matter what I tried, this video would not embed for me.)
Voters in West Virginia are tired of politics as usual and they are tired of the DC establishment telling them who they can and can’t vote for. They want more jobs and a stronger economy. They want to end the drug abuse epedimic that is crippling our state. They want stronger immigration laws and they want to build the wall. Its time for the career politicians and establishment of Manchin/Jenkins/Morrisey to say good-bye so we can get West Virginia moving again.
Blankenship is an “outsider” even in the Republican Party. Here’s Blankenship echoing Trump as he responds to the ads that a Republican PAC recently started running against him:
The Republican Party swampers in Washington have come to the surface to oppose my candidacy for the U.S. Senate. They are swamp creatures who pretend to be conservatives but are instead liberal big spenders. We welcome the fact that they are showing themselves to be what they truly are.
Democrat Joe Manchin
Here’s the senator’s first ad and he appears to have adopted a “Washington sucks” theme:
As Waldman writes:
“This place sucks,” he reportedly told Democratic Senate leaders before reluctantly agreeing to run for another term. What’s he going to do about it? Not much, other than to keep saying it sucks.
Remembering Senator Byrd
Did he ever say that Washington sucked? Or that he wanted to blow it up? I doubt it. He studied it, learned everything there was to know about how it operates, and became its master. He was far from perfect, but I think he implicitly knew how to get things done and take care of the citizens of the state that had elected him.