Sunday, March 8, 2015

Why I Am Not Running for the Senate

Senator Mikulski
The announcement this week by Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski that she would not seek re-election in 2016 unleashed a flurry of political posturing by Democratic pols, sure that the seat in this reliably Democratic state would remain reliably Democratic.  As for the Republican Party in the State, Dan Bongino is expected to run, having lost a 2012 Senate run and a 2014 House run.  There is hope among Republicans for a statewide win, as Larry Hogan shocked the political world by capturing the Governor's race in 2014.

Four serious men reached out to me during the week to talk to me about running for election.  Not in a "hey, wouldn't it be cool if you...." manner, but in ways that showed that they had thought about the race and why I might be competitive in pursuing it.  That these men took the time to do so is humbling, and I am grateful that in their estimation I might be up to the job.  I kept each of them at arms length while I thought about it, and I reached my answer yesterday during a day-long think on the subject enabled by the distance from social media and computers afforded by the eSabbath.

I am not going to run for he Senate, and the simple reason is because I don't wish to be a Senator enough to justify participating in the process of becoming one.  Don't get me wrong---if one of our Senators were to die in office and the Governor asked me to fill in, I would do so, in a heartbeat.  But the actual process of campaigning for the office and all of the sacrifice that it would entail on a personal and professional level lead me to conclude that this is something someone else is going to have to do.  I realize that most of the people reading this blog are shaking their head wondering at the runaway ego behind even writing such a post, but I owe four serious men an answer and that is a good bit of the readership of this blog.    Here are a few more detailed reasons.

I do not burn with desire to be a Senator.  This was made obvious when I asked myself why I was even considering the question--and the answer was that Mikulski was retiring.  If I really had wanted to be a Senator, this would not have mattered.  I would already have been planning to mount a campaign and would have been far more concerned with who would run against me in the primary than who would run in the general from the other side.  Mikulski's decision allowed for the feeding of my vanity in bringing up the topic, but it really should not have played into the decision at all.

I am not a politician; I lack political skills.  Many neophytes win political races, but in almost all of those cases, these men and women possess obvious political skills.  I do not.  As brother Tom will tell you from having traveled with me, I am not a "people person".  On the Myers-Briggs assessment, I am an "ENTJ" (surprise, surprise), with each of the assessments I've done revealing strong N,T,J tendencies--but a just barely over the line measurement of "extroversion".  I crave solitude and gain a great deal of energy from being in the absence of other people.  I don't thrive on meeting new people, and in some circumstances, I shy away from it.  I just booked a four day trip to Jamaica for myself at the end of the month--the Kittens are going to Mexico for Spring Break while I have business, and their sojourn to warmer climes got me thinking I'd like to do so before winter breaks, to recharge a little.  I told the Kitten yesterday while talking about it that aside from the chit chat involved in navigating the necessities of travel and receiving required hotel services, I would probably not seek out anything resembling a real conversation with another human for that four days.  Does this sound like someone ready to run for the Senate?  Now--I imagine there are plenty of successful politicians who overcome similar tendencies and have great careers.  But then we get back to the question of burning desire.  If I had a burning desire to be a Senator, I might bite down hard and challenge myself to develop these skills.  But I don't.  So I won't.  The moment of truth in this regard was when I asked myself whether I'd be willing to take on all that running a campaign entailed if the Secretary of the Navy job were at the end of the process.  The answer to that was an unqualified yes, and the difference between that outcome and this question was stark.

The race itself.  Republicans won the Governor's race in the fall, and we've become liquored  up at the prospect of another statewide win.  I do believe the "right" Republican could win the race, and from a strictly ideological standpoint, my politics are compatible with that approach.  The Democrats believe this seat is a birthright, and they are lining up to step into it.  I predict a bruising Democratic primary, one that drives the ultimate winner far to the left of where even the left-of-center electorate of the State is.  Larry Hogan's win in November was a message to the Democratic Party in the State that voters had enough of the taxes and fees that piled up under Martin O'Malley.  A moderate Republican with a message of growth and enthusiasm about the future, who was libertarian on social issues and right of center on fiscal issues--this type of person could win by siphoning off enough independents and bi-curious Democrats.  But the D's will be more ready for this race, and structurally, it is theirs to lose.  The fact that it is a Presidential election year works significantly  against the Republican candidate.

I told the Kitten last night that I had reached this decision; she asked me if I were OK with it.  I said yes, and I meant it.  But in that moment, I had a flash of a vignette in my head, me standing in the midst of a black church in Baltimore, having a back and forth with people incredibly unlikely to vote for me, trying to explain how the Democratic Party and its policies had failed them and continues to fail them.  And I had a very sharp tinge of regret....

1 comment:

"The Hammer" said...

I, "The Hammer" could preach in a black church. YOU "The Commander" would come off as a mayonnaise sandwich on white. They'd run you ass off the PULL-pit.
I wouldn't worry about it. If Hillary recovers and O'Malley decides not to run, I'd say it's his if he wants it. It's just too damn liberal a State for a guy like you.

Newer Post Older Post Home