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HomeUS PoliticsDi Leo: One Seat in a Hundred - the Alabama Special Election

Di Leo: One Seat in a Hundred – the Alabama Special Election


US Senate chamber
By John F. Di Leo –

Those of us who have been watching politics all our lives have noticed a progression in the way candidates are presented to us, in radio commercials, television commercials, brochures and newspaper articles.  We see less and less focus on policies, and more and more pictures and videos of the candidates at parties, at cookouts, at picnics and conventions, often distance shots showing them smiling and laughing and hugging lots of people…  to show that they're just the greatest guys in the world… so if we're looking for someone to hang out with… "This is your guy!"

But there's a problem:  99% of us will never go to dinner with our congressmen or senators, hang out with them at the bars, play golf or bridge with them, or spend our holidays or fishing trips with their families. At least 99% of us will never meet them in person at all.

In short, we really DON'T have to like them. 

 We don't have to like them AT ALL.

Even if we detested them, it would be harmless, because unless we're their next door neighbors or members of their country clubs, almost none of us will ever run into them in person.
Campaigns – through their political consultants and advertising agents – do their best to deny this reality, and act like their likeability is their strong point, the most important thing…
The subtext of every advertisement is this ongoing effort to convince us all that "our guy is a pal and his opponent is a jerk, so you need to vote against the jerk and support our guy!"
But it's all Madison Avenue fluff.
In fact, the premise is hogwash.
With a legislator, whether at the state capitol level or the U.S. capitol, the primary issue is whether his voting record will match how you would vote on the same bill or not, if it were up to you.
That senator or representative is in office to vote Yes or No on hundreds of bills every year. That's what matters: his position on the issues.
Now, if you have a choice between two or three people who all agree on all the issues, then that's another matter…  then you can certainly get into the less important stuff, like their looks, their behavior in person, their families, their hobbies. But only then.  And such a scenario sure doesn't happen much.
The news of the day is a nationwide microscope studying the December 12 special election in Alabama. 
In Alabama's U.S. Senate election – and frankly, in any legislative race – here's what matters:  Of the two candidates, Roy Moore and Doug Jones in this case, which one will vote in the US Senate the way that I would?
Well, for those who haven't noticed, because the media focus on 40-year-old dating habits has successfully driven actual talk of issues off the news, these two men disagree on everything.
Yes, virtually everything.
Roy Moore supports the Founding Fathers' philosophy of limited government, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the values of Western Civilization and the Judeo-Christian religious tradition.
Doug Jones does not; he supports the modern Democratic Party's obsessions with setting criminals free, opening the borders, raising taxes, increasing bureaucratic micromanagement of our businesses and our lives, empowering our enemies and weakening our defenses.
How one or both of them might have behaved 40 years ago – as if it could even be determined at this late date – is irrelevant to the Alabama voter.   Sure, it should affect your decision if he invites you to lunch or a poker night or a round of golf… but it has no bearing on your vote whatsoever.
In fact, to intentionally vote for a legislator with whom you disagree on everything, just because you're concerned that the person you agree with might have been a rake as a young man, forty years ago, would be a perfect illustration of the old cliché, "cutting off your nose to spite your face."
On December 12, the Alabama voter has one question to answer, and only one:
Which of these two men will vote on legislation and appointments the way I want him to?
It's a legislative race. That's all that matters.
Everything else is just a distraction.
Copyright 2017 John F. Di Leo
John F. Di Leo is a Chicagoland-based trade compliance trainer, transportation manager, writer and actor. His columns are regularly found in Illinois Review.
Permission is hereby granted to forward freely, provided it is uncut and the IR URL and byline are included.


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  1. Number 2 on Frankenstein today, this time while he was a Senator! Air from Democrats. McConnell says there needs to be an ethics committee, which is pretty much saying it’ll be swept under the rug. Franken isn’t up next year and the governor is a Democrat. But, air from Democrats. The voters down there should realize that there is a different standard, for Democrats. Don’t give them one more.