Thursday, December 23, 2010

Political Entitlement

As a self-described "Milwaukee Socialist" in the tradition of Victor Berger, Dan Hoan, and Frank Zeidler, I believe in good government, administrative frugality, and investment in the public good as a way of elevating the quality of life in the community. Part of this philosophy includes fair and open access to the means of enacting these policies (that is, the electoral process). What I noticed in this past fall's federal and state elections, as well as in the run-up to local elections this spring, is a disturbing increase in the notion of political entitlement amongst candidates. This concept, which I define as the belief by a person that, due to one or more factors, he/she is entitled to an easier path to gaining political office, has begun to spoil the political process in this country because it limits the number of competitive primaries (and therefore the range of opinions and options available to voters) by forcing out good prospective candidates as a result of this "entitlement". Following are a number of examples from this past fall, along with a few from the current crop of announced and prospective candidates for local positions, of this.

1) Biding one's time and being a good solider by standing down in a past election does not entitle one to their party's imprimatur the next time around.

2) The ability to blank-check a campaign does not entitle one to late entry to a race and then a free pass to the general election.

3) A wealth of experience in multiple positions in local, state, and federal government does not entitle one to bypassing a primary challenge by way of the involvement of one's state and federal parties.

4) Being hand-selected by a long-time politician and leader as their successor does not entitle one to a clear path to the general election.

5) Serving a community for over two decades in local government and being closely associated with a member of state government does not entitle one to "inherit" the seat of a long-time advocate for the downtrodden without a serious challenge.

6) Losing a past election for a position in local government does not entitle one to not have to fight for the position the next time around.

7) Being the child and grandchild of past and present local and state officials does not entitle one to be gifted a position in government because the present officeholder won election to a higher office.

8) Holding a leadership position in the legislative branch of government does not entitle one to a promotion to the executive branch.

I'd be interested in seeing if any of you can ascertain who is being referenced in these examples.


  1. Welcome; I look forward to reading more!

  2. Thanks for the comment. I hope you continue to read as your campaign for the 14th moves along.

  3. have a blog now! Congratulations!

  4. Thanks, Zach. Thought it was time to put my political musings on paper.