A Walking Contradiction
Politicians are not who we think they are
In a recent discussion about a state legislator, a comment was made that they are a “walking contradiction”.
This comment made me reflect on the legislators I’ve known over my past 8 years in the Mississippi House of Representatives. I’ve grown to see many of these men and women as dishonest people who refuse to stand up and fight for the principles and values of our Republican party.
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When asked to describe an ordinary legislator, I often say they are incompetent, immoral and self-centered. My impression of many of them is not very flattering or positive, and certainly many are indeed walking contradictions.
But it’s made me think about how these same legislators are seen by others, and even how they see themselves.
The legislator that the comment was made about sees himself, as many of them do, as a conservative fighter for the people of Mississippi. But as I’ve watched their actions and especially their voting record, they very often vote opposite the Republican party platform.
One example was House Bill 401, often referred to as the “Tesla Bill”. This bill was clearly in opposition to the Republican principle of open and free-markets. But the bill sponsor went on state-wide radio championing the bill, saying the government must provide protection for this industry. Another example was House Bill 603 that spent hundreds of millions on “member projects” that can only be characterized as pork spending, only two legislators voted against this pork bill in the entire legislature, myself and Joel Bomgar.
These legislators say one thing and do another, but somehow believe they are upholding the principles and values on which they campaigned under the banner of Republicans.
So what are they? Why the contradictions? Are they a freedom fighter? A self-serving, incompetent politician? Or is it something else?
I’ve come to the conclusion that some are just dishonest people and simply say whatever it takes to get elected, always intending to do whatever serves themselves. Others are simply incompetent and don’t have the ability to discern if a bill upholds or violates their principles. And yet another group rationalizes their behavior.
This last group is where many fall. You will hear statements made like, “You have to play the game.” or “I have to get along with everyone”, or “my single vote can’t stop this bill, so why make leadership upset”. I’ve heard statements like, “I know this is wrong but everyone else is getting money for projects back home, so I might as well get some too.”
All of these are rationalizations to excuse themselves from standing up for the principles and values on which they campaigned. If you hear any of these statements made by your elected representative, you can bet they are not voting and upholding the principles on which you elected them to uphold.
Examining their voting record is one way to objectively measure if a politician is in contradiction to the principles you asked them to uphold.
As a conservative, I look for bills that affect the size of government, taxes, and how much control government is given over our lives. I also consider adherence to the values laid out in our constitution. If a legislator campaigns on reducing the size of government, but continually votes on bills that increase spending year over year, then I know they are not doing what I elected them to do.
Several conservative organizations track votes of legislators and compare their record to basic conservative principles. The American Conservative Union is one of the best I’ve found.
If a politician runs on a platform of reducing taxes but continually votes on bills that raise taxes for parks, tourism, or museums, then they are voting in contradiction to what they claim to be.
If they campaign against “corporate welfare” but vote to give tax breaks to large corporations that are not available to local mom and pop shops, then they are legislating in contradiction to their campaign promises.
Citizens must pay attention and hold their representatives in government accountable. Don’t accept excuses. Don’t let them campaign on one set of principles but govern on a different principle.
One last bit of advice. It is often difficult to hold a friend accountable. Never consider a politician a friend. Keep them at a distance, they work for you and you must be ready to fire them at any moment.
Help elect politicians who are not walking contradictions.
The Conservative Candidate Fund was created to support conservative Republicans who have proven they will uphold our principles and values.
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