By Scott Factor
U.S. Congresswoman Ginny Brown-Waite, representing the 5th Congressional district of Florida, recently announced that she will retire and not seek re-election. She cited health concerns as the reason for this decision. The Congresswoman has, in my opinion, done an outstanding job representing the people of her district, as evidenced by the fact that although she was challenged many times, she was never unseated. I wish her all the best and hope that she can find the strength to recover her health.
The interesting part of this story is that she waited until the day of the deadline for candidate eligibility- filing for this office to announce her decision. Along with her retirement, she announced that she will support Hernando County Sheriff Richard Nugent to run for the 5th Congressional seat. This seems to have ruffled more than a few feathers.
One complaint was that this seat belongs to the people and not to Ms. Waite, so she has no right to give it away to a self-selected successor. I am still struggling to understand how she is “giving away” this seat to a successor. Ultimately, the voters will decide who will hold this seat. Congresswoman Waite can’t “give it away” to anybody without the permission of the voters. While the vocal activists complain about typical Washington insider politics, they themselves would like to “give away’ the seat — just to one of their own choosing. Hence lies the real source of anger. The hypocrisy!
My other favorite claim is that hand-picking a successor denies democracy because the voters won’t have a choice of candidates. This wrongfully assumes that no other candidates exist. First, there is another conservative Republican candidate in the race, whose name is Jason Sager. There is also a Democrat candidate. There is also something called a Constitution that allows anybody to step up and qualify to run for the office at any time before the cut-off date. If “your” candidate didn’t step up, I guess “your” candidate made a mistake. While the voters may not have much of a choice this election, they will have to choose from those that took the initiative to step up and run. Show me in the Constitution where “hand picking” is mentioned. …show me that other candidates are guaranteed not to win…..show me why the voters would be guaranteed to pick any of the people that the anti-hand picking people would put forth. Bottom line is, you can’t. This argument is invalid.
However, the most comical highlight of all of this are the people who believe that Ms. Waite hand-picked someone to run so that other current career politicians would not have a chance at the seat. Some of the names that were mentioned are of people that don’t even live in the district. Someone help me understand how someone who doesn’t live in a district, who doesn’t understand the rural lifestyle of some of the district, and has never even visited the people in the district, can represent those people that live there?
Congresswoman Waite’s hand-picked recommendation for the seat might be a blessing to us all. There are certainly more than a few career politicians who would have run for the seat. Some of these politicians espouse conservative values but are actually supporters of liberal Governor Crist. Some of these career politicians live less than pure lifestyles while pretending to represent conservative values. Do you want these people to use their political fundraising ability to fill that seat instead of a demonstrated family man with law enforcement experience?
Finally, it’s not taboo, as some suggest, for a person of the same party to run against an incumbent in a primary election. It’s not taboo to question the Congressional record of a sitting politician in a primary race. It’s not taboo to work for change within your own party. American government functions as a democracy, and opportunity is there for anyone who wants to represent the voters.
Unfortunately for the whiners and complainers, their candidate never stepped up. You can’t blame Ginny Brown-Waitefor that.
A Floridian, Scott Factor is a graduate of Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla. and earned his M.B.A. at St. Leo University. He writes conservative rants focusing on the national political landscape. E-mail him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.