Monday, June 7, 2010

Scott Sipprelle in CD12 Shows Some Great Wisdom

I'm not a CD12 (district currently not represented by Holt) voter, but I follow the candidates anyhow since I live a block away from CD12. I had been drawn to the principles of David Corsi's campaign even though I have some reservations about Mr. Corsi himself based on some interviews and reviews that local friends who have chatted personally with him have passed along. But having read Scott Sipprelle's reply to Tommy D's "Conservatism Test", I have to say, he'd of won me over as a voter, and if my opinion means anything at all, then my opinion is that CD12 voters would be well served to vote for Scott tomorrow and in November. Scott's reply along with my reply is posted on Tommy's site as well as below:

Dear Tommy,
Since I will not be completing your questionnaire, I want to share some thoughts directly so that neither you nor your readers misconstrue my noncompliance. I am not trying to hide or obscure my beliefs and values and I certainly do not want to give the impression that I am detached or indifferent to the concerns of my potential constituents. Far from it. I have been abundantly descriptive of my plan to restore the economic fabric of America through a detailed blueprint for fiscal responsibility and political reform as described on my issues page at I have also been interviewed on these topics at length, in addition to providing a running commentary on topical issues via press releases. Make no mistake, I have chosen to run for Congress to tighten the connection between the values of America and the way America is governed.
Since I announced my candidacy, I have received dozens of questionnaires from all sorts of well-meaning organizations. While these surveys take different approaches and cover a wide range of topics, the ultimate aim of each is similar: to distill the answers to complex questions into short sound-bite responses. After some reflection on the matter, I have concluded that it would neither be in the voter's interest nor in my interest to participate in this form of democracy by questionnaire. Here is my logic:
1. These surveys encourage pandering and political expediency. Is there any evidence that the answers you receive from the candidates have any truthful connection to the candidate's actual values? Wouldn't it be more meaningful and instructive for you to research and analyze the way each candidate has lived their life, in fact as opposed to in theory?
2. These surveys level the playing field between candidates with entirely different sets of experience and qualifications. Would you choose between, say, candidate Theodore Roosevelt and candidate Spiro T. Agnew based on the check mark responses to a questionnaire? Where does the evaluation of competence come in?
3. These surveys oversimplify complex questions into sound bite answers. Other than perhaps arming opponents with ammunition to use in attack ads for a general election campaign, it would not appear that these types of surveys enhance any candidate's ability to provide persuasive and thoughtful responses to address the nation's most pressing problems (which by their nature are complex).
4. My consistent position is that Washington is full of professional politicians who are meek and cowering in the face of special interests and party bosses. So focused on getting re-elected, these careerists work hard to ensure that they do not anger any single targeted voting bloc by tripping up on one of their litmus tests. So in the end, we are governed by politicians so intent to please that they fail to find the courage to serve the over-arching needs of the country. How else to explain the disgraceful economic condition of America despite the fact that an overwhelming majority of Americans describe themselves as fiscally conservative?
Thank you for considering my position on this matter.
Scott Sipprelle

This is an interesting response from Scott for so many reasons. First, he hits the nail on the head as to what I believe is the biggest problem with getting honest right-leaning politicians elected - that is right leaning voters seem more likely to be single issue type voters from my experience - either pro-lifers, pro-2Aers, anti-immigration, anti-IRS/taxcode, etc - I'll admit that I have seen no scientific polling or facts to back up my claim that right leaning voters are single issue votes, just my personal experience from talking with many many voters over the past few years.

Second, Scott rightly notes that any and all responses are going to be turned into sound bites, press clips, quotes, etc that are out of context and used to inaccurately reflect his real opinions/beliefs. Scott may or may not have the money to defend himself but if he even has to defend himself about Holt/Pallone/etc then he's already on the losing end of the battle. Not to mention, if he's spending money defending himself against inaccurate information, then he's not spending money attacking Holt's actual positions.

Third, and the last thing I'll note although there is more wisdom in his reply, is that he rightly notes that seasoned politicians in Washington like Holt and Pallone have done NOTHING but practice replying to such honest questions with as dishonest and disconnected of a reply as possible. At their townhall meetings, Holt and Pallone never directly answered questions, that would be political suicide and they know it. They have practiced and built years of experience to NOT reply to such questions. I do believe that Scott has made his beliefs known and clear through his actions and campaign events, so I have to say, I think his reply shows that he can do battle with the non-answering Holt/Democrats who have also made their beliefs known without saying a word.

If you still want to know how your candidate replied, you can read the responses from other candidates on Tommy's site. I completed the survey myself Friday night and will be sending my responses to Tommy after the primary if not just for some discussion of the issues. Again, I think it would serve you as a voter well to think about the questions and answer them as honestly as possible, to the best of your ability/knowledge, and use the test to determine if there is a candidate who really represents you well. If you find there isn't one, you can always run for office yourself in two years.

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