Perhaps you'll recall James Windle. He's the Independent who unsuccessfully ran in Washington's 8th District to unseat Dave Reichert. You know, the guy with the log. After collecting 5,269 votes and just over 4 percent of the total votes cast in the August primary - far less than he needed to fend off second-place finisher Democrat Karen Porterfield and advance to November's general election - Windle retreated to his Sammamish home and reflected.
"After my experience, I have concluded that the era of statesmanship and solutions is over," Windle writes.
Of course, haters will surely point out that Windle was the loser, so it's only natural for him to feel bitter and jaded about the political system in our country. And that might be accurate, if only Windle didn't have so many undeniably valid points.
From Windle's Times op-ed:
Politics is about winning elections. The path of least resistance is to focus voters on partisan messages and fear. The people who are sick of this brand of politics stay home and do not vote. The political-party base gets charged up by the passion of the fight and, in the final weeks of a campaign, an effort is made to pull in independents likely to vote. If this is the formula for victory, why go through the trouble of searching for a statesman or stateswoman with experience, independent ideas and courage to work with others on solutions? It actually creates liabilities for a campaign.
Evidence can be found in the current Congress. At first glance, 10 percent approval ratings of Congress would suggest that the parties and members would want to get work done. The Pelosi 111th Congress (2008-2010) offered solutions with an economic-stimulus package and health-care reform. Democrats lost the majority in the House. The better strategy is to go home with nothing done and play the blame game. That is what the current 112th Congress did.
Of no great surprise to anyone with the stomach to actually follow the shit show we call politics, Windle cites the fiery, deceptive and carefully crafted partisan rhetoric that our political dialogue has devolved into, out-of-control campaign spending, and 24-7 mass media saturation as reasoning for the sad shape we find ourselves in.
Windle is being honest, and he's dead on. This is probably why his attempts to be a politician have failed up until this point.
More from Windle's op-ed:
In the final analysis, parties and candidates do what is necessary to win within an election system that by most accounts is broken. The parties' desire to control Congress and the White House, the status of the media and campaign finance mean solutions are no longer necessary to win elections. This is the sad state of American politics.