A week or so ago at a rainy day gathering in Salem, New Hampshire, it was quite instructive to listen to the speeches of two declared candidates for the Republican nomination for US Senate, seeking to unseat Senator Jeanne Shaheen; as well as a non-speech by a then-undeclared candidate for the same office (who has subsequently formally declared his candidacy).
Of the three who spoke, only one has a proven record of accomplishments for the people of New Hampshire, having served in the New Hampshire House of Representatives for several years, ultimately as its Speaker. [Full disclosure: It is why this writer serves on his campaign staff.]
It was the second time in two months that I heard from the non-candidate (at that time). Once again, he spoke in vague generalities, without giving any specifics of his core political philosophy and beliefs, or of what specifically he would seek to accomplish in the US Senate if he were to be elected. Although his personal resume spoke volumes of significant accomplishments in the form of his service in the military and successes in his business and professional life, it was impossible to tell for what principles he would stand and fight if elected. Ultimately, he reminded me of another fine person who came to New Hampshire for an election to no avail, Scott Brown of Massachusetts.
Perhaps the most amazing speech on that day was from the candidate whose affect spewed anger- anger at being there, anger at having to give a speech, anger at what? Who knows?
Once again, he also spoke in vague generalities, without giving any specifics of his core political philosophy and beliefs, or of what specifically he would seek to accomplish in the US Senate if he were to be elected.
His personal resume also brimmed with accomplishments in his life of service to our country in the military, but he did not explain how being in a position for many years of giving orders to people who then routinely followed them without question would in any way prepare him for life as a US Senator.
The most fascinating aspect of his rant was his promise that if elected he would not be a mere representative of those who elected him but rather that he would be a “leader,” providing “leadership” in the US Senate.
Let’s gets serious, folks. The US Senate is notorious for being called the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body. And bound by over 200 years of traditions and customs, the US Senate rarely, if ever, confers leadership positions within its august body on newly-elected Senators. Customarily, one must have been elected to the Senate for at least a few terms before even being considered for a leadership post.
So how exactly does this putative freshman Senator propose to provide leadership in the Senate if he is elected?
Maybe by making angry speeches from the floor.
That will surely get a lot accomplished for us folks here in New Hampshire.