Q&A Friday #29: Do You Ever Get Sick Of Politics?

by John Hawkins | December 16, 2005 7:45 am

Question: “Do you ever get sick of politics?” — Oneisnotprime

Answer: Only once.

During my college years, I started doing some work for the Mecklenberg County Republican Party. I stuffed envelopes, did some minor league work on some campaigns, and even manned the headquarters solo, answered phones, etc.

I was new to politics back then, more than a little naive about how things worked, and I got a little disillusioned with how things worked.

I worked on a campaign for a candidate I really liked who was in a 3-way Republican primary. There was the unimpressive incumbent, my guy, and this other candidate who was a complete sleazeball. My guy would have had a decent shot of beating the incumbent, but only if he made it through the primary — and it was going to be tight.

So, we come into possession of some dirt on the sleazeball and I want to have it leaked to the Charlotte Observer. My candidate, who proved the old adage, “Nice guys finish last,” didn’t believe in doing that sort of thing and he refused to put that info out there.

As it turns out, my guy lost the 3 way dance and then the incumbent, who had the same info we did, released it to the press and destroyed the sleazeball in the run-off. That bugged me because, in my opinion, the best man for the job — by a longshot — lost because he was such a decent guy.

I also got to see some nasty internal fights between Republicans over trivia, felt like the hours I spent licking envelopes and answering the phones were largely unappreciated, and the last straw was when I was told I’d need to wear nicer clothes on the afternoons when I ran things at the Republican HQ.

Not only did I not have very many nice clothes (I was a dirt poor college student), I didn’t like dressing up, especially when I was coming in and spending one of my afternoons off from classes doing unpaid grunt work for the GOP.

In retrospect, as I mentioned earlier, I was more than a little naive. Of course, the best candidate doesn’t always win. Furthermore, I really shouldn’t have expected much more than a thank-you for doing that grunt work. Moreover, you certainly don’t want someone wearing a t-shirt and sweats actually representing the GOP at the local headquarters. What sort of impression would that make on people who asked for a brochure?

But — at the time — it seemed like a big deal and it turned me off to politics in general and it took the Florida debacle during the 2000 election to get me, “turned on and tuned in,” again. Since then, my interest in politics hasn’t flagged in the least.

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