Save Your Money, Bob
A journalist friend of mine emailed me yesterday with Bob Vander Plaats' press release to run for Governor of the State of Iowa in two years. Maybe I'm just a little battle worn after two years of presidential campaigning, but I can't help but think he's wasting his time and money (as well as those of other people). Again, those who have read this blog know I fall on the side of the political conservative; however, I like being able to step back and look at the big picture of politics.
The reality is that it will be hard to unseat Governor Culver. Anyone who thinks they'll be able to run on the basis of the economy is fooling himself - it stinks for everyone, so no one politician will be able to change it. In the two years he's been in office, Governor Culver has shown fairly solid leadership through some large disasters, and he hasn't done anything irretrievably stupid. Even his suggestion about leasing out the lottery could be spun as "Hey! At least I'm weighing all the options and trying to be creative." Vander Plaats big platform issue tends to ride on moral conservatism, which is going to be a hard sell to a moderate state. Unless one of the Republican candidates can create a real case that the status quo needs to be upheaved, it's going to be a tough campaign. Of course, maybe Vander Plaats is just jumping in too early. Like I said, we're all a little tired with the Presidential Inauguration just last week.
Now I don't dislike Bob; I actually voted for him when he ran a few years ago and lost out in the primary. It's just the political and social environments are going to make it an uphill battle for any challenger.
How often do we see that in office politics? Before you jump into a highly political situation, you may want to ask yourself some good questions:
- What are my motives for getting involved?
- What do I hope to accomplish by injecting myself into the office politics conflict?
- Do I have the resources needed to go the distance?
- What value do I bring to the conflict to help it come to resolution?
- Am I getting involved at the right time? Should I hold off and wait and see how the situation plays out? Conversely, have I missed the opportune moment to get involved?
- How will other stakeholders react to my getting involved?
Will Bob Vander Plaats win the governor's race in 21 months? Well, history will play that one out. From this angle, he's one pony I wouldn't be betting on.