You know what would be really fun and exciting? Having Karen Handel say she was kidding. That she really doesn’t want to represent the 6th District of Georgia in Congress and has decided not to take the seat in Washington, D.C. to which she was elected Tuesday. That way, we who have had bird’s-eye views to this electoral circus for the past several months can do it all over again. Wouldn’t that be great?
Why, just think of the economic impact on the area. At last count, some $60 million was spent right within the tight confines of one little ol’ Congressional district. Wouldn’t it be good if we could duplicate that again right away? All those out-of-state contributions flowing into this little corner of Georgia. Hollywood celebrities visiting. High-powered politicians gracing us with their presence. Every network and cable news show laser-focused on We the Voters. National reporters asking our opinions. The President tweeting about us. Talk shows making us the key topic of every monologue and conversation. That’s pretty heady stuff.
I suppose if Ms. Handel did decide to forego her seat, we might want to mix things up a little for the next go-round. Just to keep us from being bored. We’d probably have to have another primary, maybe in August. This time, though, instead of 18 Republicans and one Democrat running, the Rs could coalesce around a single candidate and the Ds could offer up a full slate of wannabes. The winners could square off in another general election sometime in October.
We’d want to make sure the weather would still be nice enough for volunteers to knock on doors. For some people in the 6th, that activity has been a real treat. Most people these days don’t have fifteen folks a week ringing the bell. Especially when they’re all full of enthusiasm for whichever candidate they’re backing. You don’t even have to pay them anything. They just want your vote. Or is it your soul. Anyway, it’s one of those two – or both.
One of the biggest benefits to another election is all the TV commercials that sometimes tout the virtues of one candidate, but mostly tell you what an evil, mean, wicked, bad, and nasty person the opposition is. With $60 million to spend these past few months, virtually every program that aired, day or night, was sponsored by one or both campaigns or their surrogates. And that definitely worked greatly in viewers’ favor. So ubiquitous were the spots that you never had to pay the least bit of attention to them. Unless you wanted to. It was kind of like watching a hemorrhoid commercial. If you’ve got ’em, you want to know everything. If you don’t, the pitchman might as well be speaking in an unknown tongue.
I’m pretty sure the printing industry as a whole would be a big proponent of another campaign. Every day for the last month, at least half the daily mail consisted of slick heavy-stock flyers sometimes pointing out good things about one candidate, but mostly trying to poison the character of the other.
Here’s another plus to more politicking: It gives everybody something to talk about. During a special election, kids, work, the weather, and sports are not the “go-to” topics of conversation. Everybody has an opinion on what’s happening politically. Even husbands and wives have something new to chat about. (Granted, the talk this time was mostly about what an obscene amount of money was involved, but even that beats awkward silence. And everybody could agree on it – a definite rarity in today’s world.)
Chances are, though, 6th District voters are done for a while. Ms. Handel will traipse off to Washington where she may be the toast of the town for a brief shining moment, but will then become the 435th ranking Member of Congress – dead last in seniority. I’m pretty sure that gets you a seat on the House committee overseeing floral arrangements for visiting dignitaries, but not much else.
So I guess the 6th has had its moment in the sun. But it was pretty white hot while it lasted. And maybe those who tuned in from other parts of the country saw a new way to conduct civil political campaigns. Free speech was not infringed upon. No riots occurred on either side. Both candidates were actually civil to each other when they met face-to-face.
I suppose Ms. Handel should go ahead and take her seat. She earned it. And it’s not like politics will quit anytime soon. Why, in just one short year it’ll be time for another election cycle. We probably ought to take a breather for now.
©MMXVII. William J. Lewis, III