The Return of the Citizen Legislator and Joe the Plumber

When Davy Crockett went off to Washington City some said he wore buckskin on the journey as a way to poke fun. I doubt that was the case though, as Crockett had served in the Tennessee legislature for five years before going to Congress, so I’m sure he had a tie and a clean shirt, and over-nighted at road houses along the way instead of building a fire down by the creek.

But you know how some people are.

By today’s standards Davy Crockett was not “congressional material,” i.e., not a professional politician. But, Davy was special for everyone knew who he was. He had a reputation. He was famous for having served with Andy “By God” Jackson in the Creek Wars, proving himself a superior hunter and scout, back in the day when big bear and catamounts still wandered the hills of southern Tennessee and they were still taking scalps in Mississippi.

But people in Tennessee didn’t send him to Congress to show off his skills with a hunting knife, or to become a side-show curiosity for Members from the urban districts looking for a backwoods hick to mock.

Never a majority, Davy Crockett reflected a type of citizen legislator that was not all that uncommon before the Civil War in America. Uneducated, at least formally, I often wondered how he could read legislation. You’d think reading at least was a prerequisite. Seems he might not have needed to, though, for in the day when a bill would be read aloud, and wasn’t any longer than a parson’s Sunday message, men such as Crockett were able to soak it in then add a dimension to congressional deliberations that long since have evaporated, and sorely missed in Washington City these days. His kind brought to the floor of the House a grass roots common sense that quite frankly, the Founders always intended to be present there, but hasn’t been seen in a coon(skin cap’s) age.

Crockett is even recorded as having given a speech (the “Not Yours to Give” speech) critical of his congressional colleagues who were willing to spend taxpayer dollars to help a widow of a US Navy man, but would not contribute their own salary for a week to the cause. (Sound familiar?) Allegedly this popular proposal died in the Congress largely as a result of Davy’s speech.

No doubt which side of the fence Davy would be on today.

Davy Crockett was his own man, and the people of Tennessee sent him to Congress for just that reason, to protect them, not to send stuff back to them.  Today, there are only 27 members without college degrees, but the Davy ghost still stands tall, for you will not see any of them being physically led down the aisle of the House to cast an important vote (What was the name of the  lady congresswoman from PA back in Clinton’s day?) or ordered to vote one way or the other by leadership, just like they tell you how they want their shoes shined.

The culture of the lawyer and the professional politician (I almost repeated myself there) have never entirely squared with the purposes of the common man and citizen, (Jefferson noticed this early on) and this struggle has slowly devolved in the former’s favor since FDR’s time at least. (Mr Smith Goes to Washington, 1939)

Still, no doubt, the common man was the foremost concern among the Constitution’s purposes.

So What about Joe the Plumber, Samuel “Joe” Wurzelbacher?

When Herman Cain announced for president I came out quickly and said I liked him. And I liked him for all the same reasons the pundit class, including many conservatives, didn’t.

You see, Herman wasn’t one of them.

Now Herman is about as far removed from Davy Crockett as you can imagine, but in many ways he’s not, even though he is a very educated man, a genius mathematician, and later business/statistical analyst of almost mythical proportions. But much like Davy Crockett, Herman was skilled at a craft “other than government” and therefore excluded from the club of acceptability.

To my mind, Herman, Joe and a few others I know are what the Founders had in mind all along. Even in Davy’s day there was only a smattering of “his type from the frontier” in Congress, still, they kept the people’s house in balance. So you have to ask the question: Since Davy was no match for a Madison or a Hamilton, why did they create a system that included, nay, even elevated such men?

Our government is super-complex today precisely because a class of professional legislators need it to be so complex so that it will also be exclusive; a government system that only someone with their very specialized educations and experiences can decipher.

Only, as nature decrees for that type of people, it is all becoming undone, and not just here, but worldwide. Our “experts” have now made legislation so foreign a concept even they can’t read or decipher it, leaving that for bureaucratic minions to sort out once its passed. (“We have to pass the bill so we can find out what’s in it.”-Lady Disdain Pelosi)

There is almost no reason or purpose in what government does anymore, except to line its own pockets with power and money.

Which brings us back to the original proposition, just why did the good folk of southern Tennessee send Davy off to Congress in the first place? Or why are the people of Ohio’s 9th district considering doing the same thing with Joe Wurzelbacher?

Understand, people in Toledo aren’t really considering sending a plumber to Washington. Nobody would do that. What they are considering is elevating a man who is a plumber to that of an elected legislator, which is a big deal precisely because he is not a professional politician. Joe has all the requisites honest voters always look for; common sense, integrity, and real world experience highest among them.

Moreover Joe isn’t a Looter, nor is he likely to be, a thing which never dawned on Tennesseans in 1826.

Today it’s the  professional politicians and lawyers who are Looters, people like Harry Reid who never spent a day of his life in the private sector, but has been able to sap the last nickel of service out of “public service,” coming to Washington with a few thousand in the bank, but now with brazillians stashed away, all on a salary Obama says is “middle class.”

What’s it gotten us? As Herman Cain often says, “How’s that been working out for you, Ohio?”

No longer do people believe that a law degree, even from Harvard, makes a man somehow a better skater across the thin ice of truth covering the marble floors of Washington. Today we all accept the general notion that Congress, as a class, is a gang of Looters. Mark Twain said it was America’s only native criminal class. And he said that long before FDR ever conceived of entitlements and really big-time heists on the Treasury and taxpayers’ wallets. Would to God all we had to worry about were old-time government corruption, Credit Mobilier, Teapot Dome, penny ante kickbacks, bribes, instead of having to step in and pick up the tab for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Sandra Fluke’s wandering thighs.

No, the looters in Congress today, lawyers and non-lawyers alike, are professional sharks in an in-place, entrenched, rigged system Obama and Elizabeth Warren keep warning us about from the private sector, and yes, lawyers seem to come to Congress best prepared for this game.

Today, a few citizen-legislators would like to change that, and quite frankly, they won’t last long enough to become looters. Which brings me back to Joe the Plumber.

Joe won”t like Congress or the company he has to keep. So likely he won’t stay long. But he’ll do okay elsewhere. And he’ll never have to be indicted.

Joe is articulate, clever and believes in the same sort of citizen-friendly government Davy Crockett did. And Joe will not become a Looter, as his Democrat opponent already is. Going into Congress working on a doctoral in urban planning, as a member of the Democrats’ management team, Marcy Kaptur has helped supervise the greatest destruction of America’s cities in history, and become quite wealthy while doing so…again, like Harry Reid, all on the pay of a “middle class” civil servant.

What the Democrat Party has done to America the past fifty years is criminal.

It’s un-American.

It’s unconstitutional.

It is French.

We need more Herman Cains, Dan Benisheks and Joe the Plumbers, not less, for in government they can grow the number of like-minded individuals to reduce not only the size but complexity of government, thus encouraging even more ordinary citizens to apply for the position of “legislator”…but also bring about the total and complete eradication of the Looters.

In America right now, that is Job One.



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