Monday, October 25, 2004
But what will she do on CSPAN?
A Democratic challenger for a NE Indiana congressional seat walked off the set after suffering stage fright.
Poor woman. I can empathize. In my first public speech before a large group of individuals, I became so flustered that, while I was arguing against a particular position, I fumbled my words and ended up making arguments favoring the position (then closing my speech with a feeble "So vote against this measure!"). Ouch. Very embarrassing.
The incident occurred at a meeting of the Oklahoma Intercollegiate Legislature. This is a mock legislature composed of students from colleges and universities across the state of Oklahoma. The organization meets at the Oklahoma Capitol Building twice per year, using the state House and Senate chambers.
I was very frustrated with myself, vowed to do better, and eventually won an award for the best freshman legislator that session.
I went on to serve as the Speaker of the House of Representatives in the organization for two terms and developed my current (now nearly twenty year) fascination with politics. I also became a pretty good public speaker due to OIL. I owe a lot to OIL.
Anyway, the point is, I crashed and burned. Then I got better. This candidate can, too.
Except, OIL is fictitious, and I had lots of opportunities to practice and get better. She doesn't.
OIL doesn't involve real legislation impacting real people. In the end, it is all pretend. After five days of meetings, the session ends and everyone goes back home.
Congress isn't like that. There, things are done for real.
I think it laudable that this woman has decided to enter the arena and campaign for a Congressional seat, particularly against a strong incumbent.
But if she cannot make a speech before a TV camera, she cannot possibly perform the duties of the job.
Next time, I would hope this candidate thinks about these things before running for office. Politics is not a game, and the United States Congress is not a mock legislature. It impacts too many people to treat it as though it were.