One of my senators, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), was quoted in a USA Today article yesterday sharing his thoughts on Governor Sarah Palin’s resignation:
I would think, if you want to run for president — and I’m not sure that’s got anything to do with what she’s doing — that the forum of a governorship would be a better forum than just being a private citizen.
Now Senator Grassley is certainly entitled to his opinion, and I don’t see anything unfair in his total remarks about Governor Palin. No, what I take umbrage with is the phrase, “just being a private citizen.” This has become a meme the last few days. I would just like to remind Senator Grassley, and those who disparage private citizens, at least three potential GOP candidates are now private citizens – Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, and Newt Gingrich.
I don’t think anyone would diminish their chances because of their current position as private citizen. Taking Governor Palin out of the picture, because I think this is really a larger issue than a potential Palin presidential campaign, is the thought that one can only bring change if they are in government service.
This is ludicrous, and it is a meme that needs to get stomped down in the GOP right away.
Jim Prevor at the Weekly Standard is spot on with his assessment:
Is it necessary to say that the good senator, now 28 years in Washington, D.C., has it precisely reversed? That Republicans believe that the bosses are the private citizens, that the people who work in D.C. and the state capitals are employees who the private citizens have hired to manage their affairs for a period of time.
Such aggrandizement of governmental office is unbecoming a conservative.
Senator Grassley who is known for visiting all 99 counties in Iowa every year (unlike his counterpart, Senator Tom Harkin, who only seems to visit when he is fundraising or campaigning) should have a better feel for the base. If he doesn’t then it is time to retire. Private citizens are the ones who put elected officials in office. Private citizens are the ones who push government to change (Tea Parties anyone?). Private citizens are responsible for most watershed moments throughout not only U.S. History, but World History as well.
Prevor continues reminding us of something that Ronald Regan said that those in government service should never forget:
But the base of the Republican party does not believe that one can only serve the public good by being a government employee.
When Ronald Reagan explained that “government can’t solve the problem, government is the problem,” he was not expressing some kind of “the state, my enemy” philosophy, he was just explaining that the solutions to our problems will not come, cannot come, from the government; it is only the imagination and industry of the citizenry that can build our future.
Not to diminish the role that governors can play, but let’s not disparage the role of private citizen. Government typically causes more problems than it solves, and private citizens have to deal with the consequences and help to provide the solution.
Senator Grassley, you should know better.