On Vetting and Endorsing

Eric Andersen Eric Andersen 6 Comments


EricI’m going to meet two candidates for Congress this week. Neither has a voting record. In light of our nation’s multi-generational slide from freedom and prosperity, I will ask questions in an attempt to understand their philosophy of government.

I want to determine to my personal satisfaction if they have the requisite knowledge to initiate and lead necessary government reform.

As one elected member of the Central Committee of the San Diego County Republican Party among many, I feel that is the best I can do with the trust placed in me by my friends and neighbors, while upholding my oath to protect and defend that old piece of paper.

Dear Candidate, with all due respect for your prior area of expertise, please don’t think your success as a physician, pilot or soldier translates to the science of government. I think the record and history adequately demonstrate that it does not.

My personal thinking is that just because one is a fine soldier does not (necessarily) mean one will be an excellent surgeon or vice-versa. Different skill sets. Medical school does not translate to knowledge of law and economics. And if I may say so, I don’t think a successful record in business necessarily connotes an understanding of free markets. Thinking of a certain presidential candidate but I regress.

I want to know how deeply your thinking goes on the subjects of law and economics. When the next Goldman Sachs Treasury Secretary pays you a personal visit, pleading for San Diego tax payers to foot the bill for a multi-billion bailout for a “too-big-to-fail” corporation, how will you respond? Will your legs buckle because your education was insufficient to respond or will you help the Cabinet Secretary understand the appropriate response with an inspired articulation of the great ideas upon which our nation was founded?

Please understand. Even if I think you are one of the nicest and most authentic human beings I have ever met, I may withhold my endorsement. To do otherwise would make me culpable for more tyranny and poverty not only for my own children but for those of my neighbors who have placed their trust in me.

With that said I look forward to learning more about you.


Comments 6

  1. THIS. Is why we are proud to have thinkers like Eric Andersen as part of our writing team at SD Rostra.

  2. One of my favorite things, serving on the Exec Committee with you Eric, was questioning candidates. I had one of them say to to me that it was the first time he was really challenged (and that he felt he had earned the endorsement).

    One of my regrets, after being ineligible to continue to serve on the Committee, was not reforming the endorsement process so that more Committee members and volunteers could vet the candidates.

    As always, I love that you continue to take your position seriously

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  4. I look at things only slightly differently, Eric.

    I believe the first thing we need to know about Congressional candidates is whether or not they know and support the Constitution. Have they actually read it all the way through once? Do they know when the last Constitutional Amendment was passed and how long it took? Do they know the functions of the Executive and Judicial branches of government or are they okay with letting either the Executive or the Judicial branch run roughshod over Congress in making up their own laws as they go.

    Speaking of the law, do they even understand Marbury vs. Madison? Do they respect states rights under the Tenth Amendment or do they think the Federal Government has even the smallest role outside of the limitations granted it under the Constitution?

    I don’t necessarily need to know the depth of their knowledge of economics. I only need to know that they understand that the House holds the purse strings and the power that does – or should – give them.

    I don’t necessarily want a businessman, lawyer or someone with a military background elected to office. Personally, I have only two litmus tests: The first is the Constitution. The second is their character. I want to know they aren’t lying and will not con us or sell us out once elected. You’re right, Eric, that has nothing to do with “niceness.”

    I don’t know how to fit those into an interview, but they’re both important. And neither is impossible to know if we vet candidates on more than an interview and campaign rhetoric.

  5. “Personally, I have only two litmus tests: The first is the Constitution. The second is their character.”

    Two great litmus tests.

    “I don’t know how to fit those into an interview, but they’re both important.”

    You described how to do it and that is how Eric does it too. I’ve watched him do it to three Congressional candidates in 2013. The result? All of them started talking about the Constitution on their websites and in their stump speeches
    I watched Assembly, Supervisor, and Mayoral candidates squirm when confronted with the Constitution, too.

    Don’t let me minimize the importance of your two criteria, Karen. I’d say that I can’t speak for Eric but I’ve watched him do just what you suggest

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