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Friday, January 27, 2017
Have YOU Run Into Any Of THESE People Lately?
Here's a good one from our friend Matt Rooney at Save Jersey:
The holiday season is long over, Save Jerseyans. So are the inauguration/reorganization festivities.
That means it’s almost rubber chicken season. A dizzying array of local fundraisers, county conventions, Lincoln/Reagan Day dinners and other assorted political events are about to overload politicos’ calendars at each and every New Jersey Turnpike exit.
Events mean people. Lots of them.
And the characters you meet at this political events are unlike anything else on the planet.
Here are the 10 types of people you’re likely to meet at a political event…
(1) The Perennial Candidate Yup… he’s running for something this cycle. Again. In fact, if running campaigns equated to actual governing experience, this guy would trump George H. W. Bush in the “resume to lead” department. But of course he’s never won a darn thing, God bless his heart; the local chairman keeps him around because there’s always that town/district/seat that’s a throwaway and yeah, someone needs to fill the ballot hole, so the perennial candidate rides again… and probably next year, too…
(2) The Event Hopper No one can figure out what the hell this guy or gal does. Maybe she bundles money? Or he used to be on a school board somewhere in that distant county you’ve never driven through? What we do know: they’ve got like 10 billion Facebook friends, have Kim Guadagno’s cell phone number, and show up at EVERY freakin’ GOP event in or outside of the state. The day after? Your Facebook news feed is littered with photos of them with EVERYONE. They’re political groupies more or less; the less annoying ones actually pay for admission.
(3) The Future Governor He or she is hovering somewhere between age 14 and 24, living at home or on campus, and often still don’t “get the joke” (see the other 9 categories). It’s about #thecause! And that’s generally a good thing because every operation needs foot soldiers and no other normal human being has the time, patience, or motivation to make 500 phone calls in a single sitting fueled only by shitty pizza and the promise of a candidate selfie on the road to future greatness. His or her most likely career path? Getting a B.A. from Rutgers followed by a local council campaign or extended government externship… or maybe law school and sweet surrender.
(4) The Future Architect The cousin of The Future Governor (#3 above) but a little different because his or her life goal isn’t to be the front man but the behind-the-scenes reincarnation of Lee Atwater. New Jersey’s Karl Rove! Their passion is volunteering for campaigns, reading Politico and perfecting palm card designs. Most likely future jobs? Political operative (in season) and bureaucrat (off season) or… law school.
(5) The Disinterested Donor She’s a well-heeled friend of the candidate. He’s a special interest figure or local professional. They’re there to a write a check and have a few free drinks to wash down the handfuls of shrimp. Their attendance is obligatory, or borne out of a business interest, and are second only to the candidate in their desire to get the hell out of the room as soon as it’s politely possible.
(6) The Narrow Expert Run for your life! This individual is a lobbyist, or a professional, or maybe even an “activist” who knows EVERYTHING about Random Issue #23. Their passion isn’t one of your leading interests? Too bad. Be prepared to discuss it with them for 30-45 minutes unless you’re adept at slipping away behind a large fern (something all politicos need to learn at some point).
(7) The (Political) Giver Remember the book (later a movie) titled The Giver? In this case, he’s late middle aged and has been watching local/county politics for decades. Sometimes as a part-time operative of sorts, typically as a local official/school board or zoning board member for a period of time, and as a result of this life experience knows where ALL of the bodies are buried. Or at least he thinks so, but you’re a glutton for old war stories so you don’t really care if half of the anecdotes are manufactured.
(8) The Autopilot Politician The man of the hour! And he desperately wants to go home (or wherever it is he goes after hours), but this is part of the job. He’s endorsing or collecting checks or offering a few words or whatever, so while the causal observer won’t pick up on it because he’s well-practiced at appearing on-task and simultaneously interested in your soliloquy about Agenda 21 or property taxes, veterans of these events know better. Shake, smile, and move….
(9) The Ancient Republican GOP Yoda. She voted for Eisenhower and, despite her blue hair, she and her husband bleed red. They’ve been on county committee since Watergate, and both have some knowledge kicking around in there that’s worth sharing with the younger guns, but their #1 issue at the moment is the menu for the upcoming Lincoln Day Dinner. Last year’s chicken… waaaay too salty! And why does the music in the hall need to be so darn loud?
(10) The Crusty Operative He’s been involved in every local race since before you were born, and he knows more about voter lists and even less about fashion. Or she is younger than you, but knows far more curse words than you, and has been involved in campaigns since birth and sincerely doesn’t remember a time before a political life. The Crusty Operative knows everything — and knows that you know nothing — but it’ll never come up because they’re not interested in talking to you. Ask them for a yard sign? Buzz off! Or expect a brief lecture on how useless they are. The Crusty Operative is far too busy strategizing, watching, planning, playing with a smart phone and running the event you’re attending… all at once. So it’s not all baseless pomposity.