By Mark David Blum, Esq.
New York State Governor Paterson has the dilemma of naming the successor to the United States Senate to replace Secretary of State nominee Hillary Clinton. Once confirmed by the Senate, Senator Clinton’s seat will be filled by someone named by New York’s governor. At present, the names being thrown about as possible replacements all have name entitlement, such as “Kennedy” or “Cuomo". Other than coming from bloodlines that have self proclaimed themselves as dynasties, the apparent candidates have little to offer that is unique and different from the way business is being done. New York’s governor has the chance to forever alter history by naming the right person to the job.
I too want to be the next Senator from the Great State of New York. What I lack in bloodline and political debt owed, I more than make up for in my zeal and ‘everyman’ perspective. Nobody will own my vote and no bill would get my vote unless it truly was in the best interests of the people of the United States. My political perspective matches that of Barry Goldwater wherein he once said, “I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution ... or have failed their purpose ... or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is 'needed' before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible.”
No, I am not a Republican nor a Conservative but rather a pragmatic Libertarian and registered Democrat. I firmly believe in smaller government and less official intervention into private lives. From my perspective, our Federal Government has grown far beyond its constitutional boundaries and strayed outside the Founder’s fence. New York is a great State and should not be taxed and managed by federal overseers. Every State has the right to its independence and the federal role is to play arbiter and act only on a narrow range of issues that impact all the States and the People. No Bill would ever get my vote if it impinged upon the freedoms enjoyed by citizens or enhanced the strength of the federal government as against the States.
I promise too to offer myself as a sacrificial lamb. If nominated, I will not seek election nor run for Senate in 2010. All I ask is for the opportunity to show my Governor and State what can be done when your primary focus is on the public good and not on the perpetual campaign. In the one year, I will try and provide an example that I believe is indeed in the best interests of the United States and will do so without playing partisanship. I will use my vote and bully pulpit to show that a Senator can be a leader and a gentleman while holding back the reigns of federal power.
Just like a fish does not know it is wet because its’ entire world is in water, so too is the current federal government enmeshed in a paradigm from which it cannot imagine a different culture. My views of justice and international relations, of the drug war and the war on poverty, and of the business of medicine and the delivery thereof are well argued in previous publishings on this and other websites. As a United States Senator, I would be in a great position to help start the discussion of issues considered too taboo and invisible to the current culture of Washington. It would not be as much my goal to win an argument as it is to force a public discussion of the issue. For that reason and for just one year, the People of the United States would get to hear the voice of the everyman; the citizen in whose name so much legislative and presidential law has been made. Through me, the professional career politicians would have to respond to matters of public policy they have so far succeeded in keeping from public view.
Seriously Governor Paterson, for just one year, until the election of 2010, take an everyman like me off the street and put them in office. New York and indeed the United States government really needs to see the life and hear the views of how life is like away from Washington and the massive money machine that grinds out laws and policy on a daily basis. I remember how during the last Presidential campaign Senator now Vice President Elect Joseph Biden was mocked because he is amongst the poorest members of the Senate. To the other 99 members of that great body, I would stand up and call shame on them for such buffoonery. America was not built FOR the rich but instead was conceived to give everybody the chance to BE rich. But we are not a caste nation and the voice of the ‘just getting by guy’ should be allowed on the floor. If you doubt my ability to filibuster, then you have never heard one of my closing arguments to a jury.
I confess to being a sinner. Indeed I have led less than an angelic life. Without doubt, there are always going to be smarter, stronger, more affluent voices than mine. Not a one of us has perfected all. That being said, not being perfect is not a disqualifier for office. How many current seated Senators and Congressfolks have less than perfect histories … or worse? The litmus test is which person who wants the job, will put New York first? I am one of those persons. I promise to stand that wall and keep the federal dogs at bay while at the same time, using the federal muscle to enhance the lives and liberties of Americans. My interests will not be focused on the 2010 election and on “what is in it for me”. I do not believe America ever intended a political class or caste. At a minimum, I am the very antithesis of those concepts.
There is no question I have the education, work experience, and training to fight the good fight in the halls of the United States Senate. I may be unfamiliar with the actual operations of Washington but I know one fact is for sure and that is what a Senator says is listened to. I will not be as focused on mixing into the day to day machinations as I will be in using the office for the public good. To paraphrase George Washington, I want to ally with nobody and be a friend to everybody. When called upon to vote, I will vote my conscience. When I speak I will not waste words. This is my promise to you.
Governor, I am not so foolish as to truly believe you would ever give my request serious consideration. At the same time, I know you are not so foolish as to believe that there are many hundreds of thousands of citizens of this State who feel left out in political debate. Millions lack the proper bloodlines but still have ideas that should not be disregarded. Caroline Kennedy’s visit to Syracuse was not a shining moment and I very much doubt her understanding of what it means to live paycheck to paycheck. Of all the people in high office right now, you Governor should know that best.
I have great confidence that no matter what decision is made, that New York’s Governor will make his selection on what he feels in the State’s best interests. Hopefully he wont pull a “Blagojevich”. What I am proposing is that the Governor name a Senator who would otherwise never be heard in an election because of lack of political connections, money, and inheritance. Let a commoner take the floor. Meanwhile, folks like Caroline Kennedy and Andrew Cuomo can get their machines operating for 2010.
God Bless New York and the United States of America.