My congressman is in a tough race this year in a district that is considered a toss up. As one who neither watches television nor listens to commercial radio, I do not receive the full brunt of campaign advertising (except for a mountain of junk mail from Senate candidate Linda McMahon's supporters targeting the unenrolled voter in my household).
Yesterday, I listened to my congressman on WNPR's Where We Live, a long format question and answer session in which he held forth on a wide range of topics. I appreciate his candor, but I suspect his staff wishes he would keep his answers brief and focused. His response to one question in particular and the follow up gave me pause. It starts at 21:22 in a response to the effects of negative ads on his effectiveness as a Congressman.
"Does it make me think about whether I want to do this in the long run as my kids get older and have to watch this drivel on television? Absolutely, but, for the here and now, it makes me more committed than ever to moving forward with reforms that benefit middle class Americans."
Follow up: "But you do want to do this for the long term, don't you? I mean, you got into this, and people have talked about you as a possible candidate for Senate at some point. You seem to be ambitious and driven to do something politically. Is this something you are going to do long term?"
"I don't know. I don't know, I mean, to be completely honest with you, John, the culture's gotta change in order for me to do this, you know, it is draining at some level to be constantly up against this barrage of partisanship, and I also see what this job does to families in the long run. I think, you know, I've got a two-year-old son, now, and that's my priority. My priority is my family, and I'm going to be monitoring this job, and the time it takes away from my family very closely in order to decide whether I do this in the long run or not..."
I admire his courage for saying this. Work / Life balance is a struggle for all working people, and politicians are at the beck and call of the public more than any of us. I admire him greatly as a person and will vote for him in November. But if a candidate gave this answer to me at a job interview, I would thank him for his time and look elsewhere. This does not sound like someone who is confident and is going to stay and deliver in this position. This is not what the voting public wants to hear from a politician in a dead heat for reelection. Hope I'm wrong.