Most of my closest friends can tell you that my actions don’t always make the most sense. Not to them or even to me. I don’t spend as much time as I do on the treadmill for my health (really) or even to lose weight, though those are both good things. I do it because I like to. And once on, I cannot stop until Morning Joe is over but that is a topic for a different therapy session.
There are a few things that I love to do that I can explain, however, and they include writing and working in politics. I connect the two because of a piece I read today about Rick Santorum‘s ad guy in the Daily Beast. The article about John Brabender has a quote from a friend of his that says he “didn’t care if [a client] were Democrat or Republican. They could have been communists, just as long as they were able to pay the bills.” It continues to say that Brabender is motivated more by a hatred of bad, political ads rather than a commitment to an ideology. Both sentiments bother me but the latter got me thinking about my recent post about grammar. I don’t write because I hate bad writing, I write because I love self expression. (And I could go on a tangent about I feel about people who define themselves by what they oppose but that is also a subject for another day.)
A few months ago, I went with a friend to see The Ides of March. Normally, I avoid political fiction of all kinds because I like to escape my reality every now and again (it’s the reason I never liked West Wing — though I am glad I saw it because I liked it). Once I got past my nit-pickyness about the particulars of presidential campaigns and the world of politics, I had only one real issue with the film: I felt like a prostitute when I left. Presidential primaries are a lot like family squabbles, they may get nasty but everyone ends up on the same side at the end. That’s always been my experience — I didn’t start the 2004 campaign working for John Kerry, for instance, but that’s where I ended up.
Campaigns are not like other employers or clients. They consume your life for the duration. At least that has always been my experience. These are not 9-5, 40 hour a week jobs. They are 24/7,” you’re on when we need you on” jobs. I love them but the idea of working for someone that I couldn’t vote for, well it wouldn’t happen. For the record, I know that money does motivate some people more than it does me (and that’s NOT me saying it shouldn’t). I worked briefly at a PR firm and they wanted me to work on a project that I had serious problems with. After a half a day of this, I ground my teeth so badly in my sleep that I broke a back molar and it had to be pulled. I never had it replaced to remind me of how badly that job made me feel — I also quit the day after.
And I think I know what you are thinking; that I feel this way about Santorum’s “message guru” because I don’t like Santorum. Well, I don’t like Santorum. I think his social views are beyond extreme and his fiscal policy is absurd. I think going to college is a good thing. And no, I don’t think Satan is lurking behind every corner. But I also think most people who go into politics do so because they want to make the world a better place. Read any of my pleas for civility in politics and you’ll see I make that point as often as possible.
Truthfully, reading about Brabender gives me the same feeling The Ides of March did and that’s why I don’t like him.