Remember when average citizens were relatively uninvolved in politics? They’d go into the voting booths, cast a ballot, and then go back to their lives as usual. Even with knowing that politics is an ugly business, they still mostly trusted their elected officials to make the right decisions for this country.
That time has long passed. Everywhere you turn, ordinary Americans are engaged in the political process. Lack of trust in our elected officials has led usually passive Americans to review every bill in Congress with scrutiny. Warning our fellow patriots when new threats emerge from Washington, we have become a nation of Paul Reveres.
Both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party are steering us in the wrong direction. No longer concerned with fiscal conservatism, Republicans have abandoned their platform of smaller government and personal responsibility in favor of an all-controlling nanny state. The Democrats are simply driving us there faster. And neither party seems concerned that its constituents would like to get off this highway altogether.
Despite recent polls showing that a large majority of Americans desire to replace every member of Congress, the Republicans are still running many of the same old incumbents. The Republican Party blatantly ignored the will of the people when it ran progressive candidate Dede Scozzafava in New York-23. When Republican-registered voters chose Doug Hoffman instead, Republican Party leaders should have been jolted back to consciousness. Instead, they continue backing the reelections of career Republican liberals like big-government John McCain, Obamacare Joseph Cao, and cap-and-trade supporter Lindsey Graham.
With the GOP failing to embrace the huge movement toward conservatism, we are speeding towards the 2010 elections with a broken two-party system. Worse, neither party is willing to do its part to fix it. Although third parties have a notorious reputation for taking votes away from Republicans and keeping Democrats in power, what’s the difference? Instead of continuing on this path, watching our republic crumble, we are in dire need of a radical change in leadership.
Seeking a new way to elect our representatives, GOOOH (pronounced “go”) may be the breakthrough the nation craves. GOOOH, which stands for Get Out of Our House, “is a non-partisan plan to evict the 435 career politicians in the U.S. House of Representatives and replace them with everyday Americans.”
These career politicians have been birthed from two flaws in the election system that GOOOH hopes to change. First, congressional seats have no term limits and both political parties have no regard for how Washington changes our officials. Representatives often go in with the best intentions but eventually mutate into campaign-driven, corruption-riddled egomaniacs. The longer representatives are there, the more removed they become from the American people. So, GOOOH candidates are required to sign a two-term-limit contract.
Secondly, both parties’ candidates are chosen by a group of elitists. If you’ve ever been to a fundraiser or meet-and-greet for either political party, you understand the elitist mentality ingrained in both parties. If you are not a rich retiree dripping in diamonds or Ph.D.s, don’t expect your opinion to count. Since most Americans are not, therein lies the problem of finding true citizen representatives.
Along with two-term limits, GOOOH targets the system’s dysfunction by changing the candidate selection process. Any American can participate in the GOOOH candidate selection process with a $100 fee. The fee is a small enough amount of money for anyone to raise (e.g., borrow $20 from five of your relatives), but high enough to discourage the participation of those not serious about the GOOOH process. The $100 collected eventually goes towards the chosen candidates’ campaign costs.
GOOOH also recognizes that money is one of the underlying problems tainting the system. Money has been a main factor in determining the fate of many bills in Congress. Over and over, the House has defied the Constitution for special interest groups, selling its citizens down the river in the name of campaign finance. According to a recent Rasmussen poll, 81% of Americans believe members of Congress are more interested in their own careers and special interests than the people they represent.
GOOOH seeks to remove money from the political process by not allowing candidates to raise their own money. They do not want any ties between their candidates and donors in order to preserve the integrity of the candidate’s representation of the people over campaign contributors.
Instead, both GOOOH’s national board and each local district will raise funds for candidates. GOOOH does not take money from special interest groups and requires candidates to sign a confirmation letter with a similar pledge.
Along with special interest control, each party largely controls their Republican or Democratic representatives. Because the parties hold much of the reelection campaign funds, they can easily cut off representatives who do not vote according to the party’s agenda. That’s why, as strange as it initially sounds, GOOOH does not have a platform other than to seek true citizen representation.
Lack of a platform does not dissolve GOOOH candidates of accountability. In fact, their plan for accountability is unprecedented because it requires representatives to be honest — a shocking proposition for most politicians. They begin by having each potential candidate fill out a questionnaire, answering questions about how he or she would vote on particular issues. Examples of questions asked are: “Will you vote for or against United Nations recommendations or dictates given to the United States?” and “Will you vote for or against funding nuclear power plants to help address our energy needs?”
Then, according to GOOOH.com, each perspective GOOOH candidate must “sign the commitment letter confirming (he or she) will vote according to (his or her) questionnaire answers.” The commitment letter also requires candidates to resign from office within 72 hours if a commitment is broken. If a bill comes through that violates even 1% of the elected official’s contract, the representative must vote against the bill.
GOOOH hopes that it can get enough members elected to the House to pass a single-bill act. This will mean that every bill must pertain to a single issue — no earmarks or unrelated, hidden agendas concealed in thousand-page bills.
With endorsements from Lou Dobbs and many tea party chapters, GOOOH is gaining traction. They have meetings and mock candidate selection sessions across the country. Their founder, Tim Cox, says their website receives between 3,000 and 4,000 unique hits a day, and they have 210,000 members and watchers. But their success depends entirely on the people. Whether or not Americans have the courage to break with the two-party system remains to be seen.
Many have said that the current political climate has awakened a sleeping giant. Regrettably, the giant has failed to wake up the Republican and Democratic Parties. As modern-day Paul Reveres, tea partiers and conservatives have been waiting for a George Washington or Thomas Jefferson to emerge. GOOOH may just be the nation’s best chance at finding one.