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Tales from the Mark Side: Politics within politics sees Vern Buchanan on the outside


My early life plan was to get into law enforcement. I wanted to be a cop ever since I was a child watching One Adam 12, and that desire grew deeper as my childhood transitioned to my teenage years with shows like Miami Vice.

There was just such an appeal to be the good guy battling the bad guys, which ultimately was my reasoning to join the military first with plans for law enforcement later.

Perhaps it was a good idea I took that route because what I learned about myself in the Army is that I am not a man who has a problem with inflicting violence upon those who would do us harm.

So by the time I left the military, I knew I didn’t have the temperament to be a police officer so I followed my second love of writing instead.

I started writing short stories as early as the second grade, so I was blessed early with two loves that turned out to be life goals.

Within the written word, I found the ability to still seek truth, accountability and justice, but in an environment where I wouldn’t have to make the choice to execute a pedophile or a rapist, or to bring back to the station a bruised wife beater who had an “accident” along the way.

I understand my nature so I understand my limitations. I’m too much of a believer that not all of man’s laws are enough to fulfill actual justice.

Politics is another arena where my love of common sense would prohibit me from functioning like the diplomat that is required when other politicians are playing in the mud to enhance their own power.

Oh, I’ve thought about it because quite frankly, I know myself well enough to be 100 percent sure I would actually put my constituents above all else.

But I’m too familiar with the political games and my bluntness isn’t for everyone. I would filibuster for hours and hours on the mental disorders of liberalism.

I’d be the guy caught on camera in the hallowed halls of Congress flipping off democrats or mooning Nancy Pelosi in the halls.

I’m just not capable of political correctness. If you’re an idiot, I’m going to tell you you’re an idiot, explain to you why you’re an idiot and then ask you if you have a problem with that.

Again, I know my limitations.

I’d probably write legislation to bring back public hangings for rapists and enforce existing firing squad laws for traitorous actions that we see so much of in Washington D.C. from the left.

If it were up to me, Jane Fonda would definitely be the first to hang in the public square.

I’d get a lot done, or at least try to, for my constituents and the American people. Of that, you can be sure. But I can’t play the “good soldier” routine within the politics behind the politics.

That’s essentially what has gone down with our Congressman Vern Buchanan, who was supposed to be next in line to chair the all-important Ways and Means Committee.

Those chairs are essentially pre-selected weeks ahead of an election where there is an expected majority victory.

There were three people up for the chair of that committee, to include Buchanan as the frontrunner, Missouri Congressman Jason Smith and Nebraska Congressman Adrian Smith.

I know Adrian well since I worked very closely with him for five years when I worked in Nebraska for the North Platte Telegraph.

If you didn’t know how these chairs are “elected,” they are nominated and then the GOP Steering Committee votes to elect the chair.

Kevin McCarthy, as chair, gets four votes and Steven Scalise, as majority leader gets two. All other members get one vote.

So the leadership has a lot of sway in who gets “elected,” because they get close to half the votes, and then, of course, comes the pressure of members to do what leadership wants.

It doesn’t take a lot of arm twisting for leadership in either party’s steering committee to get exactly what they want.

So it’s not really an “election” per say no matter how they paint the picture. It’s why Buchanan was expected to be the chair, long before the midterms took place.

So when the McCarthy battle to become Speaker got underway, Jason Smith became heavily involved in negotiations with the Freedom Caucus, and has been a longtime ally of McCarthy.

All that is well and good and I don’t have a problem with Jason Smith being the chair, despite the fact that as a state legislator in Missouri, he successfully led the way to end the state’s puppy mill regulations that stripped away the safety protections and welfare of our potential pets.

You can bet that’s not something Buchanan would do. He’s the reason animal cruelty is now a felony and has done more than any other legislator in the nation to protect our animals.

What Jason Smith did is disgusting to me, but I’ll let that one go.

So the bottom line is that Adrian Smith fell out of the race after the first round of voting because he had the lowest number of votes. Adrian is another representative like Buchanan who just wants to do the work and doesn’t care all that much about the limelight. I say that, of course, in not having a working relationship with Adrian in 10 years so I can’t say for sure if he’s changed.

I doubt it though. Nebraskans don’t change much outside of Lincoln and Omaha where the liberals roost.

The second round of “voting” went to Jason Smith so the expectations of Buchanan leading the committee had a sudden trajectory change.

My question to our House Republican leadership is why? To whom did McCarthy give his four votes? Was it simply because Jason Smith allegedly helped to sway the Freedom Caucus to end the stalemate?

Was there a handshake deal that broke the original deal?

I don’t know the answer to that question but knowing how the internal political games are played, we are left to wonder and ask these kinds of questions.

Questions that shouldn’t have to be asked if only there was the level of transparency we expect and demand.

I also know that Buchanan isn’t talking because I asked if he would like to lay out what happened and haven’t had a response.

And that circles me back to understanding that Buchanan is a diplomat. He’s not going to throw anyone under the political bus. He’ll simply get back to work making this country a better place to live for his constituents.

Florida Politics, of course, has a report that states Buchanan had harsh words with McCarthy. If true, then good for Buchanan.

But at the end of the day, Buchanan won’t publicly let it be known that there is conflict within the party even if so many others will.

I’ve seen too much in my years of following politics to know how it all works. After all, the reason why McCarthy’s Speaker position was vulnerable is because he was the one who handpicked and financed a lot of the Republican candidates who lost in the midterms.

As I have always tried to tell you, we the people don’t really control the political strings. The parties do. Ultimately we are left to pick who the parties put out in front.

Candidates who don’t have the backing of their parties stand no chance and that includes our state representatives and to a certain extent our local elected officials in any partisan race.

I don’t like games. I don’t like the personal deals. I don’t like it when transparency isn’t at the forefront of every last thing our elected representatives do.

It’s why I know that politics probably isn’t in my future. I wouldn’t play the games. I wouldn’t make personal deals and I’d be so transparent in exposing the playground mentality of internal politics, that the swamp would most certainly drown me out.

And trust me, I might go down, but I’d go down fighting.

At the end of the day, we’ll see if Jason Smith is a strong Conservative who can do a decent job as chair of the Ways and Means Committee, which really controls the Congressional purse strings.

Smith is a fiscally responsible Conservative even if I don’t care for him as a person. I don’t let personalities get in the way of good policy like so many ill informed voters in this country.

Buchanan would have been better, but clearly that’s out of our hands. This kind of thing is not why we send elected representatives to Washington. We send them to focus on us and not themselves.

So once again, yes, the sausage making process is ugly and I suppose there is an opportunity for it to still be delicious. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Until then my fellow Patriots, stay vigilant, stay informed, educate others and spread our message far and wide.

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