Written March 19, 2012     

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Who would you vote for?
Maggie Brooks
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© 2016 Bob Lonsberry


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What is the rationale for Maggie Brooks?

With the announcement today of her candidacy for Congress, what is the argument in favor of her election?

It is twofold.

She is a bulwark against Democratic control of the House of Representatives, and she has the potential to be an effective national voice for the principles necessary to save our country.

Whether those were factors in her decision, or in the move of the Republican Party to support her, it’s impossible to say. Whether she was driven by ambition or patriotism, whether she felt the call of opportunity or duty, no one but she can know.

And that’s OK.

Because her choice to run is secondary to the choice the voters will have. Across Monroe County, people will have to decide whether or not to support her. This is intended to offer two reasons why the voters may wish to choose “yes.”

The first is Nancy Pelosi.

With the outcome of the presidential election anything but clear, and control of the Senate apt to remain in the hands of the Democratic Party, it is possible the only balance in Washington will come through a continued Republican majority in the House. A Maggie Brooks victory – possibly over incumbent Democrat Louise Slaughter – would help Republican interests in a year when Democratic gains in the House are possible.

Some disliked the Nancy Pelosi speakership because of her ideology, but many more were critical because of difficulties with her personality and leadership style. In short, she was autocratic and difficult, and had as many fights with her Democratic colleagues as she did her Republican rivals. A vote for Maggie Brooks is a vote against a second Nancy Pelosi speakership.

From the standpoint of balance, a Republican victory in this seat is important. Maggie Brooks offers a good prospect for that victory, and so a vote for her is important.

That brings us to the second point.

Maggie Brooks is a communicator. That is what she did professionally – as a television and radio reporter – and that has defined her politically. She brings a great ability to communicate principled stands in a comfortable yet convincing and authoritative way.

And a seat in Congress would give her a platform to say things America needs to hear.

Some go to Congress to legislate. They force their way through the legislative process and pass bills and write laws.

Maggie Brooks is not likely to be one of those members of Congress. As one of 435, her impact on legislation is going to be small. She is too old to begin the long career necessary to build either the seniority or the knowledge to become a master legislator.

Certainly, she will be a reliable vote for common-sense bills. She will vote the vast majority of the time, presumably, with the Republican caucus. And she is plenty smart enough to get Rochester interests tacked onto anything she supports.

But her opportunity to make a mark will come through persuasion, not legislation.

America is a nation whose grip on its values and institutions has come loose. What our grandparents knew instinctively, we can’t quite comprehend, and the simple constitutional principles that make America America are less frequently taught and understood today. In this season of our nation’s history, we need leaders to truly lead, to stand up and declare the simple, self-evident truths found in the Declaration and Constitution, and lived by Americans in our country’s best days.

Maggie Brooks can do that.

The best service she can offer her country, is to step into the bully pulpit and make the case for Americanism. Yes, she prepared for this day by her service in elected office, but much more significantly she prepared for it in her years in front of the TV camera.

Right now, the cause of constitutional principal has effective voices on the right. There is a handful of conservative congress members and senators who make the television rounds speaking for principle. Those people are doing a good work.

Maggie Brooks can join them in that work from a slightly more centrist position. Her beliefs are the same, but her persona is more embraceable across the political spectrum. In the array of players necessary to make a successful team effort, she fits right in. No, she is not ultra conservative. But in a fight that requires patriotism, not orthodoxy, she is conservative enough. And she is that without the angry passion of labels and divisions that some are subject to.

We need to send Maggie Brooks to Washington so she can get back on the evening news, so that she can explain legislation to the country and remind it of its origins and principles.

Because this isn’t a political battle, it is an ideological battle. Winning votes is merely a means of winning minds. And once Maggie Brooks has won enough of the former, she can get busy winning the latter.

This isn’t about partisanship, this is about patriotism. And if sending Maggie Brooks to Congress didn’t serve a patriotic end, there would be no reason to do it.

But there is a patriotic rationale. There is a legitimate good. There is a national need.

A vote for Maggie Brooks is a vote for America. And even if the politicians don’t realize that, the people must.

- by Bob Lonsberry © 2012

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