Opinion

Career, No Career (A Tale of Two Pols)

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Posted: Mar 18, 2018 12:01 AM
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Career, No Career (A Tale of Two Pols)

“Let me make something very clear,” Nick Freitas stated unequivocally. “I don’t have a political career.”

Freitas, a Republican member of Virginia’s House of Delegates, was responding to advice. Upon announcing his candidacy for the United States Senate, he was given the standard smoke-filled room wisdom: running against super-incumbent Sen. Tim Kaine, he was told, “could hurt [his] political career.”

You see, Kaine has a lot going for him. He is the former mayor of Richmond, lieutenant governor and then governor of Virginia, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, U.S. Senator and Hillary Clinton’s Vice-Presidential running mate in 2016. What is the point of even trying to unseat him?

Freitas appears undeterred. And his anti-careerism is music to my ears. And to Matt Kibbe’s. The leader of Free the People calls the second-term delegate from tiny Culpeper County “the most interesting liberty Republican you’ve never heard of.”

Unless you move about in Virginia’s conservative networks. There, Freitas has made quite a name for himself, eloquently and energetically defending the Second Amendment and battling against Medicaid expansion in a House of Delegates that Republicans hold by a single-seat majority.

“You can’t fix everything through government force and coercion,” he told Kibbe. “If the path we’re going down, which is just ‘let us manage the federal government as it continues to expand, as it continues to increase debt,’ that’s just not a Republican Party I’m interested in.”

The Delegate added that the American people seem similarly uninterested.

The former Green Beret uses words like “liberty” — which he loves — and “dependence”— which, he elucidates, is a bad thing. Who knew?

Accordingly, the Washington Post’s report on his entrance into the race informed readers that Freitas “is not exactly a mainstream figure.” The paper’s evidence? “[T]he 38-year-old federal contractor delivered a treatise on small government, promising to combat a worldview that ‘treats free people as if we were subjects instead of citizens.’”

Gee whiz, whatever could this Freitas fellow be getting at?

Delegate Freitas still faces fierce competition for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate. Prince William County Chairman Corey Stewart, a Trump acolyte, has already announced. Stewart came within a whisker of upsetting Ed Gillespie for the party’s gubernatorial nomination last year.

But don’t count Freitas out. He says his campaign is part of a bigger freedom movement, speaks truth to power and delivers inspiration that conservatives and libertarians haven’t felt in a long time.

To dramatize, let’s compare and contrast Virginia Republican Delegate Freitas with Republican Oklahoma State Senator Mike Schulz. 

Freitas seems in a bit of a hurry; Shultz, the former senate majority leader and now president pro tempore, not so much. Unlike Freitas, Sen. Shultz recently expounded on his political career and the problem with term limits. 

Schulz burbles that he’s being ejected by Oklahoma’s 12-year legislative term limits just as he is on the verge of being almost about to begin to make a solid start toward concluding the commencement of embarking upon truly hitting his stride . . . and I believe him. He also accuses his colleagues of equal lethargy vis-à-vis learning their jobs.

Can such calumny be correct?

Lest I be accused of invidious paraphrase, which I would never, let me quote Schulz’s words in defense of term limits weaker, even, than the lax current set: “At the four-year mark, you start feeling comfortable with what you’re doing,” The Oklahoman’s transcript relates. “At the eight-year mark, you know a little bit more but you still don’t know it all. At the 12-year mark, you certainly know more but you still don’t know everything you need to know.”

Indeed, Schulz recently failed to steer to passage legislation that would have hiked taxes on Oklahomans, thereby demonstrating terrible deficiency in his grasp of tax-hike leadership. I’m convinced; he has persuaded me that he just can’t do his job. He should have resigned years ago. Too late now, alas; he’s about to be termed out of office.

Well, better late than never, I always say.

Gentle Reader, listen to this man. At your next job interview, let your prospective employer know that you feel fully confident in your ability to do a darn good job . . . within 16 years.

Or, if you remain dubious about that advice, consider a candidate like Nick Freitas.

It is easy to believe the worst of politicians; they so often rise to those expectations. But is Freitas just another first bait-and-switch pol, telling us what we want to hear? 

Well, Freitas isn’t exactly playing for the bleachers by naming Calvin Coolidge rather than Ronald Reagan as “the best president of the 20th century.” And refreshingly, he talks about individual liberty, which, he explains, is “based off the premise that I have a right to pursue happiness in accordance of what my definition of happiness is, so far as it doesn’t infringe on your right to do the same thing.”

He had me with “I don’t have a political career.”