As much as I loath the idea of Chris Janicek running for the United States Senate as our nominee, the Nebraska Democratic Party should not, in its haste to avoid something like that happening again, institute any of the “Vetting Committee” ideas currently being discussed. It would invite Death himself to point an icy finger at us. (It is the Halloween Season after all.)
Chris Janicek is an aberration. It’s sad that after all of that work, he got caught saying something so outrageous that he got cancelled, but the situation we are in had a lot more to do with the overall health of our Party than him not being adequately vetted. Had he been a serious contender to win the election in November, both the people and the media would have paid a lot more attention. From what I’ve learned since the debacle, a lot of people knew he had a serious problem with his mouth. No one spoke up, and that is our collective “bad.” Lesson learned.
But the problem with instituting a “Vetting Committee” for Party nominees is that by definition it creates an oligarchy that would control who is allowed to run for office as a Democrat in Nebraska. It is such an outrageous concept, I genuinely can’t believe I’m writing about it as a possibility. Who would we trust with such power?
And what would the criteria be? Would all of our candidates have to commit to being pro-choice, and would that mean under all circumstances or only some? Would he or she have to commit to support Black Lives Matter and would that mean supporting the rhetoric that all American institutions are inherently racist? Would he or she have to commit to supporting open borders or Medicare-for-All? How about eliminating private ownership of firearms? I could go on, but you get my point. You start creating a litmus test for candidates based on the issues, and the Headless Horseman will find us wanting.
Maybe this isn’t about demanding that our candidates sign-on to a specific ideology before they can run as Democrats. Maybe this truly is only about invading someone’s closet in search of skeletons. So, which skeletons are acceptable and which are not? It wasn’t that long ago that none the LGBTQ+ community would have passed “Committee” approval. How about going through bankruptcy or spending time in a mental health facility? How about having an affair? Will what kind of affair matter? What about criminal convictions? What crimes are acceptable and which are not? Talk about popping open a can of worms.
When it comes right down to it, what would a “Committee” have done if they had known that Chris Janicek had a foul mouth before the primary? Would any “Committee” really have said, “You have a nasty mouth. You can’t run for office?” I don’t think so. I can name a list of successful politicians as long as my arm who were famous for their foul language – including a bunch of presidents. The only difference is that they knew when to maintain decorum.
In retrospect the people who knew about Chris’s mouth should probably have spread the word, but then again, would it really have made that much of a difference. The truth is that we all have said and done things we aren’t proud of, and we all have positions on issues that may not meet the approval of a small group of Democrats. It completely depends on the Democrats. I guess that’s why we have primary and general elections, so the people can decide.
Photo Courtesy of the mirror.co.uk.