Today’s Washington Post has a profile of Leo Linbeck III’s efforts on behalf of the Campaign for Primary Accountability, a super PAC which aims to oust entrenched incumbents from both parties. After several recent successes unseating Democrats and Republicans, notably helping to secure victory for the anti-drug war Democrat Robert ‘Beto’ O’Rourke against an eight-term incumbent in El Paso, Linbeck has set his sights on Charlie Rangel’s New York seat.
From the Post:
What has fueled Linbeck is his exasperation with a political system that he says keeps backing veteran lawmakers responsible for Washington’s fiscal and bureaucratic woes. Exhibit A: In 2010, although Congress’s approval ratings hovered in the low teens, all but four of the roughly 400 House incumbents who sought their party’s nomination got the nod — about the same 99 percent re-nomination rate as always.
A self-described “conservative communitarian,” Linbeck says the nation has drifted too far from its Jeffersonian democratic roots. Who’s to blame for this political entrenchment? According to Linbeck, politicians and operatives of all stripes who have grown too comfortable and too influential in Washington. “Do you really think that Karl Rove or John Podesta or Bill Burton or Ed Gillespie, do you really think those guys want decisions to be made anywhere else than Washington?” he asks.
Who, then, is a better fit for office?
… Linbeck rejects the tea-party-infused ethos that any citizen could make a better congressman than the officeholder. Linbeck’s model lawmaker is a state legislator or city councilman or a successful businessman with real skills, real-world experience and no intention of setting down roots in Washington. “Congress is not an entry-level position for leadership,” he said. “It’s a serious job.”
But electing — or reelecting — an enlightened lawmaker here or there won’t make much of a difference, Linbeck says. “What you really have to do is disrupt that whole system, and you have to break these cycles of incumbency.”
Stay tuned for the cover story in the July issue of TAC, in which Linbeck explains in his own words his “vertical” political philosophy of centrocracy versus self-government, and how to break the cycle of incumbency.