Friday, August 08, 2008

All politics are local

Well, I'm going to have some fun with James Griffith when I get out to The OC ...

Oconee County GOP Chairman James Griffith said he wasn't surprised that local Democrats would seek to change the system, characterizing it as a move to gain a foothold in county offices.

Griffith acknowledged that the partisan system may push Oconee Democrats, for example, to run as Republicans, but he said that's usually not a factor.

"Most of the time, they don't get elected," he said. "Most of the time, people figure out they're not who they think they are."

Yeah, it couldn't be that the system forces them to choose between supporting their candidates at the state and national level or having a say in who serves at the local level. To this day, it's preposterous to me that all local elections - county commission, city council, sheriff, etc. - aren't non-partisan.

I supported non-partisan elections in Athens-Clarke County where Democrats control most local offices, and I support non-partisan elections elsewhere across the state where Republicans control the local offices. Why? Because it makes sense, encourages more involvement in the process and requires the voters to work a little harder to find out where the candidates stand on the issues ... and, last time I checked, a more educated and informed populace ain't a bad thing.

Besides, as I've argued before, partisan political views don't necessarily translate to decisions about local policy. And that's because local politics are inherently more personal and built on relationships and connectivity, not talking points and party lines. Consider this post by Brian, a Republican, on the move to limit growth in South Oconee County. I've had several discussions with him and, safe to say, we don't exactly see eye-to-eye on a lot of national issues or state issues. However, on most local issues, he and I share similar beliefs, including this particular issue.

Unless Griffith and other opponents like Ralph Hudgens feel the average voter is too ignorant to be able to determine for themselves who they want to serve as their sheriff or Board of Education representative, they ought to be behind this thing.


Blogger Brian said...

We had a smart guy running for city council several years back who made the mistake of running on a variety of Republican platform issues and took a very partisan approach instead of focusing on just the local issues. He lost the election. In my experience, people just aren't interested in national party issues in local elections.

They are, however, very interested in having a relevant local party and getting engaged on state and regional issues, and making sure that the local leadership does, to some degree, adhere to party philosophies. But these philosophies rarely trump the highly local issues that decide county and city elections.

4:12 PM  
Blogger Oconee Democrat said...

Brian, refresh my memory about this local candidate of whom you write?

10:52 PM  

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