Posts Tagged ‘Cincinnatus’
November 4th, 2009 at 4:25 pm
There’s Still Room at the Table with Cincinnatus & Washington

What to do if you’re a California politician holding statewide office, but not enough money or name recognition to make it to the governor’s mansion? Win a Sacramento-area congressional election and head to Washington! With John Garamendi’s win last night in the other congressional special election (CA-10), the soon-to-be former Lieutenant Governor will join former state Attorney General and 1998 Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Lungren (CA-3) in the House of Representatives. Although he never achieved statewide office, perennial Republican candidate Tom McClintock (CA-4) certainly tried. Eventually, McClintock – like Lungren and now Garamendi – discovered that the best way to escape the horns of the dilemma of one who is termed out of office, but can’t open the door to the next, is to pour a lifetime’s worth of money and connections into an entry-level race for federal office.

While it’s good to see that career politicians can find work even in a recession with 10% unemployment, one wonders how many perpetual office seekers pause to consider the example of Rome’s greatest – and perhaps only – citizen-statesman. Though Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus had some aristocratic prejudices (such as opposing equally applicable laws to plebeians and patricians), his chief virtue was that he voluntarily surrendered absolute power as soon as it was feasible; a trait revered and emulated by George Washington.

Perhaps these three Californians serving in the people’s chamber will have a chance to make a lasting contribution to their country, and then quietly go away. Until such a time, there’s still room at the table with the shades of Cincinnatus and Washington.