Congratulations to Allen West for clobbering incumbent Democrat Ron Klein in the Florida Dist. 22 Congressional race last week.
It already sounds like Col. West is going to hit establishment Washington like a sledgehammer, having made his first order of organizational business the appointment of a local conservative radio talk show host as his chief of staff.
Col. West might be wise to remember that while he is on his libertarian crusade to change the way Washington works, the people of his district are more concerned with bread-and-butter issues than with Taking Their Country Back.
For advice, he might consult his able predecessor E. Clay Shaw, who was a consummate master of what is known in the trade as “constituent services.” This is defined as a representative’s responsiveness (meaning, his staff’s) to the mundane and picayune needs of his people when they interact with their government.
Another former rep who knew how to make the creaky wheels of bureaucracy turn like the gears of a Swiss watch for his people was the hated Fire-Breathing Liberal, Robert Wexler. Either of these gentlemen would tell Col. West that good constituent services may not necessarily ensure longevity in office, but bungling them can certainly cut one’s tenure short.
Regardless of how big or small government is or may become, District 22 depends on federal programs like Social Security and Medicare for a considerable portion of its income. If Col. West doesn’t pay close attention to this fact, no amount of principled rhetoric or legislative bomb throwing will save him two years from now.