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Susan Estrich
1 Aug 2014
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Go Local

Comment

These days, when I go out to eat or shop at my local market, signs everywhere proclaim that the food I'm eating or buying is locally grown. This is, of course, easier in California and doesn't, obviously, apply to everything. Still, the advantages of the "local" label go beyond freshness. Maybe it's silly, but I feel good supporting the hardworking farmers in the place I live.

The same, I would suggest to you, is true about politics.

Unless I'm doing it professionally (in print or on television), I try very hard — not always successfully — to avoid casual conversations about politics. In the past, I've always considered the lady in the supermarket line or the man who does my hair or the gal in the dressing room to be a valuable source of information. Similarly, some years ago (after the legendary Lee Atwater advised me that I had a future in talk radio, and that it was the most valuable training for high-level politics), I used to rely on my audience as an invaluable sounding board. If I couldn't convince them, and they liked me enough to listen, maybe I should rethink my argument.

Regrettably, I don't do talk radio anymore. My old station is now heavily conservative, big shock. But these days, I don't need an audience — even a generally moderate one — to tell me which way the wind is blowing. I'm pretty sure what the lady in the supermarket line will say, and I know for a fact what my hairdresser and most of my fellow bargain shoppers are thinking.

They're disappointed. They're angry. Across the spectrum, from conservatives to liberals, they are disgusted with politics.

Believe me, the politicians know that, too. Watch President Obama hit the road and blame Washington for not moving forward on jobs and the deficit. Watch professional politician Rick Perry run against those do-nothing professional politicians. Watch longtime insider Mitt Romney (the son of a governor, the founder of a major firm) run as an outsider.

My advice isn't for them. It isn't about positioning.

It's about real-life politics.

Go local. Look around your city or town, your county, even your state. What's your passion? What should Washington be doing, but isn't? I used to think I would spend my life in Washington changing the world. These days, I'm pretty sure I'll never end up living in Washington again, which doesn't mean I've given up on politics. I've just changed my focus to issues on which I can really make a difference.

Steve Barr worked for me as an advance man in the 1988 campaign (and will never let me forget how he was stranded on the ground that summer after Gov. Dukakis decided to cancel his post-convention victory tour and go back to Boston to deal with budget matters) and then decided he'd pretty much had it with national campaigns. He went back to California and founded Green Dot Public Schools, aimed at proving that with a decentralized approach, parental involvement, high expectations and real support for teachers (yes, we have a union, but no tenure), you really could educate the kids our public schools were failing. I joined the board of directors. Other than my work with the Victims Rights Law Center in Boston, it is the most satisfying "politics" I do.

With 17 schools under our belt, including a successful turnaround of the worst high school in Los Angeles, Steve and a group of old-timers from the board have now split off to form a new organization, Future is Now Schools, aimed at using our turnaround model to change already existing (and failing) public schools. One charter school at a time, some better than others, will not itself change public education in America. We are working with Randi Weingarten, the visionary president of the American Federation of Teachers, to do it. Yes, we get help on occasion from the Education Department, but most of what we do is, in a word, local. It depends on local support, local involvement and, yes, local politics.

I don't know how to change Washington. I'm not sure anyone does. But I know something about what it takes to turn around a high school. I know how to work locally. And at the end of the day, I feel like I might actually be making a difference. Which is a whole lot different from the way lots of folks in D.C. are feeling these days.

To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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Comments

10 Comments | Post Comment
For perhaps the very first time I can agree with the writings of Estrich. Indeed please do go local. For anyone out there that loves this Republic go local and cleanse as many local township boards, as many local school boards, as many local, county and state boards and public offices of as many democrats, progressives and liberals as it may be possible to unseat. Attend the meetings of such boards and the like. Challenge all liberal, progressive socialist, "politically correct" policy implementation and discussion. We have a very active group in my area doing exactly that and we have at present nine scalps hanging on our belts and are now expanding into neighboring areas. Its time to rid local, county and state politics of the disease of liberalism.
Comment: #1
Posted by: joseph wright
Fri Sep 23, 2011 4:25 AM
A very nice article. This is an example of why I enjoy reading and listening to you, Ms Estrich.

One comment . . . I cannot tell if the politicians understand how disgusted we are, because they continue to do what politicians have always done -- try to get reelected. My concern are the statesmen in our land, and I know there must be some somewhere. Do they not understand? Are they impotent when it comes to political reform? Why are we not hearing from the statesmen?
Comment: #2
Posted by: Motley Wisdom
Fri Sep 23, 2011 5:43 AM
I wonder whether she understands the full ramifications of what she is saying ... as it is actually exactly what libertarians and conservative republicans have been saying for years.

Yes ... "local" is how politics in this nation started. "Local" is affirmed in the constitution, over and over. But in the past century ... it is nearly impossible to be "local". The Federal government sucks huge amounts of taxes out of individuals, and then returens part of them to states ... but invariably with huge mandates and conditions.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Bob Foster
Fri Sep 23, 2011 5:52 AM
I wonder whether she understands the full ramifications of what she is saying ... as it is actually exactly what libertarians and conservative republicans have been saying for years.

Yes ... "local" is how politics in this nation started. "Local" is affirmed in the constitution, over and over. But in the past century ... it is nearly impossible to be "local". The Federal government sucks huge amounts of taxes out of individuals, and then returens part of them to states ... but invariably with huge mandates and conditions.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Bob Foster
Fri Sep 23, 2011 5:52 AM
I wonder whether she understands the full ramifications of what she is saying ... as it is actually exactly what libertarians and conservative republicans have been saying for years.

Yes ... "local" is how politics in this nation started. "Local" is affirmed in the constitution, over and over. But in the past century ... it is nearly impossible to be "local". The Federal government sucks huge amounts of taxes out of individuals, and then returens part of them to states ... but invariably with huge mandates and conditions.
Comment: #5
Posted by: Bob Foster
Fri Sep 23, 2011 5:52 AM
I wonder whether she understands the full ramifications of what she is saying ... as it is actually exactly what libertarians and conservative republicans have been saying for years.

Yes ... "local" is how politics in this nation started. "Local" is affirmed in the constitution, over and over. But in the past century ... it is nearly impossible to be "local". The Federal government sucks huge amounts of taxes out of individuals, and then returens part of them to states ... but invariably with huge mandates and conditions.
Comment: #6
Posted by: Bob Foster
Fri Sep 23, 2011 5:52 AM
Dear Susan,
I write to my local Congressman all the time. He is totally worthless. I recnetly wrote him about the NASCAR rip-off of taxpayers and got zero response...ZERO. In case you were not aware here is the story.
The U.S. Taxpayers pay $20 million dollars a year to the race team of Dale Ernhart, Jr. for the priviledge of having him paint the NATIONAL GUARD logo on the side of his racecar. Out of that TWE?N?TY million, DAle,Jr takes a million dollar a year salary. I know of no other professional athlete who gets a million dollar salary funded directly by the American taxpayer. During the recent debt ceiling debate on C-Span, I wantched a California Congresswoman try to introduce an amendment to the bill to end this taxpayer rip-off. She was loudly shouted down by those protectors of our tax money,,,,,the Republicans. So much for them being fiscal conservatives. But whats a paltry twenty million or so here and there.?? The next thing we might see is NBA basketball players being paid a few million to put government or military logos on their baggy shorts,,or jockeys doing the same on their silks or pro golfers or tennis players doing the same thing. Hey it is only taxpayer confetti. I wrote my Congressman and got zero response because he knows this is a rip-off and can't defend it,,,but he will not do anything to solve the problem. This is why the debt goes up and up. Everyone has their sacred cows and wants to milk it for everything it is worth. Write your Congressman or woman and ask them to end the NASCAR rip-off NOW !
Comment: #7
Posted by: robert lipka
Sun Sep 25, 2011 5:27 AM
Even the slowest among us eventually become aware of the failure of liberal ideas.
Comment: #8
Posted by: Paul
Sun Sep 25, 2011 5:30 PM
National debt stands at well over $14 trillions. Since coming to office little president zero on accomplishment but gold star on reckless spending has single handedly accumulated about $5trillions of that debt and with “son of stimulus” and the increasingly accurate forecasts of the real cost of Obamacare [deliberately concealed by crime and corruption inc.] wants to increase the debt further.
Odd how Lipka has missed certain recent events for example
1. A $535 million loan guarantee made by Obama to his crony bundlers at Solyndra, deliberately restructured so that in the event of the inevitable insolvency, which has taken place, Obama's cronies would be protected and we the taxpayers would be left on the hook for the whole $535millions.
2. About $40 billion (billions not millions) of the money that Obama gave GM [not to keep it in the business of making cars but of healthcare and pension provider for UAW scum] was converted to GM common stock. About 478 million shares were sold for $20 billions leaving us, the taxpayer, with around $20 billion more to recoup on our remaining 26.5% stake in the company. Even if these could be sold we, the taxpayers face losses north of $9 billion--plus the $1 billion we gave the "old GM" to wind things up, and the $2.1 billion worth of GM preferred stock we own. All this for Obama's UAW cronies.
3. In Seattle, "a $20 million federal grant for home weatherization has, according to KOMO news, retrofitted only three houses and created 14 jobs in more than a year. I suspect that the $20 millions in advertising on the Nascar car has created significantly more jobs.
4. Federal efforts to stimulate creation of green jobs have largely failed. Two years after it was awarded $186 million in federal stimulus money to weatherize drafty homes, California has spent only a little over half that sum and has so far created the equivalent of just 538 full-time jobs
The scandal now being uncovered re Lightsquared will reveal more of Obama's cronyism and others playing at the expense of taxpayers
This corrupt Admin is spending over $7millions per minute every minute of the day on bs and Lipka will excuse that and fret over $20millions in the buying of advertising.
Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Cuckoo!
Comment: #9
Posted by: joseph wright
Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:50 AM
The best way to get to "local" quickly is to get rid of DOE.
Comment: #10
Posted by: Early
Tue Sep 27, 2011 8:20 AM
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