LITTLE- AND BIG-LEAGUE POLITICS

So we had dinner with George McGovern last night. No, really.
It was one of those big ‘annual dinner’ things, and we were – for a variety of reasons – asked to sit at the table with him. And somehow, it got my mind spinning about a lot of issues in politics and political history … of America and of me as well.
So a couple of posts will probably fall out from this today; here’s one of the first.
I talk to my political friends a lot about ‘Little League’ politics, in which political capital is built in small chunks by, for example, showing up at Little League events. Our (active, crowded) Little League always has a local politician at the Opening and Closing Day ceremonies, and somehow that always seemed like a good thing to me.
I know some elected officials, and I know how mindblowingly hard it can be for them, spending every waking moment at some kind of function or event or another. Watching Senator McGovern last night, as we listened to a whole lot of speeches from outgoing officials talking about last year and then incoming officials talking about next year, I was struck by how many events like this must lie behind him, and how his personal history – and the personal history of any senior politician here in the U.S. – is built at dinners like that and firehouse pancake breakfasts, scout lunches, and Little League ballfields.
I like that. I like that lots more than modern big-time electoral politics, which is built on large donors, Astroturf campaigns (campaigns that are built to look grassroots, but are really centrally funded and coordinated), and big media buys.

2 thoughts on “LITTLE- AND BIG-LEAGUE POLITICS”

  1. Date: 06/27/2002 00:00:00 AM
    But can such a campaign compete with the “big dogs?” Even with major league name recognition, the Greens can hardly put a scratch in the others.

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