The Brian Withnell Conundrum
The guys at Too Conservative are having a conniption over the fact that Brian Withnell is challenging Gary Clemens for the Republican nomination for Loudoun County Clerk of Court.
The gist of the argument seems to be "How dare he!"
While I will admit, in the spirit of full disclosure, that I seem to be on the other side of pretty much every political contest from the TC folks, I think there is room for objective discussion here.
[More full disclosure: My totally non-political wife, a couple months ago, said this about TC following her initial naive surfing of the blogosphere: "I thought 'Too Conservative' meant they exposed people they thought were too conservative." Heh. From the mouths of babes...]
Anyway, whatever the relative qualifications of the two men, let's examine a simple fact about the Clerk of Court:
The Clerk of Court gets elected for an eight-year term, and the salary is $130,000 a year - and as some insiders have said, it's not exactly a brutal job.
Interesting factoid: If you state the above sentence to anyone in Virginia, 99% of respondents will reply "reeaally??"
So I would say: Considering all the calculations that go into deciding whether one should run for office, this Clerk of Court deal has the added bonus of being a pretty friggin' good job. Better than the governor's or your average congressman's, in fact.
Yeah, it is "public service." But it is also pretty sweet public service.
The outrage at TC, I would therefore submit, is misdirected. I would say, in fact, that if there is any job that we should expect to see contested every eight years, it might be this one. It's a little surprising to me that people are not falling over themselves to line up for the primary.
Hell, it would be an upgrade for me, that's for damn sure.
I wish I had more information on the issues of the campaign. So far, Brian Withnell has established he is a nice guy but has not made it exactly clear why he would be the better man for this cherry position. Gary Clemens has made it clear he is also a good guy, and who can blame him for wanting another eight-year stint.
While I respect Loudoun Insider much of the time and read his posts pretty regularly, I have to think he is overdoing it a bit to hyperventilate over the fact that Withnell is trying to get this job. We do have a democratic process in this country, and oftentimes it is fought over jobs far less remunerative than the Loudoun County Clerk of Court. Supervisor, for instance. I think Gary Clemens should expect a challenge once every eight years and be ready to defend his position.
Brian Withnell is a tech-wonk guy - this is one of the things he did communicate the other night at the LCRC meeting. A lot can change in eight years, and in a data-intensive environment as a court oversees such a person has solid standing to say he should be considered for the position.
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