The Fallacy of Electing an Outsider

In 2014 the Georgia GOP Senate primary drew 5 contenders and after a runoff, David Perdue emerged as the nominee and eventual victor over Democrat Michelle Nunn. Much of Senator Perdue’s appeal in the primary, runoff and general elections was his earlier business experience and his “outsider” status. The promise of running government as a business, being “outside” the establishment and ultimately getting things done was intoxicating then. And it continues to intoxicate in the elections of 2016.

It is commonly accepted as the solution to our broken legislative and executive branches but is there any empirical evidence that an outsider performs any better than an experienced legislator?

While I like Senator Perdue and voted for him in the general election, the concept that a successful businessperson and an outsider actually gets things done withers upon examination. According to the website Congress.gov, the 114th Congress (2015-16) has dealt with 203 actionable items in the form of resolutions, bills and amendments thus far. Senator Perdue has sponsored 8 amendments with no action, 6 pieces of legislation none of which have even had an initial committee hearing and one resolution (supporting National Assistant Principals Week) which passed unanimously.

I realize it has only been 16 months but we are drawing near to the summer recess, elections and a lame duck session with little promise of any more meaningful legislation. I know is it a small sample – one freshman Senator out a 100. I admit that the Senate works more like a private debating society than an actual working legislative body. But it seems that an outsider is no more effective than Thad Cochran who has served in the Senate for 43+ years.

And you know the real scary part of this scenario? When the 115th Congress convenes in 8 short months, it is highly likely given current trends that “outsider” Senator David Perdue will transition to “establishment” Senator David Perdue.

 

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Saltycracker
Saltycracker

Not sure who to blame here as his financial overhaul ideas and term limits fell on deaf committees.

https://www.congress.gov/member/david-perdue/P000612?q=%7B%22sponsorship%22%3A%22sponsored%22%7D

http://www.perdue.senate.gov

The point that he will be converted to the “establishment” is playing the 80/20 probability bet once elected.

He has done a slightly better job considering Br’er GOP just can’t walk by a Br’er Jackass tarbaby.

Benevolus
Benevolus

I have never bought into that concept. Outsider maybe, but not the ‘business experience translates to something useful politically’. I don’t have a problem with the idea of a career politician either. It should be an honorable vocation and we should expect the best from them like we do other professionals. And the reality is that most higher level politicians have been aiming for it for most of their lives anyway whether they admit to it or not. You really have to build you life in a way that gives you a chance to succeed. But with voters today, who… Read more »

The Dixie Cheetomonger
The Dixie Cheetomonger

If the establishment can bring any ‘outsider’ into the warmth of the establishment’s embrace, then we shouldn’t even worry.

It is a problem that takes rectifies itself.

Bart
Bart

It’s not really fair to judge an ‘outsider’ in the senate after he has barely had time to get his office arranged. I wasn’t a big Perdue supporter, but give the guy a chance. Hell, it’s difficult for a lifelong brown nosing DC insider to get anything accomplished in this era of adversarial politics. An ‘outsider’ needs a minute to get acclimated then build coalitions.

gcp
gcp

The problem is there are too many insiders and too few outsiders in office.

Jon Richards
Jon Richards

I think you protest too much. Senator Perdue publicly said that he was going to spend his first year in Washington observing, and learning more about how things work on Capitol Hill, rather than rushing in immediately introducing legislation. So you’re not measuring two years. You’re looking at four months. And in any case, the Senate runs under the seniority system making it difficult for anyone to do much their first session. His big ideas have to do with budget reform and the national debt. They’re big ideas, and not ones that are going to pass quickly. I also wonder… Read more »

Benevolus
Benevolus

Well Perdue has got the Party Line part of it figured out, viz. Supreme Court nominee.
Of course, by doing that he gets to keep his committee seat… and that’s how you become Establishment.