George Washington is our State’s namesake and widely regarded as the greatest American in our history. The Virginian’s accomplishments included serving as the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army during the Revolution, President of the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention in 1787, and the first U.S. President before voluntarily stepping down at the end of his second term. While some people associate a political independent with radicalism or obscurity, Washington stands not only as an exception but an aspiration for us today.
He was a man whose only understanding of politics fixated on the “United States.” It is miraculous during the country’s tumultuous formation that he managed to resist the attraction to political parties or what James Madison referred to as “factions.” Other Framers, like Madison, recognized the threat factions posed to a representative form of government like ours. Washington was one of the few Framers to avoid the rise of the Federalist and Republican parties in the mid-1790s.
By the end of his second term, the great coalition of independents who drafted and ratified the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the United States Constitution in 1789 fell apart. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams collaborated when they were independents on the Declaration of Independence only to be split apart by partisan rivalry between the Federalists and Republicans. Jefferson eventually resigned from Washington’s cabinet. Washington never wavered warning in his Farewell address, “…the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.”
The 8th District is comprised of the “wise people” Washington referred to in his farewell address. This identification means you have impulses to discourage and constrain the political parties. The 2012 election cycle is the opportunity. The perspective of the independent is essential to breaking the gridlock in Congress. I believe this so strongly that I left my national security job to convince you that I can be your independent Congressman for Washington’s 8th District.