If you’ve been paying attention to politics for any length of time you’ve probably noticed that there are several different types of elected officials. Not just in terms of partisanship or ideology, but in the sense of how active or vocal they are.
If you’ve ever done any lobbying, you’ve noticed a difference in how reliable they are in terms of their vote and how hard you have to work to nail them down.
Here’s a shorthand way to categorize elected officials:
These are the guys (and gals) that are so far on the other side of the street that you can forget about wasting the time even thinking about getting them on board with anything you support. Pretty much all liberals will fit into this category.
These are officials you have to constantly watch and check in with on virtually every issue. Whether it’s because they are constantly trying to make everyone happy, have their fingers in the wind, or are just more concerned about themselves, you end up spending a lot of time chasing them and bringing pressure on them to make sure they vote right when the time comes. And even then sometimes you come up short.
They’re not completely reliable, but it doesn’t take as much time or pressure to bring them around. But the point is that they still require some time and effort.
Just like the label implies, you never have to question what they will do and you can always count on them to vote right, whether they get pressured or not. They’re “on the team”, and you don’t have to waste time on them, freeing you up to focus on the first two groups.
Not only are they “No Maintenance”, but they will actively help move ideas, drive debate and publicly advance the cause. Whether it’s the public speakers or the behind-the-scenes legislative “mechanics”, they’re the true leaders of the conservative movement in government at all levels.
Knowing what type of category elected officials usually fit into can help when it comes to doing any type of grassroots lobbying, as it gives you an idea of who you have to work on, who you can count on no matter what, and who will help you advance your agenda.
If you’re actually engaged in any sort of grassroots lobbying on any issue, take some time to take inventory of the elected officials you have to deal with and categorize them accordingly so you’ll know where to spend your time, energy and resources.
Now, quick quiz: which one of these five types of elected officials do we need more of?
The more conservatives who actually get involved and “do something”, the more maintenance we can do on the elected officials who need it – and the more people we can elect who will actually help advance the cause.