Kelly Ayotte Should Really Go to Washington

What Women Really Think
Nov. 3 2010 9:54 AM

Kelly Ayotte Should Really Go to Washington

New Hampshire's newly elected Sen. Kelly Ayotte defeated her opponent by a vote of nearly 2 to 1. She ran a disciplined campaign as the state's former attorney general, portraying herself, of course, as a Washington outsider, a newcomer and a fresh voice for change. A rare stumble came when e-mails surfaced between Ayotte and an adviser over a recent case in which Ayotte, in deciding to seek the death penalty for a homicide, appeared to be considering the decision's affect on her political future, but any downtick in the polls was brief and short-lived. New Hampshire voters, it seems, don't really care if a their politicians seem to be considering politics as long as they also manage to do their jobs.

That's a message I hope Ayotte hears as she prepares for her six-year term. Ayotte is a mother of young children and campaigned on a promise not to move her family to Washington. That's a promise she should break. Newcomers, fresh voices, and outsiders sound good, but what New Hampshire, and the rest of the country, really needs are career politicians-career governors, really, in the lowercase sense of the word-willing to pick up and move themselves and their lives all the way to Washington in order to better serve their constituents. Ayotte claims to believe she'll stay more in touch with voters if she keeps her home base in her home state, but she'll be able to accomplish more for those voters if she does the Senate the old-fashioned way, creating a new social and political base for herself in the place where the real decisions are made.

Advertisement

That's true not just of Ayotte but of all of the newly elected legislators. The trend for the past few years has been for politicians to camp out in Washington and live at home, keeping themselves pure of the old socializing and back-room dealing that once led to compromise. But politics is (or should be) about more than just getting elected.  This year, it's about the economy, the deficit, immigration reform, and 100 other issues that have been more the subject of vague speechifying than actual, concrete proposals for change. Rhetoric and campaigning at home have delivered the "new blood" to Washington. Is it too much to ask that they actually go there and get something done?

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

Why Are Lighter-Skinned Latinos and Asians More Likely to Vote Republican?

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 12:29 PM A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

Subprime Loans Are Back

And believe it or not, that’s a good thing.

It Is Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

How Ted Cruz and Scott Brown Misunderstand What It Means to Be an American Citizen

Divestment Is Fine but Mostly Symbolic. There’s a Better Way for Universities to Fight Climate Change.

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 22 2014 6:30 PM What Does It Mean to Be an American? Ted Cruz and Scott Brown think it’s about ideology. It’s really about culture.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 22 2014 5:38 PM Apple Won't Shut Down Beats Music After All (But Will Probably Rename It)
  Life
Dear Prudence
Sept. 23 2014 6:00 AM Naked and Afraid Prudie offers advice on whether a young boy should sleep in the same room with his nude grandfather.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 7:43 PM Emma Watson Threatened With Nude Photo Leak for Speaking Out About Women's Equality
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 22 2014 9:17 PM Trent Reznor’s Gone Girl Soundtrack Sounds Like an Eerie, Innovative Success
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 6:27 PM Should We All Be Learning How to Type in Virtual Reality?
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 23 2014 7:00 AM I Stand with Emma Watson
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.