Peter Schiff, a venture capitalist and top Ron Paul economic adviser, has been making waves about running as a Republican for the Connecticut Senate seat currently occupied by Chris Dodd. Schiff is something of a Paulite internet sensation. His YouTube videos have received millions of views and he’s already the subject of a long-running online draft campaign (on a volunteer built site with many of the technological hallmarks of the Ron Paul presidential campaign). Schiff’s candidacy would likely receive massive small-dollar support from Ron Paul fans nationwide who would apparently seek to turn the Connecticut Senate seat into some sort of libertarian paradise. All of this makes Schiff look like a very threatening candidate, both to Republican favorites like former Congressman Rob Simmons and state senator Sam Caligiuri, and to Democrat Chris Dodd. That is, until Schiff starts opening his mouth.
In subsequent mainstream press stories yesterday, Schiff uttered bone-chillingly stupid comments that will surely turn off both the Republican Party’s primary voters and voters in the general election. First, in Roll Call, Schiff talked about his proud history of…not voting.
In an interview with Roll Call, Schiff said he was new to politics and only recently registered as a Republican in Weston.
“I don’t know when the last time I voted was,” Schiff said. “You can’t blame me for any of the politicians. I didn’t vote for them.”
This just isn’t how it works. Failing to vote doesn’t keep a citizen from being responsible for the consequences of elections, it makes them culpable. Not participating in elections is not something to be proud of at a time when Schiff has individually and publicly expressed such displeasure with the governance of officials whose elections he failed to do anything about. Rather, if Schiff the Non-Voter has a problem with politicians, he is to blame by embracing political passivism and do-nothingism.
Schiff the Non-Voter later echoed similar sentiments to NRSC Chair John Cornyn, according to Politics Magazine.
“I’ve barely ever voted for anybody running for office. Living in Connecticut, even if I go to the polls and vote for a Republican, a Republican’s not going to win. Even if he could win, in the grand scheme of things he’s not going to make a difference.”
Actually, according to Roll Call Peter Schiff is a registered voter in Weston, Connecticut. According to Wikipedia, Schiff lives in Darien. Both Weston and Darien in Connecticut’s 4th Congressional District, which until this Congressional term was held by Republican Christopher Shays. Shays served in office from 1987 to 2009, so Schiff would have had ample opportunity to cast a winning vote for a Republican in that time frame. Additionally, Darien is one of Connecticut’s most heavily Republican towns and Weston currently has a Republican First Selectman. Connecticut has also had Republican governors uninterrupted for the last fourteen years.
While Schiff was refusing to vote for winning Republican candidates in Connecticut, he was also bashing the Republican Party in Connecticut on whole:
“How are they going to energize anybody?” asks Peter Schiff, a Connecticut-based stock broker. “If a regular Republican runs in Connecticut, why is anybody anywhere else going to give a damn? I don’t even know why anyone in Connecticut would care. What’s he going to change?”
Obviously this is a strong play by Schiff to win Republican votes by insulting voters choices for leadership (as well as the voters’ gall for choosing to vote at all, an idea clearly offensive to Schiff).
To recap, Schiff has failed to vote, even for long-time winning Republican candidates, because he mistakenly thinks Republicans can’t get elected and no one cares about those who do. He thinks not voting is a virtue in that it excludes him from culpability for the consequences of actions officials have taken while governin, even though this runs counter to middle school level civics education. Between a lack of knowledge of how citizenry is supposed to work and a lack of elementary knowledge of Connecticut’s recent political history, Peter Schiff looks like an uneducated, arrogant crank who is not ready to be a viable candidate for Senate in Connecticut. The strong support he receives from Ron Paulites from outside of Connecticut may make him a financial force to be reckoned with in the Republican primary, but I can’t see how Connecticut voters will appreciate being treated like a bunch of rubes as Schiff exposes his ignorance about the state to them while asking for their vote.