The words “establishment” and “outsider” are wield pretty fast and loose in presidential elections. This election is hardly unique. Not so sure we’re all on the same page though, so I thought I would clarify, at least, from my vantage point.
I’ll start with defining “outsider” by using myself as the example. I am someone who has never held public office, never worked for someone in public office, never had a friend in public office and except for noting a county councilwoman’s presence in a parking lot of the local grocers, I’ve never met someone in public office.
Then, there is the “establishment.” Not the dirty word “establishment,” but you know, the Republican establishment, Democratic establishment, Mass Media “establishment” (just go with it) which can be defined, from where I sit as voter, as a group of people with the same or similar ideological opinions (not using a dictionary here, just telling it like I see it). For example, I would group Rick Perry, Karl Rove and Ronald Reagan in to the Republican establishment. Hillary Clinton, Barak Obama and Rahm Emanuel in to the Democratic establishment.
But, there is another “establishment” which is not defined by political party (although, some may be defined as subjective opinion-makers masquerading as journalists). It is defined by actions or, more often than not, as the word establishment connotes, reaction (such as, adding earmarks to a bill because everyone else is doing it: “it’s ok because they’re mine”…think Rick Santorum or “I’m pro choice, no wait, who am I talking to? I mean, I’m pro family.” Or, 2008: “Mexicans? They should all be deported.” 2012: “My grandfather is Mexican.” (whisper) “Do you think that’ll get me the Hispanic vote?” Or, in a recent debate, “I’ve never seen that ad” and seconds later naming 5 things that were wrong in the ad…think Mitt Romney) and sometimes inaction (as in having self-proclaimed big ideas, but never accomplishing a thing…think Ron Paul). I believe the media-types call it, the “status quo?” They should talk, right?
This establishment type, we’ll call establishment type “B,” is someone who is only defined by the group with which they identify themselves and choose to be liked opposed to be effective. They choose to get in line with all the other establishment type B people, instead of exploring the road less traveled.
There is one Republican candidate who is a bona fide, faithful conservative. One who has worked in government, true, Rick Perry has 20 plus years of experience working his way up to leading the 13th largest economy in the world, but he is not defined by his office or swayed to drop his ideals because some “one” may not like him.
I read a great definition of Rick Perry the other day: one whose magnetic personality galvanizes people for some great cause. He can influence others not solely by his words but by his actions. He does what he preaches. He acts as a catalyst and his presence is enough to motivate people.
Rick Perry is an outlier of “establishment B.” Not quite an outsider, but definitely an outlier. He’s assimilated enough to work the establishment without the establishment working him. He is guided by social and economic conservative principles, not Party principles. Although no one in or around government can claim complete autonomic outsider status, Rick Perry is eons ahead of the current crop of Republican and Democratic candidates, from my vantage point.