ORLANDO – Tim Cox spend 25 years working in the high tech industry, developing software. It was a strong and lucrictive career – and one he decided to walk away from in 2005.
“I just abandoned my career,” said Cox, a resident of Texas.
What he ultimately decided to go was get involved in politics, but not by running for office or forming a political action committee to try to steer congressmen and senators to vote a particular way. Instead, Cox decided he wanted a much more ambitious goal: to replace all 435 members of Congress in a single election cycle.
“We have a completely out of control government,” Cox said. “GOOH is a plan to replace the incumbents in Congress.”
What the former software developer did was form GOOH – or Get Out of Our House, a grass roots organization working to remove every member of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2012 election. What he’s created, he said, is the mechanism for replacing incumbents with something entirely new: citizen legislators who have no experience in the field of politics and no single issue they’re advocating, but rather a desire to take the nation’s Capitol away from the hands of longtime incumbents who have driven up the nation’s debt with reckless spending – a habit he blames on both parties.
“It all boils down to we have politicians in office, and 95 percent of our incumbents are re-elected every two years,” he said. “You know the system is broken.”
With the GOOH effort, “It’s a system, it’s a process for selecting new representatives.”
How it would work is simple. GOOH would recruit candidates in all 50 states to challenge their congressmen. It wouldn’t matter if they wanted to run as Democrats or Republicans.
“GOOD is not partisan,” Cox said. “We don’t take a position on any issue.”
Instead, it encourages people who don’t have links to the current system – state lawmakers, lobbyists, attorneys at firms representing either leading politicians or special interest groups – to run and help save a system that’s been ruled too long by inside players.
“The way you beat the two parties is through the primaries,” Cox said, adding that he hopes to run 435 candidates in next year’s congressional primaries.
The reason Cox is targeting primaries is gerrymandering. That’s the process whereby state legislators design congressional districts for maximum partisan gain: in other words, if they want to elect Republicans, put design districts with as many registered Republican voters as possible, or if they hope to elect Democrats, do the same process in reverse.
“Gerrymandering is the core problem here,” Cox said, adding that it means politicians pick their voters, not the other way around.
In 2010, Republicans picked up 63 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, a sweeping victory. But even with that strong GOP victory, Cox noted that the vast majority of incumbents still got back in, meaning the system changed a lot less than people assume.
“The experience of the people that are up there now is absolutely worthless,” Cox said. “The Republicans were just voted in to cut spending, that’s what they were sent there for, but they can’t even find $100 billion to cut out of a $4 trillion budget.”
What the nation needs, Cox said, is “true citizen representatives” who haven’t already been tainted by the system.
“There is no experience required to go up there and do this job,” he said, adding that GOOH is also encouraging its recruits to quit the job after their first term so a new batch of citizen lawmakers can take over.
“We wanted people with limited terms,” he said. “Our supporters must favor term limits. We’re trying to shift the political paradime.”
This morning, Cox was a guest on The Guetzloe Report on the Phoenix Network radio station. Cox said he hopes to spread the message about GOOH and to recruit candidates by encouraging people to log on to the group’s website, GOOH.com, and complete a questionnaire to see if they qualify as a strong citizen representative.
“I think both parties are on the verge of extinction,” he said. “It’s kind of like the typewriter. We plan to run 435 candidates and have a national campaign. Career politicians have not done us well. If you go back to 2000, the Republicans had complete control over both branches of government and they ran up a huge deficit. The Obama administration came in and did the same thing. The country wants fiscal responsibility. Neither party is willing to do that.
“What we need to do,” he added, “and this is a great metaphor for computers, is say, ‘Let’s hit the reset button.’ “
Cox, who describes himself as a conservative-leaning independent, said GOOH already has 90,000 members and he expects that number to rise to 5 million by 2012.
“The reason this can and will work is social networking,” he said. “There’s 435 franchises being built.”
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