A recently announced conservative candidate for president is Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kansas). Brownback is openly proclaiming the need to restore God-centered values to the nation. His announcement speech almost sounded like an evangelistic appeal. But there is a major flaw in Brownback’s values and public performance. He has been virtually absent from Congress while he has been running around the country trying to build momentum for his candidacy in 2008. One has to wonder what values Brownback really holds to when Congress adjourned on October 4, 2006, and then began a new session in early January of ‘07. During that time period, of about eleven weeks, Brownback needed to show up for only a few days of work, but he skipped town entirely.

Then, when Congress began meeting again in 2007, Brownback missed all of the votes in the first full week of the new Congress. What is even more amazing is that this value oriented conservative senator was too busy to participate in the important senate discussions regarding ethics reforms. And Sam Brownback hasn’t been working much this week either, missing all of the votes on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. He planned to travel and campaign all week until press inquiries about his questionable absences forced him to cancel campaign trips to South Carolina and Florida the last two days.

In January of this year there have only been two weeks when votes in the senate were scheduled on every day from Monday to Friday. What should a candidate for president do? Dick Morris notes in his daily column today that “The three frontrunners—Hillary, Obama and McCain—have made sure that they take good care of their day job. Obama has a perfect attendance record and Hillary has only missed one day—when she took her recent trip to Iraq. As a member of the Armed Services Committee, the visit to the war zone, Pakistan, and Afghanistan was definitely legitimate Senate business, even if there was a deliberate political component to it. So, in effect, she, too, has a perfect record. Senator McCain has missed only two votes. One was the first vote of the new session—a resolution honoring Gerald Ford and the other was a confirmation of a judicial nomination on a day that he participated in a panel at the World Economic Conference in Davos, Switzerland.” You have to give credit where credit is due—Obama, Clinton and McCain all showed up for work, something Brownback has not done.

Dick Morris justly concluded in his opinion column that Sam Brownback’s attendance record “suggests arrogance—and stupidity—that doesn’t bode well for any serious candidate for President. He claims to be a leader, but has anyone told him that you can’t lead if you’re not there?”

But this “no-show” problem is not limited to Brownback. Senator Joe Biden has missed nine of the 40 votes so far this New Year as has Senator Chuck Hagel, a Republican who may also run for president. For a Congress that was supposed to hear the concerns of the voters last November it doesn’t appear that these men get the message at all. This is not a conservative or liberal problem, it is an ethics problem, at least to my mind. Can you imagine not showing up for work while you were out seeking another job at the expense of your present job? You wouldn’t last long. I suggest that voters ought to let these senators know that they have had enough of this “no-show” approach to the US Senate, a job that pays over $162,000 per year and includes many perks. And I further suggest conservatives and liberals alike take at hard look at what their favorite candidates claim to believe and what they actually do. You might be surprised at who really shows up for work in the Senate. I was surprised thus I plan to pay more attention in the coming weeks. I am tired of leaders who think we owe them something when the whole idea of an election is that they are serve to serve us in the Congress.

I read Barrack Obama’s book, The Audacity of Hope, a few weeks ago. I will comment on it at some future point. I will tell you this much now, since it is very appropriate to the above consideration. This man shows up. He works hard and he balances his family life with his public service work very well. This is one of a number of reasons why he strikes many of us as credible even if we disagree with his political views on some important issues. I don’t know much about Sam Brownback personally but I know that he wants to appeal to people with values like my own. So far he is not even close. 

Related Posts


  1. Helen February 3, 2007 at 6:29 am

    This is something that amazes me about some Christians.
    They are all talk about morality and values yet they seem to overlook the basics, such as – having a good work ethic and being a person whose integrity is seen in all aspects of his/her life.
    I would like those Christians to pay more attention to this:
    15:1 LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
    Who may live on your holy hill?
    2 He whose walk is blameless
    and who does what is righteous,
    who speaks the truth from his heart
    3 and has no slander on his tongue,
    who does his neighbor no wrong
    and casts no slur on his fellowman,
    4 who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the LORD,
    who keeps his oath even when it hurts,
    5 who lends his money without usury
    and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
    He who does these things will never be shaken.
    When it says “he who speaks the truth from his heart” I don’t think it means “he (or she) who complains about how evil ‘the world’ is” but rather, he (or she) who is never ever caught in a lie.
    And when it says “He who keeps an oath even when it hurts” I think that includes, showing up to work and doing my very best, because that’s what I’m being paid to do.
    No wonder people who aren’t Christians often have little respect for those who claim to be.

  2. Steven February 3, 2007 at 9:26 am

    Stones and aspersions. I humbly suggest that the Christian value of truth is important here as well. How can you give Hillary credit for missing votes while on an official trip to Iraq yet deny Brownback the exact same courtesy? Brownback’s vote count looks as it does because (according to the AP story) he missed the first week of votes while traveling, as a member of the Appropriations Committee, to Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. He missed that first week, and some subsequent votes because the new Senate leadership, to their credit changed the calendar to both start the year earlier and vote more frequently.
    I hope you see that it might be possible for Clinton to have more insight into the vote calendar with her party in charge than it was for Brownback to this point.
    You also said he cancelled his trip to Florida (where he is today) and South Carolina (which was yesterday) under pressure to make votes. There were no votes yesterday and none today. All of this information was garnered in less than one second through a Google news search and from the Senate web site; it wasn’t even hard to find.
    I sincerely hope these were honest mistakes on your part and not an attempt to disparage someone for your own political end, or maybe for Dick Morris’.
    In Christ,

  3. John H. Armstrong February 3, 2007 at 11:39 am

    You have every right to defend Sam Brownback and to correct my “errors” (which you have noted). But these few errors, which were rooted in a Dick Morris report as I noted, do not change the basic point that I made. Brownback, and others I noted, are often absent and this is a huge ethics issue for me and many others who want our senators to vote. Brownback can claim that he will represent high moral values but his actions speak too loudly in this particular instance.
    I apologize for the few mistakes I made, which you have rightly noted. I do not apologize for pointing out that Brownback argues for a high moral tone but seems to fail to face the public issues that he doesn’t seem to want to address. I still stand quite unimpressed with him, to be truthful.
    As for Obama, Clinton and McCain, you can say what you will but they have showed up and thus have been fastidious about being counted. I often oppose their votes but facts remain facts. As I noted, this is a non-partisan issue.

  4. Izzy February 5, 2007 at 1:27 pm

    “I read Barrack Obama’s book, The Audacity of Hope, a few weeks ago. I will comment on it at some future point. I will tell you this much now, since it is very appropriate to the above consideration. This man shows up. He works hard and he balances his family life with his public service work very well. This is one of a number of reasons why he strikes many of us as credible even if we disagree with his political views on some important issues.”
    I think what you meant to say was, “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy”, right?

  5. John H. Armstrong February 5, 2007 at 8:05 pm

    No Izzy, that is not what I meant to say at all. I meant exactly what I said. This man has his priorities right, he cares for his wife and children deeply, he loves his church, and he is a man who can be admired, black or white. There is nothing about race implied in my comments at all. He is, however, perhaps the most serious African-American candidate we have had so far. Time will tell, of course.
    I am curious as to why a lot of African-American leaders are not real big fans of Obama and some are even cool towards his candidacy. Can someone explain this to me?

  6. Izzy February 5, 2007 at 9:55 pm

    Sorry, John, it was meant as a joke due to Biden’s comments, but that’s not always easy to decipher when you don’t know someone and it is a blog entry.
    I really think Barak is an “inspiration” for many young, black males. Barak, it has been reported, was a “junkie” prior to turning around his life and now he is running for President. I hope his life is seen as an example of someone turning their self around, even it was by the proverbial “boot-straps”, and that this message would go to every high school kid that gets in trouble or dabbled in drugs or has a shady past.
    I would never support Barak, because I believe his political ideology is horrendous, but he does seem like an “upright” man.

  7. John H. Armstrong February 7, 2007 at 8:19 am

    Izzy, you have expressed my feelings completely. I do not intend to support Barrack but he is a good “role model” and his life was changed by his faith in Christ. These facts will be attacked by the Christian Right I suppose but never by me. These are among the many reasons I do not identify with the Christian Right, whatever it is.
    I take Barrack very seriously and believe he is a “straight shooter” in every way. His weaknesses will be attacked in due time but he is refreshing in so many ways.

Comments are closed.

My Latest Book!

Use Promo code UNITY for 40% discount!

Recent Articles