If you go
Tuesday, March 29
Marco Presbyterian Church
875 W. Elkcam Circle
Tim Cox is an unlikely political activist. A Texas-based computer scientist who helped create software for a spy satellite and the first credit card-reading gas pump, he decided to tackle America’s “crazy and out of control government” like he would any other technical problem.
Angered by a radio report he heard in 2005 that noted 95 percent of Americans are unhappy with government, yet 90 percent of incumbent politicians get re-elected, Cox started to look for a better solution. He’s the brainchild behind Get Out of our House, or GOOOH (pronounced ’Go’), a nationwide, non-partisan, grassroots movement to fire members of the House of Representatives — 435 of them in all — by electing them out of office in the 2012 elections.
Cox believes he’s like a lot of Americans. He’s frustrated with a government run by politicians he believes are bankrupting the nation, unwilling to compromise for the common good and that anarchy may prevail if left unchanged.
So to restore government, Cox wants to recruit true citizen representatives to run against incumbents for the U.S. House during the next election cycle. These candidates take a pledge to refuse money from special interests, answer only to their constituents and agree to term limits.
And Cox is setting his sights on Southwest Florida, where 500 GOOOH members have already been recruited on Marco Island. He and his supporters hope to gain as many as 5,000 members in District 14, currently represented by Rep. Connie Mack.
“The people in Washington no longer represent the people,” said Cox in a phone interview from Austin, Texas, where he was organizing a GOOOH rally. “They represent their party and they represent their career.”
Cox has developed a caucus-style system so that registered GOOOH members can choose GOOOH candidates who will represent them. The candidates won’t have to identify themselves as Republican or Democrat until after the process is complete. In some states, candidates will have to run as Independents or as a third party, although Cox is quick to point out that GOOOH is not a third-party initiative. He doesn’t have a problem with the current two-party system; he just wants to see reforms made.
“We’re trying to say that both of these parties are at fault, and neither one can resolve (America’s problems) because the only way they can get resolved is by giving power to the other political party.”
Despite elections earlier this year, which were widely hailed as a referendum on incumbents, according to Cox, only 4 percent of politicians who have served two terms or more were elected out of office, and only 12 percent of other incumbents lost their campaign. For Cox, in order for real change to occur, 30 to 40 percent of incumbents need to be replaced.
“These folks are morally and fiscally corrupting our system,” states Keith Flaugh, a full-time Marco Island resident who is directing GOOOH activities on the Island and in other parts of Florida.
After Flaugh, who describes himself as a “recovering Republican,” learned about the GOOOH movement last January, he spent a month researching the cause and decided to get involved. He’s organizing Cox’s Southwest Florida appearances, which will begin Tuesday at the Marco Presbyterian Church. The pair hope to introduce GOOOH, its mission and aims to as many people as possible, and identify potential citizen candidates.
“Southwest Florida is one of the best spots for us,” stated Cox. “Tourists and snowbirds hear about us then go home and tell their friends. It’s one of our single best ways to recruit.”
Florida has the second most popular state for GOOOH membership, behind Texas, according to Cox.
Both Cox and Flaugh are optimistic about GOOOH’s chances to make significant changes.
“Everywhere we go, the people that are looking for a solution, they’re on board,” Cox said. “It’s a common sense approach.”
Can ordinary citizen govern? Cox replies with a resounding ’yes’.
“Those people (elected officials in Washington) are no more capable of running this country than the ordinary person. We’ll identify some superb men and women who are capable of running this country.”
For the time being, Cox and his wife are self-funding the GOOOH effort. While Cox says he is not actively soliciting funds, he has accepted donations which are used to keep up the organization’s website and other social media initiatives. He says he’ll eventually ask members who join GOOOH to donate $100. The money will be earmarked to print and media advertisements for chosen candidates.
Cox says the one question he is routinely asked is, “Can this work?”
“The only way it will fail is if people don’t participate,” he stated, adding that with continued support, as many as 300 to 400 representatives could be replaced in next year’s election.
Flaugh, of Marco, is more direct in about what will happen to America if change is not made soon.
“If we don’t do this in the next two year, we can kiss off our republic.”