If Joe Newman doesn't win this election, maybe at least he'll let you put him in your pocket and carry him around.
Grandpa Joe, a retired centenarian in Sarasota, has announced he's running for Congress this fall against local Republican Vern Buchanan, a car-dealership emperor whose crowning achievement in eight years in Washington is being anointed one of Congress' most corrupt members.
Does Newman have experience? Well, besides living through the Great Depression as a teenager, getting a degree from Notre Dame, helping set up the original Social Security program, and fighting decades ago for Indiana to create more school services for his mentally disabled daughter, oh, you know, not much.
"You learn through life you have certain responsibilities," he tells WFLA-TV. "And if you don't fulfill them, how can you look in the mirror?"
Later, after graduating from the University of Notre Dame, Newman got a job spreading awareness about a new federal program called Social Security.
"That was our job, to sell them why a program like Social Security is essential to the economy and to society," Said Newman. "You had the same attitudes: 'We don't want government involved.' And they forget what government is, they forget that government is society's tool to manage things."
Newman's platform is to turbo-boost Social Security, Medicare, and anti-poverty programs. "If people are saying, who is this fool at 101 and running? Call me a fool. I'm sorry, but I've got to get out and convince John and convince Jim: Hey, think!" he said. "What is the best thing our society can do and what is the responsibility of our society?"
So, yeah, by today's standards, he's an old socialist. Which likely explains why he's a write-in candidate: The Dems probably are afraid to throw money at a gerrymandered conservative district that's called an R+5 by the Cook Political Report.
But hey, it's nice to have an aw-shucks alternative to Buchanan's Rotarian dystopian ethics trainwreck. Now at least the faculty at New College and the retired circus folk of Sarasota have a candidate they can call their own!