Political Free Agency

The subtitle of this book "The Future of Working for Yourself" creates a different image of work than the one I had when I worked at Ma Bell for 27 years. My image changed though when I retired in 1998 and worked as a consultant (i.e. for myself) for the following seven years. For the first time I felt both the insecurity and the freedom that comes from a self-employment of sorts.

Recently heard someone describe the anti-incumbent primary winners as "free agents". I am not sure what he meant by that.

It did get me to pondering what it means to be a "free agent". Here is one definition:
In professional sports, a free agent is a player whose contract with a team has expired and who is thus eligible to sign with another club or franchise.
In that vein their are several types of free agents:
  1. Unrestricted free agent: Player without a team.
  2. Restricted free agent: Player is free to solicit offers from other teams but their team can keep them by matching an offer.
  3. Undrafted free agent: Player eligible for the Draft but not selected.
So I am wondering how these types of free agents would map to our current cadre of political candidates. Seems that most of these agents might fit into #2.. they might say that they are free but, in reality, they are indebted to some "party" - GOP, DEM or TEA. Some of these candidates fit into the third category.. they are untested and their allegiances are unknown.. they might be dangerous in a political sense.

Yet I do think that there are some that truly fit into #1.. truly independent people who will stay true to themselves and their constituencies. Granted, in this day where a lot of money is needed to get elected, it does seem that no candidate is a true free agent. To get elected these days one needs support from all sorts of special interests. Maybe no one is a true free agent? What do you think?


  1. No one who has a shot at getting elected can be a true free agent. The system is degenerated into "who has the most money wins." To win one must have support from special interest. After, all special interest wants their agenda and has the money to pay for it. It would be an oddity to see a truly unrestricted free agent elected to top national offices.

    I am certain at times it happens on local levels. I wouldn't think it happens on state levels, though I do realize that anything is possible. Forget about it on the national level.

    As usual, good post!

  2. Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is (just as in baseball) an unrestricted free agent doesn't get to play. You have to be on a team to play.

  3. A friend on FB defined a free agent as one who plays "for whomever will pay him/her the most money". Something to think about.


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