Thursday, December 11, 2008

Shy Cao?

Michelle Krupa wrote a nice piece in the Times-Picayune this past Sunday about Anh "Joseph" Cao's upset victory and how he now plans to appeal across ideological divides in representing heavily Democratic LA Congressional District 2 in Washington, DC. Towards the end of the piece, there's this little gem:

For his part, Cao said he will need "support from everyone" as he heads to Capitol Hill, and even made an open call for resumes from people interested in working for him.
My first thought was, hey, maybe I ought to send him my resume! After all, I am a Democratic blogger who endorsed him publicly. And maybe he could use my expertise and knowledge as an academic who's engaged with the local Latino community! But, of course, I know better. It was sincere and sweet of Mr. Cao to make that gesture, but surely he must know that the GOP will politely, but firmly, crush any kind of bi-partisan collaboration in the consultant/staffing department. Unless Cao really does have the spine to stand up to the GOP, he has to realize that the local New Orleans GOP establishment, having lived in the consulting/staffing wilderness, will not think too kindly if Cao gives a coveted employment plum to a -- gasp! -- Democrat! ... But I was really intrigued by the last two paragraphs of Krupa's piece:
And he asked for tolerance from constituents for what he described as a bashful streak that may paint him at times as ill-suited for the office he secured Saturday.

"I'm an extremely hard worker," Cao said. "But I'm somewhat shy, so if I meet people in the streets and I don't happen to shake their hands, it's not because I'm arrogant or stuck up, but sometimes it's because of my shyness."
It's not necessarily a good thing to admit to shyness in the rough-and-tumble of Washington politics; but I have to say that I find the humbleness and intense sincerity behind this admission of vulnerability to be refreshing. I've shaken Mr. Cao's hand a number of times, and I think he's being a bit modest here about the extent of his shyness; but he's a real human being who is not a flesh-presser and showcase photo-op fake. And I like that about him.

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