Updated: Thursday, 21 Jan 2010, 10:39 PM CST
Published : Thursday, 21 Jan 2010, 7:14 PM CST
LIBERTY HILL, Texas (KXAN) - First things first. It's pronounced, "Go," not "Goo."
"That's how we know if you're in the club, if you call it, 'Go' or 'Goo,'" said GOOOH founder Tim Cox, of Liberty Hill in Williamson County. "And we all laugh; that's what happens when they let a computer guy come up with a name for something like this."
The letters stand for "Get Out of Our House" and the organization stands for replacing every single member of the U.S. House of Representatives with Independents who promise ahead of time to actually represent their constituents, something Cox says is not happening now. He is pushing the group's message online and in a book he wrote, called, Revolution! A New Plan for Selecting Representatives.
"It's the money in politics," he said. "It's the parties telling the politicians how to vote. It's the fact that they're interested in their own career before they think about you or I and the fact that there's no accountability. They'll say whatever they want to say to get elected and then they'll get up there and do just the opposite." (See the full interview with Tim Cox here)
Cox cites one Williamson County politician as a perfect example.
"Somebody like John Carter, right, he's a judge here in Williamson County; he's part of the good ol' boy network," he said. "They place him in there. Now he's been up there for six or eight or ten years. He had the gall to say this summer at one of his town halls that only God or his wife will term limit him. That's complete arrogance." (See the full interview with Tim Cox here)
In fact, term limits are a central issue in the GOOOH approach, but by no means, the only one. Each member of the organization is asked to donate $100. With a goal of 500,000 members, that would raise $5 million to fund a nationwide campaign for 435 candidates, one for each Congressional district. The candidates would be selected by a novel process. It is start with a questionnaire each member must fill out. There are 100 questions, designed to measure the person's political stripes.
For example, would you vote to legalize marijuana? Would you support a guest worker program for non-citizens? Would you vote for a national health care system? And would you vote to allow Americans to wear concealed handguns? The list, however, often seems to over simplify complex issues. One, for example, asks, "Will you vote for or against a guest worker program that allows non-U.S. citizens to work in the United States?" To work where, though? To do what? By non-U.S. citizen, does the question mean a person that's here now already or one that comes in the future? Do all the ones that are here now have to go home first? None of these issues are addressed in the question.
"The questions are trying to get you to declare what your position is on an issue and then you'll debate those points with your peers," Cox said. "It forces you to declare on which side of a line you stand. Are you for or against reducing foreign aid, by 'x' amount? Are you for or against a balanced budget amendment? Are you for or against the 'fair tax?' Those are all very fair questions. If you're going to go to office and represent me, how would you vote if you were there?"
"I don't expect bills to come up that will match those questionnaires," he said. "But based on the way you answer those, I get a really good feel for how you're going to vote on key issues when you're up there." (See the full interview with Tim Cox here)
At election time, GOOOH members from each Congressional district would be randomly sorted into pools of ten. Each pool would pick two of their number to send to the next round. Finally one candidate would emerge to challenge the political party nominees in each district.
The GOOOH candidates would have to agree to reject all campaign donations from special interest groups, to vote in accordance with the promises they made on the questionnaires, and to resign if they violate that promise without the permission of the members in their districts.
"The people are saying, 'I'm fed up with both parties,'" said Cox. "It's not just Republicans; it's not just Democrats. This isn't just an Obama backlash, right, because we just had a Bush backlash. It's a politician backlash. "We need representatives that will represent us, not ones that will represent the special interest money and not ones that will represent the political parties and not ones that are worried about their career. They need to be listening to the people and only the people. That's who they represent." (See the full interview with Tim Cox here)
Cox acknowledges that these are untested waters, and he worries some about devoting his life to a cause that could ultimately cause damage. He worries, but not that much.
"The worst thing that can happen is that we put 435 yahoos like you and me up there," he said. "Can we do any worse than what the folks up there are doing? Could we possible spend any more money? Could we possibly cause the postal service to lose more money or more people to come into our country illegally? There's no way we could make it any worse."