Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Meet the general who wants to succeed Bill Young in Congress

SEMINOLE — If life were a Frank Capra movie no doubt Mark Bircher would be on his way to Congress to succeed the late C.W. Bill Young.

Mr. Bircher Goes to Washington would be the journey of an accomplished patriot and political neophyte trying to overcome a system dominated by consultant-driven politicos. Guided mainly by principles and reverence for the Founding Fathers, Citizen Bircher would eschew safe sound bites and buck the odds against veteran politicians and win a seat in the U.S. House.

In reality that plot may be too farfetched, even for a commercial pilot/lawyer/scholar/retired Marine Corps Reserve brigadier general/former Blue Angel pilot accustomed to performing stunts at 700 mph. The 60-year-old general is accomplished, passionate, and idealistic. He is also breathtakingly naive about politics.

"If you ever run for office like this, you meet a lot of new people right away. Most of those new people don't get halfway through your first sentence without saying, 'How much money do you have, and how much money can you raise.' I say, 'Let's talk about my stance on the issues, and they say how much money do you have?' " said Bircher, who is far more comfortable discussing the writings of Baron de Montesquieu or Alexis de Tocqueville than what it takes to run a campaign.

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