He calls himself an "average-looking, low-profile, high-energy idealist" who has "four children any parent would be proud of," but Jack Gargan is angry. Really angry.
Here's the way he put it in a full-page advertisement that has appeared in 158 U.S. newspapers this fall:
"I'M OUTRAGED THAT . . .
"I'M INCENSED EVERY TIME . . .
"I'M LIVID WHEN . . .
"I'M EVEN MORE LIVID WHEN . . .
"I'M FED UP WITH . . .
"I'M SHOCKED THAT . . .
"I'M REALLY HACKED OFF THAT . . .
"BUT I'M NOT GOING TO GIVE IN TO THOSE CLOWNS!"
"Those clowns" are members of Congress, and what Gargan is angry about is the way he says they raise their pay, fatten their pensions, abuse franking privileges, enact giveaway programs, raid Social Security, take political action committee money, caused the savings and loan debacle and committed any number of other offenses that Gargan rails against in a 1,500-word diatribe.
Gargan's solution is Throw the Hypocritical Rascals Out, or T.H.R.O. Inc., a nonprofit organization the 59-year-old retired insurance agent set up with $45,000 of his retirement funds.
His advertisement includes a coupon on which readers can pledge to vote against all incumbents -- even the few he acknowledges are good -- and for challengers who promise to limit terms of office and engage in deficit spending only in times of real national emergency.
"We're not endorsing any specific candidates," Gargan said. "We just want to start from a clean slate. Anybody we can get can't do any worse."
About 40,000 like-minded Americans have donated an estimated $300,000 to Gargan's Tampa-based organization, he says. That's enough to pay for dozens more ads between now and Nov. 6.