Sunday, October 13, 2013

Who is the Idiot?


I’m a one man idiot.” Eddie Izzard

If the DC Mayor is caught, on tape, smoking crack with a hooker, and is arrested and sent to jail and then is reelected when he gets out, who is the political idiot?


The American public ends up reelecting 94% of the congress.  94% retention with a less than 10% approval rating!?! Proof that having a governing body govern its own body is perhaps not in the best interest of those ultimately being governed by the body. 



So how does all this work? How do the rest of us get a job where we do almost nothing except arrange for what is in our future best interest? Since I have only a passing acquaintance with politics, let’s work together and try to unravel this conundrum.  In the noble tradition of our ancestors, claim a spot by the fire, participate in an open discussion and then when it gets contentious, smack each other over the head with sticks.

 
 
Logically, I would think the candidate with best ideas or with a record of loyalty to a good cause or with unimpeachable integrity would get elected. I would be incorrect. Well obviously you say.  What an idiot to even think that.

 

The candidate with the most money wins. Don’t you know integrity is irrelevant? Buying the appearance of integrity while buying the appearance of your opponent’s duplicity, now that is what you need.



So how do we get the money so we can buy some integrity?  (I see you rolling your eyes.) Well, it’s not from soliciting individual donors. 

 

Corporations and lobbies will throw down big money but only to candidates they think can win and since the incumbent is the most likely to win, they get the money which practically ensures that they will win because they have the money. You following along?



Hold up. So your telling me that our elected officials might have loyalties other than to their constitutes? But that’s not why they were elected!  



(Eye roll and a sigh) Yes, that is true, if you are in a Junior High Civics class. 

 


But then, sooner or later the elected official will pass legislation in favor of the campaign donors and not in the best interest of their home communities.  Then the voters will toss them out, right? A little patience, a little vote to subsidize big oil, a little vote to slash funding to schools and then we swoop down and snatch the seat away.  I guess I can wait a bit.


 
(Complete head roll before taking that one on.) You really don’t have any idea what the voting public is like do you? The longer the political dinosaurs are on the hill, the more privileges and power they have. It’s not the freshmen that run the prime committees. So even if your Congressman has screwed the district over, it’s still better to put up with them in office and suck of their expanded ability to acquire pork than elect someone new who can’t access any Federal funds.


 
Plus, in case you haven’t noticed, the majority of voters don’t pay attention to the specifics.  They do, however, pay attention to the trashing of the other political party.  Go ahead and take a poll.  They would be happy to explain that even if their elected official didn’t vote for the local interests, it was obviously because the other party made it impossible for them to do so.  

 


I might be getting the hang of this.  Lie as much as possible, blame the other party and base your decisions on maximizing your off shore bank account.

 
 
Yes! Now you are getting it. You get a seat on the hill and you are practically bullet proof.



But barring a direct tactical hit on the Capital Building, getting a seat doesn’t sound very likely.

 

Well, there are two exceptions, but they are rare.  One, because congress will never vote for term limits, even though, if you listen to them, they are all successful business men sacrificing to do their public duty but anticipating returning back to their true entrepreneurial love. There are a portion of old codgers who die in office, vacating a seat and leaving the hill toes up.
 


More likely, a sexual or financial scandal becomes public.  And I say becomes public because, it would appear that a majority of politicians are engaging in these behaviors and only the extraordinarily stupid or unlucky get caught.  



For example, how many times has texting been the downfall of an elected official? More than once right? But photos of congressional junk still freely flow through electronic media. 

 

Well that was very fairly depressing.
 


“Congress, proudly defending the Status Quo long after the Quo has lost its status.”

 

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