The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

24 May 2006

Thriving in a culture of corruption

Those thieving, conniving, unprincipled bastards! Precisely whom we want in office, says Matt Barr:

[Y]ou want to elect the type of people who sweat, pant and otherwise secrete over the idea of being elected to something. This accomplishes a couple things. It ensures to the best extent possible, which isn't ever much, that once elected they'll do what's necessary to get re-elected, which is often what most of his constituents want him to do. Also, it removes him from the pool of people you might have to deal with on a daily basis. Since most Congresspersons are lawyers, all the better.

Power-hungry, corrupt, selfish people make the best governors (small 'g') and legislators. They're generally transparent. I know of no serious person who's been fooled into believing the Senate is full of statesmen and the House is the People's Chamber. Start electing the kind of people you want to be in charge and you might start giving them the benefit of the doubt. (You see this happen sometimes, especially this century, if you catch my drift, in the presidency.)

But what about Doing the Right Thing?

If power-hungry, corrupt, selfish governors and legislators don't do what their constituents want them to do so as to get re-elected, the other alternative will not be doing something unpopular but right, it will be doing something unpopular but a felony. You might object that we want people in government doing what's unpopular but right, to which I say, then you don't want a President and a legislature, you want a king.

Ah, if only those damned citizens could be made to do what they're told to do. (It may be literally impossible to count how many Federal programs are based upon sheer blackmail: you want your funding, you do this. The proper response, which is "Blow it out your ass," is seldom forthcoming.)

And there's the ongoing problem of pork, which is defined as "any governmental expenditure not in my district." It's an election year, which means the voice that will be heard most often is the voice of Janet (Miss Jackson if you're nasty): "What have you done for me lately?"

For the cynic, this is a wild and wondrous time. I'm amused at the possibility of the Democrats actually winning control of one house or the other — perhaps even both! — because conservatives are supposedly threatening to stay home rather than endorse the current collection of feckless Republicans. This was, of course, predicted by that wise old populist/left-wing nutball [choose one] Jim Hightower, who said: "If the gods had meant us to vote, they would have given us candidates." Me, I don't bet against the gods. They can be downright vengeful.

I suppose, in aggregate, this makes me the Anti-Charlie Brown: People I love, but mankind gives me a stiff pain. Not that I have any greater success with girls with red hair.

Posted at 6:24 AM to Political Science Fiction