They are indeed as bad as you think. Inept, indecisive, corrupt, out of touch.
Tag Archives: politicians
Just came across this post about Authenticity in politics. Potter makes some good points, but I think there’s something he’s missing.
“Authenticity” is one of those political buzzwords; it doesn’t actually mean anything. Voters don’t want a politician who is ‘authentic’ (whatever that means). What the voters want, what I think some people are trying to get at when they say ‘authentic,’ is someone whose concept of what the job is is at least similar to the voter’s.
That’s it. Not someone who is ‘honest’ or ‘authentic’ or ‘true to himself.’ Just someone whose view of what the office holder should be doing is similar to what the voter thinks the office holder should be doing.
Let’s assume most voters have some idea of what problems they would try to fix if they somehow found themselves holding high elected office. The details will vary depending on the particular voter, but let’s say our hypothetical voter has this mental ‘to-do’ list of what they would do if they had the power:
1. Create jobs.
2. Get ‘us’ out of [whatever war happens to be going on at the moment].
3. Reduce healthcare costs.
Etc. Basically, the voter may not have much idea how to go about actually fixing these problems, or achieving these goals, but pretty much every voter has some idea of what problems they think need solving.
This is where the disconnect comes in. Right or wrong, most voters think that most politicians’ to-do list after taking office looks more like this:
1. Pay off favors to corporate paymasters.
2. Pay off favors to special interest groups that donated a lot of money to my campaign.
3. Secure funds for next election.
4. Bang a few interns.
You may notice that there is little overlap between these two lists. That’s the problem. Voters don’t give a shit about ‘authentic.’ They just want someone who they think will actually try to solve the problems they see.
A politician who sees the job as being about solving problems, not about just getting elected.
Politicians–especially, though certainly not exclusively, Republicans–are focused more and more on serving the interests of corporations and the very rich. They have to be; it requires corporate sponsorship to get elected, and those favors have to be paid off.
As the focus on serving the rich, though, they are focusing on an ever smaller portion of the electorate. Right now, I’d say about 10%. Eventually, the other 90% are going to realize that they’re being screwed. When that happens, corporate-sponsored politicians will no longer be able to win an honest popular election.
What happens then?
My own take is that they’ll try and drive voter participation in the unserved portion of the electorate down to such a low level that they can win with just a few percent of the population. When that fails, the elections will become even less honest than they already are. When the rich and powerful can no longer take control of the seats of power by honest means, they’ll do it dishonestly. Bet on it.
The Guardian asks, “Did Republicans deliberately crash the US economy?
Duh. It’s not like they’re going to lose their houses or jobs. Why should the political leadership care how bad the economy is when they’re not going to take the blame? Winning is much more important.
Here’s a good piece on General Petraeus. I sometimes forget that everyone doesn’t know these things. Of course generals are more politicians with carefully crafted public images than genuine military leaders. Also, a ‘troop surge’ is what we used to call ‘reinforcements.’
Col. MacGregor is wrong about one thing, though. Roman generals, at least during the years of the Republic, weren’t battle-hardened professionals. They were politicians, taking a military command so they could start a war and further their civilian political careers. Their ambition and amateurish bumbling got a lot of good troops killed, and lost a lot of battles.
In other words, our Generals aren’t so different from the Romans.