April 03, 2006

 

Politics in Action

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...Local and state politics boil down to a basic concept: acquire as many tax dollars for your constituents as humanly possible. Some politicians hustle and kiss butt to secure the monies for various projects—often pork—but others hand it out even if it doesn’t exist.
...State Representative Keith McCall of Pennsylvania, who has previously come under fire for partaking in the legislature’s illegal pay raise scam, claimed to have delivered $1 million to a small town in Carbon County, not surprisingly only a few months before an election in which he’s running. The money was said to be for a new municipal building and fire station. Many of the townspeople were elated, but a local reporter smelled something strange (and no, it wasn’t the natural odor of the town).
...Newspaperman Bill White looked into the matter and discovered that the $1 million didn’t actually exist. The governor’s office told White that the money wasn’t appropriated by the state House Democratic Caucus (members of the caucus refuse to comment on it). The second possibility was that the money came from what is known as “walking around money.” Walking around monies (WAMs) are handed out by politicians to their constituents before the funds are actually agreed upon by anyone, usually a few hundred to a few thousand dollars at a time for public relations. Obviously a sum of $1 million isn’t something with which one walks around and hands out at will.
...McCall refuses to talk about the matter (similar to his refusal to discuss the illegal pay raise); the House Democratic Caucus refuses to talk about the matter; the constituents…well, wait a minute. Where do the constituents stand on this matter? This is where my concern grows.
...Let’s consider the case of Tom Delay in Texas. Delay, whose ties to the corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff were well-known, was indicted and forced to step aside as majority leader. He still managed to win the primary for his district early last month.
...In the case of Keith McCall, my gut instinct tells me that a similar situation will occur. He’ll be competing against a challenger whose campaign strategy has essentially been that of asking the voters if they really want McCall after all that he has done. Some of the locals would be more than happy to answer in the affirmative.
...A few months ago, a local paper—basically a rag that is one step above a high school publication, but a wonderful way to gauge the sentiments of my neighbors—published a letter-to-the-editor which explained the author’s adamant belief that Representative McCall was a good man, and that his voting record should not be used against him.
...A politician’s voting record shouldn’t be used against him? That’s kind of like saying that a baseball player’s low batting average and limited defensive ability shouldn’t be used against him when determining whether or not to keep him on the roster, isn’t it?
...Is this what a representative republic is? Is it nothing more than a high school student council for adults where actions mean nothing and just liking the politician in question makes him/her a worthy candidate? Are we a country of voters who enjoy liars, cheaters, and thieves, but enjoy even more the suavity with which they do the lying, cheating, and stealing?
...I’m willing to bet that each of us knows a Tom Delay or Keith McCall, no matter the level of government about which we’re talking. Heck, I have three on my town’s council alone. This relates to the suavity situation, though. During the last election my town had an astonishing number of candidates, but the majority of the honest ones—basically the ones whom I would trust if I were next to them in a foxhole in the midst of a battle—didn’t survive the primary. Several of those who did survive—who ultimately became the present council members—were the ones who lack ethics and have a history of engaging in corrupt tactics. To their credit, they’re quite smooth with their crookedness.
...Representation indeed.

5 Comments:

Blogger amy said...

Suavity. Love that word.

This subject has pissed me off since I started studying politics way back in high school, and I could probably comment ad nauseum about it here (but for your sake, I won't). However, I would like to at least say that the quandary I find when researching politics and the motivation behind the voting behaviors of our citizenry is exactly what you pointed out toward the end: they say they don't want sleezy politicians yet they elect them anyway. Tom DeLay has been that way for EONS yet he's never had a problem getting re-elected. Why is that? Same goes for the old method of using dirty campaign ads on TV: studies show people HATE them, yet those same studies show that they WORK.

Clearly, there isn't just a problem with those running for office, but also with the people putting them there. In the end, the blame lies there.

April 04, 2006  
Blogger Legally Insane said...

"A politician’s voting record shouldn’t be used against him?" not even a donkey's ass could squirt out anything more damn foolish than that mularky...

what, praytell, do these idiots think should be used against a politician then?

- their religious beliefs?
- what kind of a car they drive?
- their sign under the zodiac?
- sex appeal?

almost makes me glad that i live in china now...

April 05, 2006  
Blogger Legally Insane said...

what's a few million here or there when we have $29 billion in pork to spend...

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12169524/

April 05, 2006  
Blogger J.P. said...

I wasn’t even sure that “suavity” was a real word until I hit my trusty dictionary. That was the best way to describe the phenomenon of voters and their “we hate you, but we’ll still vote for you” mentality.

DL, I don’t want to sound condescending, but I live in an area with an abnormal percentage of donkey assess. I think that it was a conspiracy to alter the voting patterns of this region; ship in the donkey asses and push out everyone else—except for the asses already here.

Wait a minute…I’m still here. Damn.

As for pork, I’ve been a fan of Citizens Against Government Waste for years. As for this new round of pork spending, I now realize that I can start a museum with any theme to it and I can probably find some politician to support it. I mean, $500,000 for a teapot museum?! And $1 million for water-free urinals?!

The best one was $13.5 million for a World Toilet Summit. That one might be more important than we realize because there seems to be more shit every day.

April 08, 2006  
Blogger amy said...

And we thought nothing would be able to top the biosphere in Iowa ...

April 10, 2006  

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