Ederik Schneider Online

Friday, October 16, 2015

Free Association: Sheldon Richman- The Anti-Politician Politician

Aint that the truth-
This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

"The anti-politician politician." Not my line, but I guess it would be someone who is a politician, but doesn't like status-quo politics. Someone who speaks freely, doesn't come off as being bought and sounds like they're running for office for the coal industry, or the environmental lobby. Whose not afraid to look at independent facts and research and just don't go by the party-line. Someone who of course has a lot of things in common with their party, but goes against them when they're clearly wrong. In other words someone whose last name is not Clinton, or Bush. Not sure that politician exists at least who is running for president in one of the major political parties. Senator Bernie Sanders, might be the closest, but he's been in Congress for over twenty-four years now and is a career politician.

Actually all five Democratic presidential candidates have served in at least one chamber of Congress. Martin O"Malley, who was a big city mayor in Baltimore and Governor of Maryland, would be the exception to that. Bernie Sanders, sixteen years in the House and now almost nine in the Senate. You go over to the Republican Party and you'll find, yes Donald Trump. But he wants to be President of the United States, as much as Pope Francis wants be an Atheist. His campaign is clearly about him and he sees a faction of the Republican Party the old Silent Majority that feels left out in American politics and the country as a whole. And he is speaking their language right now. And will continue to speak their language until he finds a better group of people to pander to.

I guess you could call Carly Fiorina an anti-politician politician, but not from a lack of trying. But because she hasn't won an election yet. Ben Carson, brain surgeon and by a lot of counts at least as it has to do with medicine and education he seems pretty bright. But at least to me it doesn't sound like much more than a right-wing hipster (if there is such a thing) who speaks in catch phrases. Who uses a lot of what could be called grand rhetoric, but that doesn't have much meat in the language. Who uses catch phrases to try to bring people to his side on right-wing social issue positions. Apparently unaware that hipsters tend to be pretty young and liberal-libertarian on most social issues. Americans might say they want an anti-politician politician. But its only when politicians make their positions clear and speak from the heart which is when they lose.

I at least and George Carlin would be with me on this, see Americans voters as much if not a bigger problem than politicians themselves. You only get to being a career politician by getting elected and reelected over and over. And unfortunately the way politicians get reelected over and over is telling voters what they want to hear and then doing something else when they get reelected. And making it look like they wanted to do the things they ran on, but that wasn't possible, so they had to settle. When the fact was they had no plans to act on the positions that they originally supported. With voters at home actually buying that like they buy a bottle of water or something and not putting much thought into what they were sold.

If Americans want better politicians, then they have to vote for better more candid people. And not try to fire them simply based on one vote or policy, even if those positions are incredibly unpopular. Because a lot of times doing the right thing in American government is unpopular at least at the time. President Harry Truman, knew this by heart. If politicians feel they can do the right thing and take tough stances on key issues without the fear of losing their job and having to work for a living, they'll do that. Because who wants to be an accountant, or teach for a living, or some other really hard where the money isn't great, when they can make 150,000 dollars a year, with three months or more of paid vacation every year. Where you get a week off for holidays. Voters, need to be smart and do their homework and know who they're voting for and let that person do their job. That is the only way you get better politicians and better government.