Posts Tagged ‘Russ Feingold’

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WHERE HAVE ALL THE STATESMEN GONE?

July 1, 2011

“So are you going to do a ‘Rants and Observations’ post on the Anthony Weiner scandal?”

“I’m still too pissed off about it to write anything, but a post will be coming soon. I want to look at the larger picture, not just this one incident.”

“The larger picture?”

“Yeah. We have very few true statesmen left in congress. Most of these guys now act like spoiled rock stars.”

As I left my friend Geoff’s home, I thought about all the scandals that have plagued our government, keeping our elected officials from doing the work we sent them to do.

When I started digging, I found that no administration is free of scandals, and in the last 30 years, two administrations – Ronald Reagan’s and George W. Bush’s – were at the top of the list with Clinton’s coming in third. Obviously, one-term administrations had fewer, but as you go back before Reagan, you’ll find that even two-term (and three-term) administrations had far fewer scandals than we have today.

So this begs the question: Why? 

The answer?

Money.

In much the same way rock stars have their “groupies,” so do politicians.  Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Politicians have been playing to the cameras for decades and, if you look at the number of congressional members that are multi-millionaires, you begin to understand how these scandals originate.

As we continue down the path of larger and larger monetary contributions to campaigns with a reluctance to reveal sources and amounts, this issue will only get worse. Add to that the Supreme Court ruling that large (and often multi-national) corporations can now donate unlimited funds to campaigns as long as they are not directly tied to them, and you now have politicians working primarily on behalf of these constituents. If their efforts are successful, they are rewarded by being well-funded and most often re-elected time and again, thus exposing themselves to even more money and giving them even more power, all of which are aphrodisiacs for some women. Good looks, personality and character have nothing to do with this “attraction.” As a politician’s career continues to rise (no pun intended), so does his list of groupies. If he is younger than most of his peers, and he is outspoken enough to draw even more attention to himself, his groupie list grows exponentially.

It does not appear that the reverse is true. We seldom, if ever, hear of sexual scandals involving congressional women.

Sadly, money and power seem to be the over-arching motivator once our officials are elected to office. While their intentions may be sincere at the outset of their initial campaign, they learn very quickly, if elected, that the game is not played that way on the inside. From the time they take office, they are fundraising for their next election. In addition, they are also fundraising for others and expected to raise funds for their party as well. They must meet certain monetary goals on a regular basis. If they fall short, they will not get a seat on this or that committee or be invited to certain functions. And in the next election, they may not have the support of their party leaders. Add to this the reciprocation that must take place to the people who put them in office (large donors taking priority) by voting on their behalf and you realize the pressure is always on.

It is not surprising that under this pressure, some politicians often resort to un-statesmen like conduct (to say the least) to relieve their “stress.” This does not justify their actions by any means. It simply explains them for those of us who do not live that lifestyle. And as much as we’d like to say we would never do these things if we were in their situations, we can’t.

But we can be thankful that in the 1990’s, Bill Clinton didn’t have the ability to “tweet.” 🙂

Whew. You dodged a bullet there, didn’t you Bill?

Sincerely,

www.MichaelKontras.com

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