Politicians are going to tend to be corrupt and full of shit by the simple nature of the job, every election is like a beauty pageant, what gets people to vote for a candidate is not necessarily brains or qualifications. If a tall candidate who is unqualified and kind of an ass runs against a short candidate who is remarkably qualified and not an ass, the tall candidate just by merit of being taller (and thus seeming more credible) probably has a sharp advantage. If the qualified candidate is under 5 feet tall it’s pretty much a sure win for his glue-sniffing opponent.
So due to our psychology-rather-than-intellect approach to voting, politicians who can get elected on looks or with emotional hooks without the need for substance or nuance are often as intelligent and capable as miss teen south carolina. When asked for a comment over a year later on what went wrong btw she replied that she had an “outer body experience” – I couldn’t have put it better myself. Note also that the crowd readily applauded rather than giggling hysterically or staring slack-jawed which would be more appropriate responses.
But yeah, our political system sucks. But I wanted to point out that while democrats and republicans both suck in their own unique and special ways, the republican party has become the personification of the type of politics I mentioned above. Because while this kind of corruption happens on it’s own as a byproduct of human failings, the republican party leadership actually strongly encourages it by enforcing a uniform party platform and appealing to a very narrow base of corporate donors promoting their economic interests and evangelicals voting based on social issues like abortion, gay marriage etc. This isn’t just how the cookie crumbles, it’s actually enforced by the party. There is no room for disagreement or original thought in the republican party, they marginalize anyone who breaks with the political strategy of the leadership (think ron paul) and actively fund people to run against the ones that step out of line. As a result the elected republicans in america are made up of 1) the occasional nuanced, intelligent candidate who has to conceal or lie about their positions to get elected and go along with the party if elected, which doesn’t seem to happen often, 2) corporate whores who promise to sell america to the highest bidder in order to get campaign contributions, and 3) 1-dimensional people whose appeal is mainly superficial (and often inane) but who have the right stance on conservative social issues – these tend to be the most vapid candidates of the three.
I looked at the republican field and wondered who I would vote for if I had to pick one of the plethora of candidates that have alternately lead in the polls, and I concluded the one I’d probably vote for is the guy who believes in magic underwear. That is the lesser of twelve evils.
Republican candidates by merit of this narrow, uniform strategy don’t even hardly have to have a platform because they only seem to care about the concerns of those two groups – evangelicals and corporations (and they seem to be simply using one to help the other). The last two elections the republican candidates had no energy policy besides “give the oil companies whatever they want”. Or to quote the McCain camp, “drill baby drill”. Getting us independent of mid-east oil and balancing the budget and reforming healthcare and other routine maintenance of our civilization is an afterthought because unborn babies are going to die and men will make out with each other and barrack obama and his “czars” will raise your taxes unless you vote republican. The republican electoral strategy is, more often than not, “fear fear fear fear tax cuts.”
I am honestly not partisan, I would gladly vote for a republican if they were the better of two choices. But the party, by appealing to fundamentalism, fear and the self-interest of the top 2% exclusively for so long, has become a party populated almost entirely with fundamentalist, paranoid and wealthy constituents. They’ve driven independent thinkers and intellectuals away from the party entirely because they’re harder to win over, there’s no one emotional button you can push to make 20 million of them vote for you automatically. You actually have to have an intelligent response to countless nuanced questions and really know your stuff. One symptom of this is that there is no such thing as a liberal republican anymore, but there are plenty of liberal and conservative democrats.
The slackass approach of consistently only ever going for or showing interest in the low-hanging fruit (by which I mean constituents who are the most numerous and easiest to win over) and attacking anyone who steps out of line really isn’t doing the country any good, and what probably started out as an electoral strategy is now actually what the party has become. The tail is now wagging the dog.
Anyway, just what I was thinking about today.