Monday, August 24, 2009

From Cynicism And Immorality To The Moral And Ethical

Is it surprising that some politicians
"don’t want to do the right thing because their self-interest points them toward doing something bad. But it’s impossible to imagine these same Senators stabbing a homeless person in a dark DC alley to steal his shoes. And what’s more, the entire political class would be (rightly!) shocked and appalled by the specter of a Senator murdering someone for personal gain. Yet it’s actually taken for granted that “my selfish desires dictate that I do x” constitutes a legitimate reason to do the wrong thing on important legislation."
Perhaps the possibility of losing the next election is the catalyst for this cynical approach to governing but I don't think there is a direct relationship between what the politician does and what the voters know, believe or understand. The way the commentatorate frames the politicans actions is how the voters understand what happened. It is not the wrath of the voters politicians are afraid of it the rhetoric of the pundits.

David Frum has recently laid out a polemic for the right and has been strongly shunned and criticized for his stand on a principle of what he believes is the right thing to do. Most analysis of his actions are framed in the form of Apostasy. Turning on a politician is much more appealing to the pundit because they know who they are talking to, the pols constituents.

We don't have politicians that have the long term goals of the country in mind. If the oath congress takes to the constitution meant something they would be less willing to fold to pundits or voters in favor of the "moral and ethical dimensions of political disputes and political action." Perhaps this is an argument for term limits but would we get better people? We should also ask when were we at a place where the "moral and ethical" trumped the cold political choices?
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