Politicians -- Do any of them believe in anything?

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Politicians -- Do any of them believe in anything?

Postby titanicdaze » Thu May 01, 2008 4:06 am UTC

I recently had a knock-down, drag-out blowup of an argument with my father. He thinks some politicians have actual agendas not set by opinion polls. I say they are all guided by two basic axiomata: 1) Get Me To The Highest Possible Post In The Land. 2) Have Fun and Stay There As Long As I Can and May.

I just don't believe that they are anything but a very specialized mixture of Narcissism and Psychopathy with a little Corrupt Preacher (of the particular faith/lack of faith/cause their particular constituency adheres to) thrown in on the side. No real beliefs. That would get in the way of doing one of those mid-campaign 180º turns often necessary to win the race.

There's more than that behind my view, but I am interested in what others think, if only because I was so blown away by what I perceive as the complete naïevté of my neocon dad.

Please discuss. It will be enlightening, at least to me.

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Re: Politicians -- Do any of them believe in anything?

Postby TheBeeCeeEmm » Thu May 01, 2008 4:24 am UTC

I agree, as far as any people seeking higher offices. It's only usually the ones who are content to do their part as something smaller like mayor that I trust.

Sort of.
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Re: Politicians -- Do any of them believe in anything?

Postby SabreKGB » Thu May 01, 2008 4:27 am UTC

The vast majority of those who seek office shouldn't be allowed to have it. There are a few, a very few, who actually want to help and who won't be manipulated by the system itself to become professional politicians.

It's cause of this that i occasionally like to entertain the fancy of the "lottery" presidency. Someone is chosen at random, and if he doesn't want it, well so much the better.

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Re: Politicians -- Do any of them believe in anything?

Postby TheAmazingRando » Thu May 01, 2008 4:32 am UTC

I think there are a lot of people that enter politics primarily out of a genuine concern for the well-being of their country.
I don't think we've ever seen these people as presidential candidates with any shot at winning.
I also think that while all politicians have personal views (I don't think it's possible to be completely apathetic about all political positions, especially not for someone involved in politics), their own policies don't necessarily reflect them. I believe that most politicians have beliefs somewhat in line with their political party, or else they wouldn't choose to run with them, but I also believe that they are willing to forego their personal views for the sake of votes.

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Re: Politicians -- Do any of them believe in anything?

Postby 22/7 » Thu May 01, 2008 4:34 am UTC

Umm... the short answer is that you're wrong. Because of this part right here.
titanicdaze wrote:I say they are all guided by two basic axiomata: 1) Get Me To The Highest Possible Post In The Land. 2) Have Fun and Stay There As Long As I Can and May.
Let me go ahead and pull a few ridiculously conservative numbers out of my ass so that we can get a decent idea of what you're claiming. Let's say that roughly .01% of the American population is a politician of some sort (county, city, state, federal, whatever). That's 1 in every 10,000 people. Hi, I'm a teacher... I'm a doctor... I'm a construction worker... (same idea 9,996 more times)... I'm a politician. Let's ballpark the US population at something like 300 million. Ok, .01% of 300 million is ... (Start... programs... accessories... calculator...) 300 people. Ok, now we've got 3000 politicians in the US. It appears I've low-balled this estimate. Anyway, you've essentially claimed that the 3000 people who have all happened to choose the same profession are "all guided by two basic axiomata: 1) Get Me To The Highest Possible Post In The Land. 2) Have Fun and Stay There As Long As I Can and May." Do you see where the problem with that is?
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Politicians -- Do any of them believe in anything?

Postby Silas » Thu May 01, 2008 7:18 am UTC

I second the 3,000 people calculation. Coming at it from a different angle (this takes a while),
Spoiler:
there are 535 members of Congress who all count, the President, VP, all the Cabinet secretaries and undersecretaries (let's say there are sixty-five of them, to make six hundred), essentially every judge on a federal (appeals, circuit or Supreme) court (>200), and assorted notables from national lobbying institutions (Howard Dean, the head of the NAACP, etc; let's say there are two hundred of them). That's at least a thousand people in Washington, DC.

Now, we've got fifty states' governors and lieutenant governors, attorneys general (generally elected) and state supreme court justices (political appointees), and the heads of each house of the state legislatures (as much hate as is in my heart for Rob Bell, I don't think he counts as a high-ranking politician), and we're up two hundred at the state level.

Here's the best part. People underestimate how many and how powerful are local potentates. (Yes, that sentence parses.) We've got the mayor of every city over 500,000 (in the metropolitan area; there's an even 100), probably about half of their police chiefs, every union chief, every bishop (and counterparts; there are at least two hundred Catholic bishops and catholics are fewer than half of religious Americans; let's say five hundred all together).

That's about two thousand people whose business is the public life of the nation; consider that most of those positions were contested, usually closely; and their defeated opponents should count, too. Even if we discard half of them (because, after all, the evil-er candidate tends to win), we still make our 3,000 comfortably.

Or, we could skip all the work and say: there are about 800 Democratic superdelegates, and at least as many powerful people who wanted to be but couldn't; there are roughly as many Republican leaders as Democrat; presto! 3,200.

That's a lot of people who got up one day and though, "I'd like to be powerful." At least a few of them are bound to have scruples.
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Re: Politicians -- Do any of them believe in anything?

Postby mosc » Thu May 01, 2008 6:34 pm UTC

any estimate for the number of politicians in this country that does not go into 6 figures is utter bullshit. It completely neglects the state and local levels. If you include non-government politicians (say, a school PTA or something or other part time positions) the number is well in the millions.

The number of people who try and gather the signatures necessary to be put on the ballot for president alone (just that one office) is well in excess of 3000 I'd wager.
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Re: Politicians -- Do any of them believe in anything?

Postby CivilDefense700 » Thu May 01, 2008 7:08 pm UTC

Of course they believe in something...

The Power of Money!
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Re: Politicians -- Do any of them believe in anything?

Postby mosc » Thu May 01, 2008 7:15 pm UTC

I don't think it's directly related to money... I mean everything's INDIRECTLY related to money in this world but politicians don't seem to be OVERLY concerned with money. Most actually lose money, even the rich ones.

I think it's more control and power that are appealing. Money brings control and power too but it's not exactly the same thing.
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Re: Politicians -- Do any of them believe in anything?

Postby Kachi » Thu May 01, 2008 7:45 pm UTC

I think most of them are basically good people who have basically good intentions, though frequently misguided and with ill judgment. I think it's more often that they are incompetent or unmotivated.

Money is certainly not the motivation for many politicians who are already wealthy. If they wanted, they could retire early and do whatever they want, but instead they decide they'd rather take on a tremendous responsibility by -fighting- for some of the most demanding jobs in the country? I find it a little hard to believe.

I'm sure there is the occasional powerphile but I think most of them honestly think that they are the best person for the job and have a sense of duty to the office. That may make them sadly arrogant, but not selfish.

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Re: Politicians -- Do any of them believe in anything?

Postby 3.14159265... » Fri May 02, 2008 12:04 am UTC

Definitely.

In some countries it's to get more power and therefore more money.

However in Canada/US every campaign I have been involved in, the people genuinly wanted to do "good".

Consider for example practicing doctors that become MPs, they really don't end up making more money, nor is it a very prestigious post to be an independent MP. (This is about Canada).
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Re: Politicians -- Do any of them believe in anything?

Postby 22/7 » Fri May 02, 2008 2:08 am UTC

mosc wrote:any estimate for the number of politicians in this country that does not go into 6 figures is utter bullshit. It completely neglects the state and local levels. If you include non-government politicians (say, a school PTA or something or other part time positions) the number is well in the millions.

The number of people who try and gather the signatures necessary to be put on the ballot for president alone (just that one office) is well in excess of 3000 I'd wager.

So... you can read the numbers but not the words? The point of the estimate was to indicate that even at such a ridiculously low estimate it can't be true. That's why the words "ridiculously conservative" and "lowballed" came into play.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Politicians -- Do any of them believe in anything?

Postby Nath » Fri May 02, 2008 2:45 am UTC

titanicdaze wrote:I recently had a knock-down, drag-out blowup of an argument with my father. He thinks some politicians have actual agendas not set by opinion polls. I say they are all guided by two basic axiomata: 1) Get Me To The Highest Possible Post In The Land. 2) Have Fun and Stay There As Long As I Can and May.

I just don't believe that they are anything but a very specialized mixture of Narcissism and Psychopathy with a little Corrupt Preacher (of the particular faith/lack of faith/cause their particular constituency adheres to) thrown in on the side. No real beliefs. That would get in the way of doing one of those mid-campaign 180º turns often necessary to win the race.

As in any profession, there are those who their job for the right reasons. The thing is, even well-intentioned politicians have to play the popularity game. To do good things, you need power. To get power, you need popularity. Particularly in a democracy, the people who end up running the country are usually the ones who try to take popular actions -- whether because they agree, or because they have to in order to gain power. The premise of democracy is that the popular actions are probably the ones that are good for the country. This premise isn't completely true, of course, but hopefully it's a good approximation.

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Re: Politicians -- Do any of them believe in anything?

Postby BeetlesBane » Fri May 02, 2008 7:35 am UTC

After serving out his family mandated duty of public service (including the presidency) John Quincy Adams resumed his private law practice. Interestingly his most politically significant act occured in this private practice - his Supreme Court presentation in the Armistad case.

In general, although there is a large overlap, politicians are not the same as people in public office. Nor is either group the same as those who engage in political action.

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Re: Politicians -- Do any of them believe in anything?

Postby Wormwood » Fri May 02, 2008 10:03 am UTC

In New Zealand, we've recently had a few laws passed that were very unpopular. One was an amendment to Section 59 of the Crimes act, which means that it is now not legal to use force in disciplining a child. This law was very unpopular. One statistic I heard is that three-quarters of all New Zealanders opposed it. This says 80%. Yet Sue Bradford felt that this was so important, she had to get it passed, no matter how many people actually opposed it.

The other one, the Electoral Finances Act, was a shameless attempt by Labour to grab more power and stay in government. Some politicians believe very strongly that their "vision" is right, while others are just in it for the power. Anyway, as part of a democracy, we are effectively government ourselves. Vote for those who are dedicated to their values, or even run for office yourself.
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Re: Politicians -- Do any of them believe in anything?

Postby Spuddly » Fri May 02, 2008 10:35 am UTC

I feel that the way our system is set up, you're only going to get the people who totally sell out. Especially with the necessity of campaign contributions and TV ads.

22/7 wrote:Umm... the short answer is that you're wrong. Because of this part right here.
titanicdaze wrote:I say they are all guided by two basic axiomata: 1) Get Me To The Highest Possible Post In The Land. 2) Have Fun and Stay There As Long As I Can and May.
Let me go ahead and pull a few ridiculously conservative numbers out of my ass so that we can get a decent idea of what you're claiming. Let's say that roughly .01% of the American population is a politician of some sort (county, city, state, federal, whatever). That's 1 in every 10,000 people. Hi, I'm a teacher... I'm a doctor... I'm a construction worker... (same idea 9,996 more times)... I'm a politician. Let's ballpark the US population at something like 300 million. Ok, .01% of 300 million is ... (Start... programs... accessories... calculator...) 300 people. Ok, now we've got 3000 politicians in the US. It appears I've low-balled this estimate. Anyway, you've essentially claimed that the 3000 people who have all happened to choose the same profession are "all guided by two basic axiomata: 1) Get Me To The Highest Possible Post In The Land. 2) Have Fun and Stay There As Long As I Can and May." Do you see where the problem with that is?


I feel the OP may be only speaking of politicians on the national level or near national level. Mayors of metropolises, governors, senators, and so forth. In which case, yes, I can see that a non-random subset of a population would share similar traits. NBA players are tall and like to shoot hoops. Do you see something wrong with that statement? I don't....
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Re: Politicians -- Do any of them believe in anything?

Postby Wormwood » Fri May 02, 2008 10:42 am UTC

Spuddly wrote:I feel the OP may be only speaking of politicians on the national level or near national level. Mayors of metropolises, governors, senators, and so forth. In which case, yes, I can see that a non-random subset of a population would share similar traits. NBA players are tall and like to shoot hoops. Do you see something wrong with that statement? I don't....


Being tall and liking basketball are prerequisites to being a basketball player in the NBA. I don't see any evidence that shows that apathy and sociopathy are prerequisites to being a major politician.
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Re: Politicians -- Do any of them believe in anything?

Postby Spuddly » Fri May 02, 2008 10:46 am UTC

Wormwood wrote:
Spuddly wrote:Being tall and liking basketball are prerequisites to being a basketball player in the NBA. I don't see any evidence that shows that apathy and sociopathy are prerequisites to being a major politician.


http://baleta.blogspot.com/2006/02/shor ... layer.html
Would probably have to like the game to play it, though.
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Re: Politicians -- Do any of them believe in anything?

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Fri May 02, 2008 10:49 am UTC

They are all guided by one basic belief: that the world would be better if they were in charge.
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Re: Politicians -- Do any of them believe in anything?

Postby Wormwood » Fri May 02, 2008 11:10 am UTC

Spuddly wrote:
Wormwood wrote:Being tall and liking basketball are prerequisites to being a basketball player in the NBA. I don't see any evidence that shows that apathy and sociopathy are prerequisites to being a major politician.


http://baleta.blogspot.com/2006/02/shor ... layer.html
Would probably have to like the game to play it, though.


So NBA players aren't always tall. But the average player is. And the average player probably really enjoys the game. But some do it to get rich/popular/lots of tail/etc.

I'm still a little confused about this. Did you refute your own statement just then?
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Re: Politicians -- Do any of them believe in anything?

Postby Spuddly » Fri May 02, 2008 12:59 pm UTC

Wormwood wrote:Did you refute your own statement just then?


....yes.
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Re: Politicians -- Do any of them believe in anything?

Postby 22/7 » Fri May 02, 2008 5:01 pm UTC

Spuddly wrote:I feel that the way our system is set up, you're only going to get the people who totally sell out. Especially with the necessity of campaign contributions and TV ads.
Maybe I'm getting hung up on the wording here. When you say "sell out", what bounds are you claiming? Once you sell out are you complete void of scruples? Do you hold nothing dear from your pre-sell out days? I have a hard time believing that it's a switch rather than a continuum.

Spuddly wrote:I feel the OP may be only speaking of politicians on the national level or near national level. Mayors of metropolises, governors, senators, and so forth. In which case, yes, I can see that a non-random subset of a population would share similar traits. NBA players are tall and like to shoot hoops. Do you see something wrong with that statement? I don't....

Even if he is speaking of high level politicians (national level or mayors of large cities or governors of states), you're still looking at a number of people on the order of, what, 1000? More? And then you're saying "not a single one of the people in that pool, Republican, Democrat, or Independent, regardless of how they funded their campaign, what effect they've had on their city, whether or not there have been any scandals, not one gives two shits about their constituency". I'm sorry, but I have a very hard time believing that.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Politicians -- Do any of them believe in anything?

Postby mosc » Fri May 02, 2008 5:30 pm UTC

even if you just look at the national level, including simply those who have votes is not very reasonable. Many lobbyests have far more power than a first year member of the house would. Also you have an ARRAY of aids that are full time numbering well into the thousands on the federal level alone. Campaign managers, party officials, lawyers, etc etc etc. Politics is a huge business.
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Re: Politicians -- Do any of them believe in anything?

Postby 22/7 » Fri May 02, 2008 5:43 pm UTC

mosc wrote:even if you just look at the national level, including simply those who have votes is not very reasonable. Many lobbyests have far more power than a first year member of the house would. Also you have an ARRAY of aids that are full time numbering well into the thousands on the federal level alone. Campaign managers, party officials, lawyers, etc etc etc. Politics is a huge business.

Ahh, well I wasn't taking into account everyone who's behind the scenes, just the people you're actually voting for, but you're right, it is huge. The very idea that everyone in that subset is the exact same way is... well, it's been said.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Politicians -- Do any of them believe in anything?

Postby zenten » Fri May 02, 2008 7:15 pm UTC

Bush actually seems to. I rather disagree with anything he's done, but it doesn't seem to have been done to gather votes.

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Re: Politicians -- Do any of them believe in anything?

Postby 22/7 » Fri May 02, 2008 7:21 pm UTC

zenten wrote:Bush actually seems to. I rather disagree with anything he's done, but it doesn't seem to have been done to gather votes.

And this has been my issue with Bush-bashing all along. People got very upset with Clinton for waffling on everything and they reacted by putting Bush in, who rarely waffles on anything (even when he probably should).

Back on topic, though. Bush is a superb example of a politician acting out of something other than "reelect me".
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Politicians -- Do any of them believe in anything?

Postby Cooley » Sat May 03, 2008 3:41 pm UTC

Rather than Power Corrupts, because some politicians actually try to do the good, it should be Power Attracts the Corruptible, because it happens *far* too often that a politician gets elected, that becomes his/her career, and to keep paying off the Lexus they need to keep getting elected, so they sell out.

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Re: Politicians -- Do any of them believe in anything?

Postby 22/7 » Sat May 03, 2008 6:47 pm UTC

Cooley wrote:Rather than Power Corrupts, because some politicians actually try to do the good, it should be Power Attracts the Corruptible, because it happens *far* too often that a politician gets elected, that becomes his/her career, and to keep paying off the Lexus they need to keep getting elected, so they sell out.

I fear you believe that politics is quite profitable. It's not, at least not comparatively. The private sector is immensely more profitable. Also, what you described was Power Corrupts, not Power Attracts the Corruptible.
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Re: Politicians -- Do any of them believe in anything?

Postby Cooley » Sat May 03, 2008 10:19 pm UTC

True, the private sector is more profitable, but after spending some ten years in politics it's rather hard to get a private sector job, with the speed the market is moving these days. Also, the lack of progress that legislatures constantly exhibit (at least in America) would never be tolerated in the private sector, so the work to pay ratio may be higher than the private sector.

And true, I did describe Power Corrupts. My mistake. It's very easy to do that. But I still believe that power attracts the corruptible, as when a someone willing to be corrupted moves into public office to be in a position to receive bribes. And this public office could be as low as a border patrol guard manning a border crossing point who's taking bribes from coyotes, or as high as a member of the U.S. Senate.

Finally, no, I don't believe that public office is very profitable. Private enterprise is the most profitable, IMO. But it takes a lot of hard work, intelligence, and ability to adapt. Some people can't or won't take the time to develop these characteristics, so the work to pay ratio is what the Corruptible are looking at.

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Re: Politicians -- Do any of them believe in anything?

Postby Lumpy » Tue May 06, 2008 4:52 am UTC

Of all the politicians in America that I know of, I hold my current governor in the highest regard. While the Republicans in the state senate wanted to dip into the state's "rainy day" fund reserved for emergencies to fill the budget shortfall, saying we were already in "hard times," instead he slashed the budget by cutting the state health care insurance program in places where it seemed extraneous, like prescriptions for well-do-do middle-aged people with back injuries, and laying off government employees.

The Republican speaker of the state senate suggested that to get more money to fund transportation infrastructure and the construction of schools and libraries, he should dip into the state lottery scholarship fund. Strangely, it usually is Republicans that I have seen complaining about seepage into other parts of the budget when it had been promised that it would only be used for one component of it.

In these "hard times," I'm glad my governor hasn't taken the easy way out, even when it's obvious that it would be politically palatable to do so. It is isn't evident to me that in the future, times will be any less hard than they are now. Also, I'm not naming names and states so that this doesn't sound like a spambot endorsement.

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Re: Politicians -- Do any of them believe in anything?

Postby karbin » Tue May 06, 2008 11:06 pm UTC

Cooley wrote:True, the private sector is more profitable, but after spending some ten years in politics it's rather hard to get a private sector job, with the speed the market is moving these days. Also, the lack of progress that legislatures constantly exhibit (at least in America) would never be tolerated in the private sector, so the work to pay ratio may be higher than the private sector.

And true, I did describe Power Corrupts. My mistake. It's very easy to do that. But I still believe that power attracts the corruptible, as when a someone willing to be corrupted moves into public office to be in a position to receive bribes. And this public office could be as low as a border patrol guard manning a border crossing point who's taking bribes from coyotes, or as high as a member of the U.S. Senate.

Finally, no, I don't believe that public office is very profitable. Private enterprise is the most profitable, IMO. But it takes a lot of hard work, intelligence, and ability to adapt. Some people can't or won't take the time to develop these characteristics, so the work to pay ratio is what the Corruptible are looking at.


Really? You think an ex-congressman, or even an ex-state legislator would have a difficult time getting a job after being in office? Ever heard of the revolving door between washington avenue and K street(lobbyists)? Any congressman that wants to can get a job paying high 6 figures immediately after leaving office. Even presidents. Look at Bill Clinton - the president makes $400,000 a year while in office - he's made 109million with his wife in the past 8 years out of office(1).

Even prior to entering office, the vast majority of politicians could get more money in the public sector. Most are lawyers or businessmen prior to entering office(2). The salary for a congressman is 169,300 a year(2). The salary for a state legislator in Texas(my state) is $7000(not a typo)(3). A successful trial lawyer can make exponentially more than that, as can an entrepreneur. It's not a bad wage, by any standard, but its far from exorbitantly high.

Its easier than working in the private sector. The president works 12+hours a day - most presidents rarely get off work before 9 pm, and they're on the job constantly. Being in office ages the average presiden incredibly - just look at before and after shots of presidential candidates and then ex presidents.

Sure, congress is less grueling, but it still quite a job. Hundreds of pages of legislation pass every week, and all need to be examined for free of repercussions. Congress is not in session constantly, but legislation, negotiation, determining budgets, etc, is. And that doesn't even go into campaigning. House members are campaigning almost constantly, they want to get reelected, and they to do so they need to campaign. You might see this as them having no spine/being corrupt, but in reality they are constantly trying to inform their constituency of what they are doing for them. In addition, I don't see how having a representative that reflects the beliefs of the majority of your constituency is necessarily bad.

While I am sure there are some corrupt politicians, the vast majority are trying to do their best to help the country progress in the way that they see would best serve it, and help their constituency.
To recap:
1. Politicians have no trouble getting jobs once out of office, and most held higher paying jobs before being in office.
2. Politicians work their tails off, especially those on the national level.
3. While politicians will occasionally support ideas they personally disagree with, they almost always are doing this to better reflect the views of their constituency, which is hardly discouraged in a representative democracy.

Sources:
(1)http://www.kansascity.com/449/story/606400.html
(2)http://usgovinfo.about.com/library/weekly/aa031200a.htm
(3)http://texaspolitics.laits.utexas.edu/html/leg/0205.html

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Re: Politicians -- Do any of them believe in anything?

Postby karmiclube » Tue May 06, 2008 11:56 pm UTC

i believe that politics is similar to prison society. sorta. hear me out. :lol:

you can go into it as high-minded as you want, but at a certain point you have to play the game. there's compromise necessary on many levels just to survive, and...that's about as far as my brain took me into the analogy and it's time for me to leave work, so i gotta run. feel free to rip apart the comparison. :mrgreen:
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Re: Politicians -- Do any of them believe in anything?

Postby Cooley » Wed May 07, 2008 2:18 am UTC

@karbin: I didn't think of that... :oops: What I get for not thinking stuff through.
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Re: Politicians -- Do any of them believe in anything?

Postby stigmatizethis » Mon May 12, 2008 2:00 pm UTC

sure, money.
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Re: Politicians -- Do any of them believe in anything?

Postby Clumpy » Mon May 12, 2008 6:34 pm UTC

I think that one of the few Bill Hicks jokes that makes me laugh sums up my opinion:

"But there's no hope in Clinton. It's just a handful of people that run everything, and that's provable.... I have this feeling that whoever's elected president, like Clinton was, no matter what promises you make on the campaign trail - blah, blah, blah - when you win, you go into this smoky room with the twelve industrialist, capitalist scumfucks that got you in there, and this little screen comes down... and it's a shot of the Kennedy assassination from an angle you've never seen before, which looks suspiciously off the grassy knoll.... And then the screen comes up, the lights come on, and they say to the new president, 'Any questions?'

"Just what my agenda is."


It's less the corporations than every group on Earth telling our presidents what to do. We don't care about the rule of American law or individual freedom any more - just doing things that sound good but have no real effect. Remember Trent Lott's $250 million battleship? There's your porkbarrel spending right there, from the party that pretends to care about government spending.

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Re: Politicians -- Do any of them believe in anything?

Postby Ari » Tue May 13, 2008 10:39 am UTC

I would like to point out that believing in something and being irresponsibly power-drunk are not mutually exclusive. Surely this has been made clear by the current president.
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Re: Politicians -- Do any of them believe in anything?

Postby Clumpy » Tue May 13, 2008 6:24 pm UTC

Ari wrote:I would like to point out that believing in something and being irresponsibly power-drunk are not mutually exclusive. Surely this has been made clear by the current president.


True, except that we've grown to the point that, whatever the administration, we embrace legislation that sounds good rather than following the rule of law and projects that enrich us personally at everybody else's expense (I'm referring more to state porkbarrel projects like Trent Lott's $250 million battleship than welfare). We debate the war in Iraq based on its perceived positive or negative effects rather than on whether an offensive war is justified Constitutionally (surprise answer: it's not). Just what on Earth gives Uncle Sam the right to tax inheritance and winnings as high as they are? Taxing 3/4 of the Powerball jackpot doesn't screw over the jackpot winners so much as everybody who bought a lottery ticket.

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Re: Politicians -- Do any of them believe in anything?

Postby mosc » Tue May 13, 2008 6:36 pm UTC

Clumpy wrote:Just what on Earth gives Uncle Sam the right to tax inheritance and winnings as high as they are? Taxing 3/4 of the Powerball jackpot doesn't screw over the jackpot winners so much as everybody who bought a lottery ticket.

Wow... see here I was thinking that everybody who buys a lottery ticket is already screwed. It's a tax on those who can't do math. If you are seriously arguing for your inalienable right to a massive amount of wealth distribution based on a random number generator, than I pity you.

Inheritance taxes don't work anyway as anybody with enough money to actually HAVE an inheritance tax (it's what, a million dollars or something at this point) can afford asset protection structures that insulate them. I'm sure there are some rich people unprepared enough for their own death that they cannot pass on 100% of their assets to their heirs but to those folks I have no sympathy. Tax it all.
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Re: Politicians -- Do any of them believe in anything?

Postby Clumpy » Wed May 14, 2008 12:37 am UTC

Well, if a tax is unjustifiable, the fact that it's avoidable doesn't change its unjustifiability.

If you are seriously arguing for your inalienable right to a massive amount of wealth distribution based on a random number generator, than I pity you.


Well, I believe that people have the right to spend money on whatever legitimate good or service they wish. Stupid people have the same rights as well-informed people.


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