October 9, 2010

Suddenly, I feel that the day will come when I will quit paying attention to politics at all.

After writing that last post, I feel such revulsion toward people who are immersed in politics. The lying. The distortion. The inhumanity. Before blogging, I was never politically active, never interested in politics as a partisan. (From a scholarly perspective, I've been interested in how politics influence law and how law expresses politics.)

I started blogging because I love writing quickly and openly and because I'd spent too much time reading the newspaper passively and without making myself decide what I really thought about various things. I wanted to force myself to take one more step and say something about the stories of the day. I'm not a partisan or an ideologue, so I didn't know automatically. It was only by making myself write a sentence or 2 that I found out what I really thought.

As a passive reader, I'd tended to absorb information and to respond with a tolerance for the diversity of human opinion and a sympathy for the different characters whose stories surfaced in the daily news. As a blogger, I've sharpened my thinking and applied much more judgment, but I'm still more interested in understanding what makes different people think and behave the way they do. And, for me, the problem with following politics is that I'm observing human beings who are not interesting characters. They're so thin and predictable!

I can picture myself snapping and saying enough!

95 comments:

Steve Austin said...

You just have normal election fatigue. It will go away after November 2nd and you then have actual substantive topics to write about.

America's Politico said...

Thanks, Prof. I really liked your essay - I do not care for the context (of bad bloggers writing bad things). I wanted to know why you blog. Thank you.

N.B.: Notwithstanding, the democrats will win the House (224 seats) and the Senate (54 seats). I believe my polling to be accurate.

NotYourTypicalNewYorker said...

I dunno Prof., I've sensed your ever so slight leftish drift the last couple of months, back towards your roots maybe.

Maybe the dems impending doom has you a little melancholy...

traditionalguy said...

Ditto. People who share true emotions are what makes social life worth the time we spend on it. The political game is all about wearing popular masks of the day. We will see if unmasking a little is suicide by watching the outcome of Christine O'Donnell's race. Love your honesty,Professor.

bagoh20 said...

Political ethics, I suspect, have always been pretty bad and today is probably no better or worse, but we have nobody to blame since if it didn't usually work, we would have a more honest system. As long as we agree to be led by the nose, why should anyone clean up their act.

As a conservative living in Californian, I've kind of given up on getting what I want. The electorate here is consistently swayed by the same old tactics. The narrative that conservatives are evil and that the left cares about the little guy and fairness is just automatically accepted. To win, a democrat just says the Republican is mean and greedy and the that's all there is to it.

We get exactly what we earn from politics. For us out here, it's total failure, rot and collapse after decades of Democrat control.

And no change will be made, regardless.

ndspinelli said...

It doesn't seem to me that politics has changed much, only our unbridled access to information. There is an off switch to it, but you have to push the power button.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good bloggers to write nothing."

Shanna said...

I take breaks from politics after every election.

When I lived in DC and worked in the field, we talked about it generally like a football game, who scored points, how the stats looked, etc...I don't know how people can really feel that thing that I think some people used feel about Obama, I don't think I've felt that about any politician. Maybe as a child. They are human and they are flawed and power corrupts and we run all the good people out with our nonsense. It's always been a matter of the lesser of two evils...

LL said...

I used to listen to a lot of political radio and political television - AM, NPR, the pundit shows on tv, etc.

One day I just said "enough" because I realized that these people were just making shit up and even when they were dead wrong, they were still there the next day making predictions. There is no accountablity at all.

So I just stopped and migrated over to sports radio and ESPN. You know what, it is the same thing just a different subject. It is just making shit up and little accountability if they are incorrect in their predictions.

rdkraus said...

Many of us would prefer not to pay attention, or to pay much less attention, to politics.

The problem is that there is large group of people who are at all times busy planning new [and old] ways to control every aspect of our lives, tell us what to think and do, and figure out how they can take more of our money for their various good causes, bad causes and "programs."

Earth Girl said...

My first reaction to this post was the same as Ignorance is Bliss' reaction. To have thinking people tire of politics is exactly what the politicians want so they can continue the same-old same old. My second reaction was to agree totally with you. I barely skimmed your last post. That's not what I want to let into my life on this beautiful Saturday morning.

WV: fomesc or to escape the foment

El Pollo Real said...

Two events awakened me from my passive slumber and my tendency to vote left. The first was the in-your-face assault on free speech begun around the time of the first Clinton term. This second was 9/11 and the left's atheism. Not their lack of faith--which was a given--but rather their denial that evil even exists.

EnigmatiCore said...

Been there, done that.

I am happier since having done that, although in some ways I feel that I really should be fighting against the dishonest rather than ceding ground to them with my apathy.

Bob Ellison said...

You've done your part, Professor Althouse. You've added real points to the discussion. I share your ennui and would suggest that you revert back to the fun stuff when you're so disgusted. Your pictures are great, for example.

Fred4Pres said...

I was the same until 9/11. Then things changed.

But what you observe makes paying attention all the more important.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

The first was the in-your-face assault on free speech begun around the time of the first Clinton term. This second was 9/11 and the left's atheism. Not their lack of faith--which was a given--but rather their denial that evil even exists.

Isn't this guilt by association, Pollo? Should every decent, thinking person have avoided voting Republican after the Southern Strategy? What about after Bush's racist smear of McCain in S. Carolina? And these were things coordinated at the top, not passively followed by various sheeple at the bottom.

Also, one would think the passage of time should account for something.

Trooper York said...

The problem is that you have gone all politics all the time just like WINS. The other posts are mere afterthoughts.

No photos of dogs urinating.

Not enough photos of flowers and mishapen trees in graveyards.

No posts about reality shows. Not enough American Idol. No Real Housewives. No Flipping Out or Racheal Zoe or Jersey Shore or any of those freaking midget shows where they had guintuplets at sixteen when they didn't know they were pregnant as they shit the baby into the toilet.

Now that I got banned from Television Without I need a place to snark for crying out loud.

sydney said...

Probably reading that Atlantic Monthly story about the Nazi Republican did it in for you.

But, turning off politics really isn't a luxury any of us can afford anymore, as others have pointed out above. Ten years ago I didn't pay any attention to all of this, either, but our government has grown so out of control in the many ways it intrudes on my daily life and attempts to support myself, that I can no longer afford to look the other way. None of us can.

Trooper York said...

Oh and the people at Television Without Pity dress up like Nazi's all the time.

They like to act like Nazi's not just re-enact.

EnigmatiCore said...

I got banned from Television Without Pity, too.

What a bunch of uptight pansies they are.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Trooper's got a point, as always. The hatred of politics professed here betrays an obvious obsession with it.

Getting back to what Chicklet said, though, I think the point he raises about evil is a personal one. I was a big supporter of the right in a generic sense after 9/11. I found the things they were standing up for more easily associated with Western Civilization as a whole. The left had brought out their nutbags at protests, and of course John Kerry was one of the weirdest, weakest windbags I'd seen them run in a long while.

But then the left brought up the issue of tactics, strategy and long-term vision. It was undeniable to me that there was a difference between how they wished to distinguish long-term success and planning from short-term rage, feel-good talking points and tactical circles.

Lincolntf said...

I hope there's a special place in Hell for people who call others "Nazis" in order to score political points.
As for performers in plays, re-enactments, movies, etc., I don't give a crap if they dress up as Mao or Mother Teresa.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

What I meant to say is that it's easier to apply the label of "evil" to something you take personally than it is to greater projects that require long-term planning, fortitude and objectivity.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

And anyone on the left who promoted political correctness is a douchebag. Just so you know where I stand. ;-)

kathleen said...

Why do you have to "quit paying attention to politics at all"? You don't have to pay attention to every little political skirmish if you have a set of principles you can apply to any election in which your eligible to vote.

...Oh, that's right, you don't vote.

It's not politics that's wearing you out, it's the futility and decadence of your own squishiness. Don't you think it's long past time to grow up?

El Pollo Real said...

Ritmo wrote: Isn't this guilt by association, Pollo? Should every decent, thinking person have avoided voting Republican after the Southern Strategy?

I was wasn't old enough to vote until the 1980 general in which I voted for Carter. I tend not to vote for historical reasons.

What about after Bush's racist smear of McCain in S. Carolina?

I disliked it then and voted for Gore that year in the general.

The events I mentioned--the PC movement in the 90s and 9/11--were things I felt and experienced directly. They weren't abstractions.

Trooper York said...

The People at Television Without Pity are the real Nazi's. I got banned for talking about gay marriage on a thread on the Real Housewives of Washington DC. A perfect subject for Althouse to blog about. But did she.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!

Instead we had thirty seven Palin centric posts.

El Pollo Real said...

I tend not to vote for historical reasons. Meaning that I do vote often but never to right historical wrongs but rather to work towards the future.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

It's not politics that's wearing you out, it's the futility and decadence of your own squishiness. Don't you think it's long past time to grow up?

I'm glad someone else raised this. Because although I could be biased, to me it was undeniable that Obama's "celebrity" was a big part of Althouse's motivation to go for Obama.

When she goes to the rallies with the fish-eye lens, I see the same interest in celebrity that I see in watching reviews of Dancing with the Stars and American Idol.

There's nothing wrong with that, per se - especially if she were to take a broader, Malcom Gladwell-type interest in how movements build and interests ripple through large crowds. But there comes a point where I think observer and subject get confused. It's one I try to avoid (and think I can do a good job of avoiding). But Althouse must be more of a born party-goer.

traditionalguy said...

the twin parties of tweedle dee and tweedle dum spent 50 years trading turns at robbing the treasury. To do that they took more and more of the flow of borrowed money ( Capital ) into their hands. We also got universal incompetence and Bureaucratic Rapes while the robber Repubs and the robber Dems had a party on our tab. Add to that a sudden decision by Obama/[Pelosi to eliminate all economic activity not under government control (a/k/a fascism).The there was raised up to rescue us Sarah the Impaliner and her Tea Party Seventh Calvary. Palin comes as an honest reformer; and therefore she is hated by both tweedle dee and tweedle dum and All of their owned media. Thank God foe the internet and Bloggers like La Althouse.

Trooper York said...

I mean there are so many important points about American Society that can be explored through watching reality shows.

You can discuss the vital issue of teen pregnancy and even Bristol Palin if you had a thread about "Teen Moms."

You could talk about the financial crisis and foreclosures if you discussed Teresa and "The Real Housewives of New Jersey."

You could discuss political correctness and the incompentence of the White House with the debalce of the party crashers in "The Real Housewives of Washington DC."

And you can discuss the problem of dirty hamsters who leave their used sanitary napkins on the bathroom floor on "Jersey Shore."

Michael Haz said...

Troll weariness. Most of your long-time commenters have it, now you do as well.

Plus, Titus took his turds and left the building. Not the same since. Kudos, though, for trying anal sex as a topic. I had hoped that that might bring him around for a longer visit.

Trooper York said...

I think of bunch of those dirty hamster left their napkins on the floor when the President gave that speech in Madison.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

I disliked it then and voted for Gore that year in the general.

Wow. You're more open-minded than I knew, Pollo. And Carter? (I wouldn't know though, since I was too young for that. But I hear historians say he gets a worse rap than he should given the way a fresh face was needed after Watergate - so don't be so hard on yourself).

The events I mentioned--the PC movement in the 90s and 9/11--were things I felt and experienced directly. They weren't abstractions.

Sorry to hear that. I hated PC and was in college when it built to crescendo level. I remember cries of "No Free Speech for Fascists". What a canard. Luckily, another open-minded guy came out with a show on being politically in-correct, but the crowd here doesn't like him much nowadays. For me though, he did that butt-ugly era in political thought an incredible service.

Sometimes I wonder if PC-ness was the left's attempt to copy conservative civility. I see shortcomings with both when it comes to how far things can be taken out of context.

edutcher said...

I think you write for 2 reasons. The first is you really love life and want to share that. You post the photos you take (some people might see those as private memories), you tell us of the little things in your life (steak pizza) and the big ones (being in love), what you think of the passing scene (movies, sex), and your take on your professions (teaching and law).

You also write because you give a damn about what happens. You have real compassion for people and want things to be better. Not all of us hold all your views, but I think we can all see those qualities in you every day.

Some of the dreck coming out right now, perhaps out of people you once respected, can be disheartening. I don't think, however, you'll ever stop caring.

Maybe you need to spend a few days posting about things that make your life worthwhile, maybe a sabbatical until November. Clear out the cobwebs and the bad taste.

I know The Blonde can only sit through so much current events and then she flips on whichever sequel of "Ice Age" is running (you may want an IFC marathon).

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

@10:36 - True dat, Trooper.

tim maguire said...

It's important not to have knee-jerk reactions. It's unfortunate that those who do will complain (sometimes not nicely), but partisanship makes one stupid, and sometimes nasty. That's a shame, but it shouldn't keep you from doing something you want to do.

And you must be doing something interesting on the political front if you have a comment section that leans in a mostly different direction--and yet we keep coming back to read you.

As for the reenactment in your previous post. I disagree that you need to know the breakdown of Iott's roles to know if he is secretly a NAZI. Green's entire approach is dishonest. Period.

Do kids who like playing cowboy like to kill real Indians? Of course not. Most of them probably want to BE real Indians. Do kids who like playing robbers want to rob banks? Of course not. Re-enactors are big kids and there is no deeper meaning in someone's willingness or desire to play the bad guy than that sometimes it's fun to be the bad guy in make-believe land.

Green is an example of what partisanship can do to a person and I'd rather not leave the playing field entirely to folks like him.

Michael Haz said...

*Puts on Freud hat*

You began blogging as a substitute for a relationship with a man. You sought a relationship with others, using the words your wrote as the method of creating attachment.

You now have a man with whom you have the relationship you were seeking all along.

Let go of the constant blogging and spend more time enjoying the relationship with your man.

Stop by the blog every few days for a quickie just to let your followers know you'll always care.

*Takes Freud hat off*

Tertium Quid said...

You are a conservative but you didn't know it. Your post could have been written by some of us who once served as assistants to Russell Kirk!

EnigmatiCore said...

"But I hear historians say he gets a worse rap than he should "

Historians are, by an large, kin intellectually of the author of the article that led to this post.

I lived through the Carter years. If anything, he deserves even more of a bad rap than he gets.

rhhardin said...

Polticians have to live in the MSM soap opera narrative.

The MSM is targeting soap opera women.

Hence political superficiality.

The solution is take away women's vote.

Let women run for office, just not vote in elections.

That gets rid of the feedback from the MSM to elections.

AJ Lynch said...

Don't let a deceitful journolister-type scumbag get you down. Their days are numbered.

Trooper York said...

Rh you freak me out man.

Trooper York said...

And AJ is gonna freak out when the Yankees spank his Phillies again this year.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Historians are, by an large, kin intellectually of the author of the article that led to this post.

What about the author who wrote it in the first place? She wants to let herself off the hook now by claiming "Oh, politics is so much uglier than when I only blogged about the funny and interesting parts! Help me!"

Sorry. Won't fly.

Everyone's entitled to their opinion and law professors know more about law and history professors about history than either do about the politics of the moment. That's the intellectual boundary I think you meant to draw.

I lived through the Carter years. If anything, he deserves even more of a bad rap than he gets.

Even W. understands the importance of accounting for the passage of time. A long time. The longer the better.

kristinintexas said...

One can care about politics without caring about politicians.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Don't give me something more to sympathize with A.J., over, T.

Chip Ahoy said...

Since blogging and Web 2.0, I am becoming less interested in understanding what makes different people think and behave the way they do. If only they would produce something different, something fresh, then I would change that stance. As it is, they could not be less interesting.

< anecdote>Last night I went to cocktail party of mostly long-ago onetime friends along with a few new people. I was talking to one of the old friends for whom I care very little. He was never very interesting. He brought up the subject of clothes, and where he buys them. I said I no longer bother shopping, I buy almost everything online. He looked at me oddly, then said, "I only bought one thing online, my Bush shirt. Have you ever seen my Bush shirt?" Of course I hadn't. "It's Bush as a vampire feeding on the neck of the Statue of Liberty." He smiled broadly. I thought, "How droll. That suits you." The single political thing to come up the whole night, and from this dunce who assumes his feeling to be universal, somehow uniquely clever, to be worn in public and even appropriate for any occasion. And then I thought inwardly to myself without uttering any of the hundred or so natural reposts that presented themselves in flood, "You know, you can just piss right off you fucking idiot." And I still feel that way. It would suit me to never encounter that individual again, and mostly because of crap like that. I would have felt the same way had he dragged Obama into our happy and lively engagement. < /anecdote>

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Your friend was obviously being very politically incorrect, Chip.

Not that stunts like that don't annoy the hell out of me, as well.

Fen said...

To have thinking people tire of politics is exactly what the politicians want so they can continue the same-old same old.

This.

Its why the Tea Party is ascendent - people normally don't want to be involved in politics, they want to be left alone. But when you push them too much you wake a sleeping giant.

As for Politics, there are some rewards. Mine was a minor instance: a state House seat opening up, local GOP voting on who to rec for appointment, two candidates - Silver Spoon Boy with his Trophy Wife VS Non-Charsimatic [unelectable] Female Workhorse who had slaved away many years as a staffer in the House.

She was highly competent and efficient, she knew the district better than any - she deserved the appointment. But Silver Spoon Boy had lobbied and charmed the board via private phone calls the night before. The idiots picked him,a cting like the Cool Kid had jsut invited them to sit at his table...

Senior staffer for the outgoing congressman arrived to chew them out of being morons. They realized their mistake but threw up their hands: the vote was official, they couldn't go back and change it.

But by some quirk of luck, I thought of a loohole: the district had just been expanded to include another county, and no one had thought to include that local GOP in the vote.

So we decided that the vote wasn't final until the other county had their input. If they selected Silver Spoon Boy, he would be in. If they voted for someone else, then the party chair would pick between the two to break the "tie".

Silver Spoon Boy went home that night thinking he was a Congressman... but there was a tie, and the Female Workhorse was pick to fill the seat.

Fen: 1
Good Old Boy Network: 0

I've done alot of cool things in my life. Especially in the Marines. But this is the one I am most proud of - on one single day, I got the world to work the way its supposed to.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bruce Hayden said...

I think that it must be harder to talk about politics all the time when you are in the middle, as I suspect Ann is.

I am not in the middle, and therefore am not as worn down by the constant political discourse. I was fairly dispirited two years ago, and pretty much quit participating, or even viewing, blogs and their comments for a couple months starting right before the election and extending through maybe January.

But, then, the Democrats started doing really nutso stuff. The "stimulus" package was probably the thing that got me back into it. Almost a trillion dollars of our grandchildren's money spent on their friends, while pretending that it was necessary to prevent a deeper recession. If you knew what was in it at the time, and understood economics, you could see what was going to happen. And, of course, did.

I have always wondered how judges survive their jobs, esp. at the trial level. They are supposed to sit there, day by day, listening to the kids bicker in front of them, and then do the right thing. And, I see the advocates, like me, as the kids, and the judges as the person in the middle like Ann, constantly being tugged one way and then the other.

madawaskan said...

Trooper

And AJ is gonna freak out when the Yankees spank his Phillies again this year.

Dude!


Number One Althouse Rule-

If you brag about your team's future erh, "performance" they get schmacked.

el Jinxo capischio?

Ixnea on the bragodello.

AJ Lynch said...

The only thing lower than a journalist is a Yankee or a Yankee fan. Or perhaps a NY Petunia Giants fan.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Almost a trillion dollars

Actually 200+ billion this year, and unlike the uncuttable entitlements, much of which is being paid for.

Awright - sorry to interrupt. As you were.

Bruce Hayden said...

I should note though that the acrimony, that I think may be the cause of your malaise, may die down a bit after the election. This is always the hardest part, as everyone pulls out all the stops to get elected or reelected.

Fen said...

Well, if you really did fall for the hopey-changey con, its understandable why you feel so down.

Trooper York said...

I totally respect the jinx thing but I did the same exact thing last time!

I mean it's the Phillies for crying out loud!

EnigmatiCore said...

What about the author who wrote it in the first place?

What about her? I gave my opinion in my first post. Any other hoops you want hopped through you'll have to jump through on your own. I don't care to participate in your performance art.

nobody said...

Althouse the blog isn't quite itself when vbspurs is not around.

madawaskan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ritmo Brasileiro said...

I gave my opinion in my first post.

Well, thanks for making me scroll all the way up to find the inconspicuous thing.

Yep, it was way too bland to be performance art. But sorry I missed it anyway.

EnigmatiCore said...

Especially in the Marines. But this is the one I am most proud of - on one single day, I got the world to work the way its supposed to.

Who ended up being elected?

garage mahal said...

If you knew what was in it at the time, and understood economics, you could see what was going to happen. And, of course, did.

Unemployment rate was lowered between 0.7 and 1.8 percentage points during the quarter ending in June and increased the number of people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million. It increased GDP between 1.7 percent and 4.5 percent in the same quarter, which the stimulus might have been the only growth in the economy. You you saw that happening?

traditionalguy said...

Ritmo@ 10:16...Is your understanding that a strategy that includes the southern states is suspect because "We Won the War in 1865"? I anxiously await the day a citizen of a southern state is no longer scapegoated by damn yankees with no other bloody shirt to waive like the GAR did for 40 years. We are not retarded people, although we tend to be good fighters from our Scots Irish heritage, and we get along fine with 50% black/ 50% white situations. Has any Northern state, outside of Detroit, learned that skill?

themightypuck said...

I thought Prof. Althouse's position on politics was that all is fair.

EnigmatiCore said...

Yep, it was way too bland to be performance art.

Yes, agreement is oftentimes bland. I happen to agree with our host that the rabid partisans are frequently dishonest, believe themselves to be more clever than facts suggest, and are generally bores.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Well, if that's what she meant, then here's a third instance of agreement. Count me in.

Still, I'd like to think one can be passionate about something, political or not, and still be honest, rabies-free and interesting.

I think what makes for clever is usually subjective. It's hindsight and success that allow people the luxury of claiming they were clever.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

What themightypuck said at 11:31.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

It's not getting Southern states that counts TG but the way it was done. I quote the inestimable Lee Atwater:

You start out in 1954 by saying, "Nigger, nigger, nigger." By 1968 you can't say "nigger" — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, "We want to cut this," is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than "Nigger, nigger."

Now, I don't think that's worth defending, but perhaps you disagree. In any event, hopefully we're past this not so pretty era of American politics by now. And as for fighting, I appreciate the honorable Southern grit - perhaps courtesy of the legacy of those royalist cavaliers, or so says David Hackett Fischer. But the cause counts as much as the valor.

EnigmatiCore said...

"I think what makes for clever is usually subjective. It's hindsight and success that allow people the luxury of claiming they were clever."

More times than not, if one needs to claim cleverness, one is mistaken.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Aside from teaching me something new about post-Civil War triumphalist yankee politics, TG's use of the word "GAR" introduced me to a particularly nasty and dangerous species of fish. ;-)

I learn something new every day.

Trooper York said...

I thought "Gar" is what the guy with the pegleg and the parrot says?

Alex said...

I've learned to skip Ritmo most of the time. All he provides is unrelenting pressure, rudeness and filth. He adds nothing constructive to the debate. He seeks only to destroy and sow bitter feelings.

Lucien said...

The flip side (equally agonizing) is that bright, well-motivated people on all sides legitimately seeking to be public servants work in credibly hard, sacrifice greatly, and wind up as . . . politicians.

I wish there were an answer to this, but, as with just about any problem involving human interactions that has persisted over thousands of years, if there were a clear answer, ti would have been found by now.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Really? And what do you add to these, Alex?

Actually, I thought I was pretty well-behaved and constructive today. For the most part.

Just Lurking said...

The flip side (equally agonizing) is that bright, well-motivated people on all sides legitimately seeking to be public servants work in credibly hard, sacrifice greatly, and wind up as . . . politicians.


Two words- term limits. It won't solve everything, but it will be a step in the right direction. However I won't hold my breath waiting for it to happen.

Synova said...

I quit for years after being in the Philippines.

There was so much that was so stupid and I found myself getting upset.

So I quit.

I think I quit for nearly 10 years.

Bruce Hayden said...

Unemployment rate was lowered between 0.7 and 1.8 percentage points during the quarter ending in June and increased the number of people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million. It increased GDP between 1.7 percent and 4.5 percent in the same quarter, which the stimulus might have been the only growth in the economy. You you saw that happening?

Ok, I will admit that the federal government did hire a lot of Census workers for a short period of time, and that is what you are talking about for late spring this year. But that shouldn't have been "stimulus" money, since it had been planed for a long time. (When I worked for the agency 30 years ago, the Decennial Census planning started a couple years into the decade - likely about 2002 or so). I don't agree with much of what the government spends money on, esp. at the federal level, but I do think that the Decennial Census is important - which is why it is specifically required in the Constitution, and why I was willing to work for that agency (on the 1980 Census).

And, Keynesian economic spending cannot create wealth, rather, it merely moves it forward in time (i.e. we are borrowing from our grandchildren), but with a resultant lower aggregate wealth over time due to the high frictional cost of government spending.

wv: fail(i) - my thoughts on the Democrats response to our economic problems.

Bruce Hayden said...

The flip side (equally agonizing) is that bright, well-motivated people on all sides legitimately seeking to be public servants work in credibly hard, sacrifice greatly, and wind up as . . . politicians.

How many of our politicians over the years really got into it to serve the people? A lot of people are hoping that some of the Tea Party candidates are in it for just the short term, mostly to throw the bums out. And then they go back home.

I wish there were an answer to this, but, as with just about any problem involving human interactions that has persisted over thousands of years, if there were a clear answer, ti would have been found by now.

My favored solution is term limits. The longer someone is in politics, the more they tend to be corrupted, either for the money, or for the power. And, yes, the most unscrupulous and driven tend to be the ones who end up on top.

Fen said...

Who ended up being elected?

Appointed, not elected. The female workhorse who was more qualified but not campaign material. Instead of the Silver Spoon Boy.

virgil xenophon said...

Althouse is now revulsed and "shocked, shocked," about politics & the actions of politicians?

"Oh shut up silly woman," said the reptile with a grin. "You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in."

AllenS said...

Look at it this way, Althouse, it was a good run. Politics ain't your bag. Obama? What a dismal failure. Feingold, who you said, if he lost, would be a sad event for you. Hopefully, and I say this as a resident of this state, I hope he's gone. You've managed to have a diverse amount of commenters. Unfortunately, over the years you've managed to drive off the most informative, entertaining, knowledgeable and concerned people, in favor of shit eating fools. Oftentimes, your desire to have characters commenting, meant that you've been just a poor judge of character.

If you want, you can delete this comment.

Roger J. said...

At Ritmo: you have indeed been the very model of decorum and substance in this thread Ritmo--which, of course, suggests to me that you hobby in other threads is that of saboteur (from the original french use as in throwing sabots into the machinery of the industrial revolution).

But your saboteur function is also appreciated. And you do it with the correct mixture of aplomb and supercilliousness which is actually quite charming. In many respects you and Cedarford are two peas in a pod.

Roger J. said...

At Ritmo: you have indeed been the very model of decorum and substance in this thread Ritmo--which, of course, suggests to me that you hobby in other threads is that of saboteur (from the original french use as in throwing sabots into the machinery of the industrial revolution).

But your saboteur function is also appreciated. And you do it with the correct mixture of aplomb and supercilliousness which is actually quite charming. In many respects you and Cedarford are two peas in a pod.

AJ Lynch said...

Lee Atwater??!! the Southern strategy??!! God you are a douche Ritmo. What's next ? You going to lecture us on how Glass Steagall not Barney Fwank et al caused the bank crisis?

David said...

Whores!

Pogo said...

"Suddenly, I feel that the day will come when I will quit paying attention to politics at all."

I myself veer between rage and despair over our current state.

The Russians soothed their sense of futility with Vodka.

I recommend Radiohead's "How to disappear completely"

Pogo said...

"I'm not here
This isn't happening
I'm not here
I'm not here
"

jamboree said...

Yay.

Politics is an addiction - slightly above Jerry Springer. I always pay more attention during ebb times in my life.

Retired people often sit around getting angry at the TV and writing letters to the President because they no longer have anything better to do.

I have family members who are *very* politically active (it's their calling), but in a healthy way - on the local level where they can actually affect things. They pay almost no attention to the federal level much less the 24/7 media circus that goes along with it.

I used to find this strange, somehow remiss, but no more. It's just healthy.

It'll be hard filling your blog though. You might have to quit that as well.

El Pollo Real said...

I can picture myself snapping and saying enough!

I think that Twitter is better for politics this cycle anyways. The fakers and misinformers get outed much much faster.

LilyBart said...

One of the reasons we need to keep government small is so that we can turn our attention to our own lives.

When government has so much power and control, we have to watch them every mintue. It just the nature of government. / or of people with power.

Crimso said...

Wow, 92 comments and scant poo-flinging in a thread about politics. Hopefully the measured and thoughtful nature of the comments on this thread (with commenters who are usually at each other's throats standing side-by-side) will refresh you and allow you to continue posting on politics. I, for one, would far rather read about things like why you voted for Obama or how you feel about Feingold than what happened on American Idol last night. But it most certainly is your blog, and if any of us find ourselves tiring of it we should just stay away. Yourself included, though I hope not.

Robert Cook said...

"I lived through the Carter years. If anything, he deserves even more of a bad rap than he gets."

I did too...I even voted against him both times around, for Ford in '76 and (I'm ashamed to admit) for Reagan in '80. My only excuse is I was still young, foolish, and a Republican.

Carter was an ineffective President, but he does not deserve the invective hurled at him then, now, and all the years in between by right wingers whose obsession with him is bizarrely out of proportion to his actual failings or lasting influence. Had he been better at playing the game of Washington politics--had he decided to even try--he might have accomplished some good things. He was right about our urgent need to develop alternative energy sources, (and his apparently notorious "malaise" speech was a rare bit of deadly accurate honesty from a sitting President to his fellow Americans), but his initiatives were quashed by Reagan, who wanted to make his oil buddies happy, as have all who have succeeded Reagan in the White House.

He was certainly the last President we've had who I cannot wholeheartedly condemn as a betrayer of the American people and of the Constitution.

garage mahal said...

Ok, I will admit that the federal government did hire a lot of Census workers

I stopped right there.