Why More And More Politicians Are Rotten To The Core............

John A. Quayle blueoval57 at VERIZON.NET
Sun Dec 14 00:03:44 MST 2008


Why More And More Politicians Are Rotten To The Core
By Matt Towery
December 11, 2008

That the governor of Illinois would attempt to sell a U.S. Senate seat 
didn't shock me. Across America, there is a growing sense of entitlement 
among more and more elected officials. Not all, of course, but too many.

 From city councils to Congress, elected positions have evolved from their 
intended part-time status to full-time obsessions. And as governments have 
grown, so have their access to big money. Political leaders now hold 
life-and-death fiscal power over people and businesses.

Most states' legislatures were designed to be part-time, citizens' 
deliberative bodies. The harvest schedules of old agrarian societies were a 
reason. So were comparatively modest government budgets.

Now most state legislators, no matter how green, are approached from the 
start of their terms by genuflecting lobbyists, business leaders and civic 
groups. These legislators understand that their new jobs are essentially 
year-round ones. Committee meetings, special sessions and the like are 
essentially gimmickry to keep elected officials in their respective capital 
cities as often as possible.

How do these people make a living? There's the hitch. Some are 
independently wealthy. Some own companies they don't run. Others have 
understanding bosses. But in way too many cases, elected officials are 
drawn to elective or appointed office for the power and prestige. Only 
later do they realize they've got no way to pay for the necessities of 
life, much less for the conspicuous consumption they continually see as 
part of the world of elected officials.

This explains why someone as powerful as Illinois Governor Rod "They Owe 
Me" Blagojevich can feel that his salary just isn't enough, and that maybe 
he and his wife should be paid handsomely so that some lucky person can 
replace Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate.

Please know that there are countless decent and hardworking people holding 
elected office in America. But their numbers are dwindling. Too many 
talented people work in the private sector instead of the public one. It's 
simply about economic security.

Too many people are attracted to elective office to satisfy their own egos. 
They're willing to sacrifice family and personal economic responsibility so 
that they can regularly get their rear ends kissed. It's sad, but it's 
true. Believe me.

Some states have gotten smart. Florida has a total ban on gifts and 
gratuities to its elected officials. That helps. But efforts like these 
don't eliminate the arrogance and sense of entitlement that make some 
part-time public officials feel entitled to honor and tribute at every turn.

Things have just gotten out of control, folks. Now, in many states, an 
election for a legislative position that pays under $20,000 can cost 
hundreds of thousands of dollars to win. That's appalling and absurd.

I've spent my entire adult life either around elected officials or, for 
several years, as one myself. I've watched as what was meant to be 
temporary public service turned into unending self-service. I can't tell 
you how many elected officials now expect the finest meals, tickets to 
prestigious events and so on. Some completely neglect their families, both 
financially and emotionally.

Something must be done to make public service a reality and not just a 
campaign slogan. Either let's pay these people what it takes to attract the 
kind of talent really good leadership demands; or let's put more 
limitations on their power. Otherwise, the Illinois governor may be the 
vanguard of a long train of public service felons to come in the years ahead.


Matt Towery served as the chairman of former Speaker Newt Gingrich's 
political organization from 1992 until Gingrich left Congress. He is a 
former Georgia state representative, the author of several books and 
currently heads the polling and political information firm InsiderAdvantage.



Note -- The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and 
do not necessarily reflect the opinions, views, and/or philosophy of GOPUSA.
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