Saturday, February 28, 2009

Another Question for the Ages: Why? Why Do They Do This?

Call me practical, but if I were going to launch my career in politics, I would have a few guiding principles in mind that I've acquired from years of observation.

1. Don't embezzle, do favors, engage in quid pro quo, even if it seems insane to "fucking give it away." In the latter case, I would most definitely not comment on the injustice of the arrangement while I'm being wire-tapped.

2. No sex scandals. Assume that even if that hooker seems trustworthy or that club where fellow rubber-hose fetishers congregate seems discreet, you will be found out.

3. No embellishment of really good stories. I know it's tempting to think this stuff will fly under the radar in normal conversational matters, but truly, they've got really awesome technology these days that let you record. It's a bitch to be famous.

So with principle 3 in mind, I'm left to wonder just what Bobby Jindal could possibly have been thinking, because he seems like a smart guy, Rhodes Scholar and all.


Toby said...

I believe the qualities that make for successful politicians generally lead them to commit the common faults cited. For example, you need a big ego to withstand the brutality elections inflict upon you, but these egos lead people to do things because they think they are better/smarter/more discreet than other people. Plus, to succeed in getting things passed, approved, etc. you need to play games with your rivals and fellow politicians. It all comes down to "if you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours." It sometimes becomes difficult to see where the line between ethical and unethical backscratching lies. Plus the big ego makes you think that you can push that line if needed. As for storytelling, I think this also connects to the ego issue. It's hard for them not to believe they were engaged in more exciting activities than the real story actually indicates. So they tell the story as their ego would like to believe it.

Laura said...

Yeah, I can definitely see how that would all lend itself toward a sense of entitlement and infallibility. There's probably a dose of Cheney-esque "only *I* can see the big picture and am working for ultimate good! You have to break some eggs," etc.

This is another reason why Obama's such a fascinating specimen. He's got the hyper-achievement track record, but by virtue of not being one of the scions (a la Bushes) or the white boot-strappers (Clinton), he didn't have a lot of the privilege. Not the Clinton did, per se, but there's a certain sense of being a default when you're white. If you do something wrong, the white majority can identify with your personal faults, see them as understandable, put themselves in your shoes. Screw up as a minority in a small small field, and it's less about you as an individual and more about your representation of the group. That black guy got bad grades! Damn affirmative action!

Laura said...

I'm also going to assume from your phrasing here that you feel the pain of this from personal experience:

"It sometimes becomes difficult to see where the line between ethical and unethical backscratching lies"

Toby said...

Me and my enormous ego getting me into trouble again.

So, turns out my neighbor is a childhood friend of the director for "The Watchmen", so I scored two seats to an advanced screening tomorrow. I'm psyched. And no unethical backscratching was involved. I think.

Laura said...


Report on how it is, generally speaking. I'm curious, but I know nothing about the source material.

Laura said...

But you may find out what the payback is later on this alleged gift. Hope you still have that speed dial to Bruce Campbell and your plug in to vast publishing empires.