Former governor of S. Carolina, Mark Sanford, is running for Congress in that state.
He's the guy who said he was hiking in the woods while having a tryst with his S. American honey. On O'Reilly tonight they discussed whether he deserved a second chance.
My response was much different than their pro and cons. It seemed to me, that his new bid for political office demonstrated an inordinate need, incontinent desperation for political power and position. That disqualified him for office in my eyes.
But wait, I thought. If a man makes a personal, private mistake in other professions, it rarely disqualifies him from pursuing his livelihood as he is capable of.
That begs the question, is politics a legitimate profession?
In some societies, no doubt it is. But not in this, in mine. Here's why:
In a republic established as ours has been on certain Enlightenment principles regarding the common weal and public duties, our Founders believed that the governments of the States and USA were to be made up of farmers, tradesmen, businessmen and not of lawyers. George Washington set the example we were to follow of a man enduring office as his civic duty and returning to happier pursuits when his term expired.
That hope and ideal lasted briefly as factions were created, and (unavoidable) party politics began. But that doesn't make the political profession legitimate as one that men should pursue as a career.
Rather, it proves its illegitimacy. For example, if I have a servant, I can't really claim that the man does me a service when he performs the duties for which he's paid. I mean service here in the spiritual and voluntary sense such as a Christian who occasionally serves the poor or unfortunate in the spirit of good will and compassion.
But if that person becomes a nurse and is employed for that purpose, then it's not the same thing any more than all the nurses working in a Catholic hospital are Christian or working for the sake of bringing God's grace to others.
A political career is thus, a matter of self-aggrandizement. That is fine in any other vocation, but not regarding a republic like ours. We have based ours on the hope (probably wishful thinking) that our public servants really will be voluntary and reasonably humble servants to the public weal; yes, serving their constituents faithfully and honorably, but also maintaining an eye for the larger good of all.
While W. Bush was president, I thought to try and involve myself in the local Republican Party. I began attending meetings and listening to local state politicians who came to speak, but begged off from the work of phone canvasing and precinct walking to pass out literature.
In getting to know a number of fellow Republicans, it was clear that they were basically very conservative, Tea Party types. These were the stalwarts who came back after every loss and found new energy to help local and national candidates get elected.
They made the calls, drove the GOTV cars, put up the signs, staffed the offices, found the crowds for events, made the small donations, and so on.
These are the people who got W. Bush elected twice. And how did Bush show his gratitude? He screwed them. He thanked them profusely for their efforts. "I couldn't have done it without you!" And it was true. So how did he repay them?
He denied every conservative principle in which they believed. He told them they were cold-hearted bigots for wanting illegal aliens deported and the borders closed. He signed a bill against free speech claiming it was unconstitutional but said, let the courts deal with McCain-Feingold. He passed the insane No Child Left Behind with Ted Kennedy. He made it so millions bought homes with no money down with sub-prime loans and inflated the economy. He increased the deficit and national debt by leaps and bounds.
And so on and so on.
So I stood looking out one evening at these older folks with their decency, work ethic, steadfastness and patriotism as they worked selflessly for candidates in the hope that they could improve the country for the sake of others, their children and grandchildren, and fellow citizens.
And I thought of Bush in the White House completely oblivious to any service these people were owed in return.
If asked, Bush would say, "I am President of all the people now, not just of those who made it possible for me to be elected."
But that simply means, "I'll decide for myself what I feel like doing, and not what others elected me to do. I have an agenda. I pretended I would carry their agenda, but that was a pretense; part of the game of getting elected, and those people, I know them, they're nice, but they're suckers. They are there to be used. Not served. I may owe them, but so what?"
I think Ronald Reagan is the only major politician in my lifetime of whom it could be said was a man of principle and for the people who elected him. And even he screwed up a number of times. On abortion as governor. On amnesty as president and in other matters, I'm sure.
And so I would come back and look at my fellows in the meeting room and wonder how they could stand to be betrayed as a constant in life, like Charlie Brown and Lucy with the football.
One politician I listened to, a local State Assemblyman known for his auto dealership who claimed to be a rock ribbed conservative would later join three others Reps and cross the aisle to pass one of the worst budgets in State history in California. This was when the budget required two thirds in both houses to pass, and Republicans had that one third and a little more. Now a simple majority will do since the voters passed the proposition to change it.
No one expects that all their principles can be served by any elected official, but to always have those principles scorned by those chosen to represent you is galling.
If politics is a profession, it certainly is not an honorable one nor legitimate because the people who choose it as a career or out of personal design are rarely honorable or legitimate (but bastards and whores through and through).
The question is then, where do we find a better class of people for the task of government? I don't know. Who is humble anymore?