Wednesday, October 15, 2008

To Arrogance With Ease

One thing my years of being involved politically has taught me, is just how easily an elected official can go from being driven by a desire to serve, to the type of entitlement attitude that comes with arrogance. Most of the politicians I have met, on both sides of the aisle, have began their campaigns with a desire to serve the greater public good. Some may have pet issues or interests, i.e. education, board of realtors, labor unions, public employees, etc., but most really do appear to have the best interests of their constituents in mind.
Now jump a couple of elections into the future, particular for those public officials who appear invulnerable to an electoral challenge, a few things often happens to them.

1- Lobbyists representing special interests have convinced them of their importance and have rewarded them for their access to them.

2- The lack of a realistic electoral challenge leaves them the impression that they can do what they want without repercussions.

3- Because so many are deferential to them, failure of someone to show adequate deference is considered disrespectful to the position they hold.

Admittedly, this doesn’t happen to all elected officials. But it does happen often. The psychological rewards for being treated as important becomes an intoxicating drug for some in politics. Many don’t realize the addiction until they inexplicably lose an election and find themselves suffering the terrible withdrawal of returning to irrelevance. Even those who retire, often feel the loss of status like the loss of a loved one. As hard as many have tried to remain grounded, I’ve seen some of the best of them succumb to the feelings of entitlement.

When I watched the exchange between Morgan Bowen and Rob Bishop regarding donations made to Rob Bishop by Energy Solutions, it occurred to me just how far Rob Bishop had fallen with such ease into the realms of arrogance. It was quite magnanimous of Rob Bishop to atleast grace the rest of us with his presence at a debate of sorts, but he let us all know in no uncertain terms, that he is on Energy Solution’s payroll, and he is proud of it. And he knows he will win re-election, because he is Rob Bishop and a Republican.

Rob Bishop not only drank the koolaid, he ran out of koolaid and found something truly intoxicating. And the people of his district, wearing a certain beer-goggles of their own, don’t mind the slurred speech, because it is speech they understand and resonates with them.

1 comment:

David said...

This is a perfect example of why we must take advantage of the opportunity to regularly change our representatives. Sending the same people to represent us over and over again is a pattern that can only lead to problems - in case anyone hasn't noticed yet.

The founding fathers did not give us a system of regular voting and short terms of office in the hopes that we would simply go to the ballot box and say "my current representative hasn't killed anyone so let's send him back." They knew that the lifeblood of a good government would be fresh blood - meaning a consistent infusion of newcomers with unclouded vision.