Saturday, May 03, 2003


If money is corrupting politics, then it is corrupting politicians. With full disclosure of campaign contributions, we can let the watchdog groups report if politicos voting patterns change with money or if they are being supported by groups that already agree with them.

I tend to think that power is the corrupting influence in.politics. Take Al Gore, who spent the fist 15 years of his congressional career as a conservative Democrat, even voting for Anton Scalia and Clarence Thomas to be on the Supreme Court. He was pro-military, pro-life, and pro-business and any number of things that were consistent with being a southern Democrat during his time. He never lost an election. His popularity was so strong. He loses his bid to be President in 1988, and slowly transforms into a national Democratic candidate. He writes a book on the environment that is quasi-Marxist. He becomes pro-choice. Bu 2000, he is arguing for more government control of almost every aspect of life. After the election, he starts to support government health-care.

Now amount of money in the world would have gotten Al Gore the Democratic nomination if he was still pro-life. No amount of money would have gotten Gore the nomination if he said that Clarence Thomas was a great Supreme Court Justice. Gore couldn’t sell out for money, because money couldn’t have gotten him what he wanted. He had to sell out his earlier voting record. It could be true that today’s Gore has believed this current philosophy all along, but that would mean he was selling out back then to get elected. He wasn’t selling out for money, the thing everyone worries about. He was trading his beliefs for votes. His convenient change may have been little noted in the press, but it wasn’t lost on his own people in Tennessee who defeated him for the first time, causing him the entire Presidential election.

I’m picking on Al Gore, because he is the most current example. George Bush 41 was pro-choice up until the time he became Ronald Reagan’s Vice-President. And the fact that his wife is still pro-choice leads me to believe that Bush Sr. probably traded that belief to be more in line with his natural allies. It’s about the only thing he traded. His tax hike in 1990 certainly proved that his Voodoo economics speech in 1980 was still his operating philosophy.

Campaign Finance Reform is a Red Herring. The fact that a majority of congressmen would vote for a bill that says that politicians are corruptible, means that many politicians are probably corruptible. But they can be corrupted for things other than money. In fact, most of the things that can corrupt them are protected by the constitution.

It’s our job to decide who is being corrupted by watching their actions. Are they changing their voting record for personal convenience instead of principle, are they in the pockets of the wrong groups or individuals? No laws are going to make these guys behave. They write the laws for crying out loud. The only way we can keep them accountable is by not falling asleep when they act on the public scene. It is our duty to watch and make notes and to make it known when they are straying. Otherwise, we’ll get a series of laws meant to lull us into the sleepy feeling that everything is being taken care of, and democracy is “safe.”

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