Lonesome Tree in Sandhills

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Flawed Politicians

In "Lessons Learned from John Edwards' Iowa Campaign" (Blog for Iowa), Paul Deaton writes of his deep disappointment in... and what can be learned from... John Edwards' fall from grace.

I felt the same way after Nixon, Reagan & Bush Sr showed their true colors... but learned only after they were in office. After being a Republican most of my life, I switched to vote for Jimmy Carter, but he was flawed in a different way. Despite being a peanut farmer, he imposed an embargo against shipping grain to Russia that devastated Iowa farmers. Canada & Australia picked up that third of US grain exports. President Carter proved to be morally right but economically stupid.

The media exposed Bill Clinton's sexual escapades while campaigning, but he was elected regardless of being morally challenged... and re-elected because he was economically smart.  GOP leadership seemed hell bent to waste the country's resources - time & money - to investigate and impeach Clinton on moral grounds, and ultimately failed to get a majority in the Senate to agree.  Meanwhile Clinton's Administration was able to scale back federal spending and balance the budget, leaving a surplus for the next Administration to squander by invading Iraq on a flawed premise.

Newt Gingrich's 'family values' GOP campaign to retake Congress used Iowa poster boy, Jim Nussle, a young lawyer who's wife and 3 kids (one disabled) were left back in Iowa.  Much like Newt, once in Congress young Jim had an affair with a lobbyist whom he ultimately married; however, unlike Newt, Jim limited his wives to only 2. Iowa voters continued to send him back to Congress anyway!

So, in 1996, I dumped the GOP and never looked back. As a registered Independent... a very cynical one... I listened to the debates and reluctantly voted for Al Gore, only to have the U.S. Supreme Court decide his fate over the people's wishes. Al Gore was flawed in much the same manner that Carter was, and might well have been economically stupid, too - although the financial success of 'An Inconvenient Truth' says otherwise.

In 2004, six editors of the Des Moines Register sorted out the Democrats & picked Edwards as "head and shoulders above" the rest. So I got Edwards' booklet outlining his positions, which likely was written by Elizabeth Edwards. For the first time since John Anderson ran on the GOP ticket in 1976, I actually went to a precinct caucus and discovered there were many supporting John Edwards.

They most likely feel like I do now... even more cynical & hugely disappointed in SERIOUSLY FLAWED people who have the ego & financial support to run for political office. People who thinks candidates aren't beholden to the big money interests need to have their heads examined.  The relevant questions are:  to whom and for what are they indebted.

Knowing they are ALL flawed to some degree, I can only hope that President Obama, whom I actively supported after digging into his background and record (but not his books!), is flawed only to the degree that he may still be addicted to smoking and teleprompters. Please, Lord, don't let it be otherwise.

The statue of David cartoon below reminds me of how voters view political candidates.  Keep in mind no matter the political party, most politicians are flawed & will eventually melt into nothing.