The Right Coast

July 14, 2004
Is there a way to keep disgusting people out of high office?
By Tom Smith

How to keep awful, self-promoting politicians out of high office? It may be there is no way. Here is the latest story on Kerry's yucky self promotional habits. There are lots of stories like this floating around the web. But it's all rather dog bites man. On a much humbler scale, at a July 4th parade here in little Jamul a few years ago, we were standing in the crowd watching the local fire department, high school band, and truly deplorable local dance troupe march (using the term liberally) by. Some little ones were in the front so they could see. Then this jerk who was running for reelection to the school board or something appears, pushes his way to the front, and stands right in front of the little kids, who now can't see the parade. I wanted bongo his head, but settled for telling him (as did other parents) could he please move so the little kids could see the parade. There is probably some principle of politics that says you can at least be sure that anyone elected to head a school board doesn't give a sh!t about children. Hayek and others have observed that public office tends to attract the worst. The most decent men and women personally (though not necessarily the most effective leaders) often seem to get into high office by accident, or with a big leg up via heredity. Kerry I gather was a relatively impoverished old line WASP who married money (twice, and got better at it)-- not a good sign. Kerry and Lady Heinz are a rarity in that they are a couple consisting of people who have both married for money. That must make for an odd marriage. Lovely, of course, but odd.

One of the things I like about our Framers is that they were, of course, very pre-Romantic, 18th century, hard, and worldly men who had no illusions about the nature of politicians or factional politics. They deliberately set out to build a republic that would work even if men were not particularly virtuous. And a good thing, as it turns out.