Monday, November 3, 1997

Week of 11/03/1997

Congressional Quagmire
No outrage over campaign finance, just expectations met
- by David Matthews 2

This past week, the chairman of the Senate judiciary hearings investigating campaign finance abuses announced that the proceedings have lost steam, and probably will not continue past the end of the year.

This has many conservatives in a tizzy. After all, this was their chance to finally nail the Clinton Administration with something illegal.

Conservatives like Rush Limbaugh are upset and are trying to point the finger of blame on the public. After all, the whole purpose of the hearings was to bring about public outrage. Show the whole world that Bill Clinton and Al Gore were so desperate for campaign funds that they prostituted themselves to whomever would give them money. That way the public would vote against whomever the Democrats pick to succeed Clinton, namely Al Gore. Nothing new here. In fact, I mentioned this in previous articles.

But something else happened that the pundits and talking heads didn’t expect… apathy. The public just doesn’t care about the hearings!

So Limbaugh and his ilk are scratching their swelled heads and blithering on like idiots saying perhaps the public isn’t really informed enough. They can’t really blame the media for not reporting the events because the media has taken great pains to point out how much money is being spent and by whom and for what. The media live for this stuff, so they certainly aren’t going to whitewash it.

Then the swelled heads suggest that perhaps the public just isn’t mad enough. All the more reason, they would argue, to keep the hearings going! After all, there are scores of Asian contributors still in hiding, refusing to provide testimony to the committee. If they can just find those people and bring them to Washington and have them in front of the cameras then the public will get the full story.

Look folks, here’s the brutally honest reason why the general public doesn’t care about the hearings - because it only serves to reinforce current assumptions about politicians!

Let’s face it, we’ve always assumed politicians to be simply political prostitutes selling their votes for whomever would contribute to their reelection funds. And the incumbents are getting more money for this upcoming election than ever before. It’s gotta come from somewhere.

And with each public piece of evidence against the Clinton Administration that is revealed, the Democrats play their game of Mutual Assured Destruction and pull out some footage from the Reagan Administration or the Bush Administration showing something similar that happened then. Each move carefully countered like a corrupt duet of "Anything you can do I can do better."

If anything, the hearings only served to reveal the true nature of politicians, exposing their additions to money and power. The best characterization of politicians comes from Richard Jordan’s character in the movie "The Hunt for Red October" when he says "I’m a politician, which means I’m a liar and a thief, and when I’m not out there kissing babies, I’m taking away their lollipops."

So what is the public to do? Given the nature of the zero-sum mentality that the politicians reinforce on the public, there is little for the public to do. Any choice they make either for a democrat or a republican will not change the political environment one iota more. The only "acceptable" choice left is the one the clear majority of voters made in 1996 - to stay home and not vote.

Ironic, isn’t it? The voter apathy the politicians count on come election time is the same apathy that the swelled heads and politicians are now cursing at! And the really fun part is they have nobody to blame but themselves!

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