Monday, July 28, 2014

Carol's Secret Diary as an Aspiring Politician

There are two political satires of democracies on tv, one on UK tv and the other on American, in image above. They were created by a Scot of Italian descent, Armando Iannucci. The Brit one was The Thick of It and the American one is Veep. I love both shows and recommend you see them.

If a person had any remaining beliefs in the integrity of politicians, these shows finished them off. What they skewer is the true motivations of politicians. The reality is that these people are solely concerned with getting into office and staying in office. That is their platform or belief structure. There is no other.

Caution: If you hate my feeble attempts at satire, like Felix does, read no further for today I am satirizing myself as I might be if suddenly I wanted to hold public office.

Carol begins her journey to political office by assessing her chances realistically.

I'd like to sit in Congress. What party should I choose?  It has to be the one with a good track record in this District.

Carol checks the voting history for her District and notices that she is in the wrong section for being a Democrat.

Ok, Looks like I'll have to run as a Republican. I'm not crazy about all their ideas but I can make it work. Let's take a look at my prior statement that I made about my contributing by running. I need to adapt it for the other party.

Carol has the Bill of Rights sitting in front of her and goes over it with a red marking pen.

Ok, let's see that means I'm for having guns instead of gun control. I'm against abortion instead of for it. I want the cops to have more search and seizure rights, not less...

Carol briskly goes through her photocopy of the Bill of Rights, changing voting habits of decades with scratches of her pen. Next she goes to the Board of Election website to find out how to change her voter registration from Democrat to Republican. Next, she looks up the party itself online and finds out how to enmesh herself in it at every level, local, state and national.

Hmmm, I may need to run for something lower down first before I can make this big a jump. Congress is a big jump. I need to find someone in a political office with a lot of scandal going on who is up for reelection and run against that person. 

Carol is online for days running down stories about politicians and their reelection problems. Now she is staring at an article about the County Road Engineer who is at the center of red hot issues. First, he erected barricades on certain roads where residents had complained about traffic (his mother being one of them). Next he had reneged on constructing an extra two lanes on the main commercial drag and drivers who commute to work on there are caught in hideous traffic snarls. Plus he was supposed to fix potholes there and has not fixed one of them! He instead made another road the construction priority. It fronts his brother's cement busines.  Carol is not at all deterred by her ignorance about anything pertaining to roads, cars, construction and the like. In fact, she was amazed to discover that potholes had anything to do with ice and snow until her husband told her last year after she ruined her car's alignment by hitting a huge one.

This is perfect! All I have to do is run for fixing everything he did wrong while running him into the ground on every basis possible. The average voter is more like me in not caring how the roads are made and maintained as long as they work for getting him around.

Carol next looks up the incumbent's educational background. He has a masters degree from CWRU in engineering. Carol is a lawyer. Carol sees this solely as a matter of spin for the voters. She can make her education seem better if she can find the right angle even though it has nothing to do with roads.

How can I spin this? What if I said that his problem is that he understands how to build roads but not the legal ramifications whereas I will rely on unbiased road building experts for making my legal decisions about which roads should be built or repaired?  That actually sounds pretty good. Ok, let's rewrite my statement.

My opponent has abused the voters' trust by using his office to advance his own family's interests with the road projects of this office. My first commitment is to getting the residents of this county onto our roads from home to the work place and back. I would not put any one person's road needs first like my opponent has done with his mother and brother. As a Republican candidate, I am also for fiscal accountability and a strong sense of representing my constituents' interests rather than my own. As a lawyer, I am prepared to follow the law, not flaunt it, as to what should be built as roads in this county.

All of the above is pretty amazing when the truth is that Carol has struggled her whole life with balancing a checkbook much less anything more complex. She hates math, knows nothing about finance or economics, and hated tax and business law while in law school. If she runs over budget with these damn roads, well, she'll cross that bridge when she comes to it--heh, heh, her first "construction joke."

Carol is interviewed by the local paper about her views. She now understands why so many politicians are lawyers. The way law school teaches you to come up with credible sounding arguments for any position, no matter how outlandish, is political gold. Excerpt from interview:

Newspaper: Why the sudden switch from Democrat to Republican?

Carol: I realized with a commitment to road construction that I needed to adopt the most conservative stance for handling other people's money in their best interests.

Newspaper: Did this change how you feel about other issues like gun control and abortion?

Carol:  A County Engineer does not have any input or vote on enacting or amending federal law. Both of those issues are federal. I would at all times seek to vote with my own conscience while trying to respect the overall platform principles of the party. However, my number one priority is fiscal responsibility. This is why I became a Republican.
November rolls around and Carol wins the election handily. Voters are delighted as she removes the barricades, stops work by the cement business and starts work on the main drag. No one seems to notice that she still knows absolutely nothing about roads or construction. She just does what the hired gun experts tell her to do. The opposition might notice that expert consultation fees have swollen the year's budget to double what her predecessor spent. This will only matter if she wants to be reelected County Engineer, which she does not. Let whatever incompetent follows her deal with the niggling problem of balancing the budget.

A year goes by and she is approached by the Democrats who want her to switch back to Democrat so she can fill a state senate seat as the incumbent is resigning due to health issues. The Democrats have been watching her incredible ability to flip flop credibly on just about anything. That she can run credibly as a fiscally conservative Republican while blowing her road budget through the roof shows political savvy they admire. She is able to focus solely on getting elected without troubling herself as to firm stances on any issues. How could they have let a gem like this slip through their hands?

Both Carol and the Democrats agree that State Senate will give her credibility for a Congressional runoff whereas being County Engineer will not.  Carol accepts the offer and immediately begins work on staging her political reconversion to the Democrats.

I better start getting identified with a few liberal causes so I get street cred back with the Democrats. Gay marriage and stopping deportations would be good issues for me. I better start drafting my County Engineer resignation letter too.

It has been a privilege to restore this great county's roads and to make the lives of everyday residents better. However, I feel that I have made my contribution here. I have cleaned up this department and now it just needs day to day running. Blah, blah, blah....
Four years later Carol is at long last sitting in the U.S. Congress. She really likes Washington, finds going back to Ohio a drag, but she must constantly appease those local yokels so she will get back into office. Her staff works night and day on keeping them appeased. Her political website, blog, newsletter, mailing list and so forth pander to those voters 24/7. The worst part of her job is when she has to glad hand with all of those yokels both here and back in Ohio. To think that she thought she wasn't a hayseed when she lived back there! God, how would she ever stand going back? She hates this part of the job, working for them, but it is the price of admission. Her most important staff member is her spin doctor or PR person. He is a genius at handling the press so that no one thinks ill of her. She really would prefer being in the Senate and they are keeping close tabs on any weakness in Ohio's two senate seats.

Coda: Obviously I could not resist doing this again. I blame it on being shut up with "the invalid" for two weeks and starting a third week with him and his detached retina. I needed comic relief. Once again, I had a great time doing a satire. 

1 comment:

  1. Very entertaining! And satire serves such a needed purpose: to enlighten its readers with truths that are too outlandish to take in until we can laugh at them when cloaked in satire.