Just Politics as Usual

Matt Welch lays out just exactly why I will never, EVER again in my life get worked up over a political election. Besides, it’s a lot more fun sitting on the sidelines. Ever go to a party, not feel like drinking, and watch everyone else drink — and then dance? While you’re stone-cold sober? Yep, that’s what the political scene is like, for me.

I admit it. I was stupid. I just thought that firing the Governor of the most populous state in the US was so way cool. It ought to be way easier to fire holders of political office, and it ought to be something that happens at least every week or so, at all levels.

Anyway, I would have preferred the very fiscally conservative Tom McClintock to kick Gray Davis’ ass right out of Sacramento. Tom has some integrity. As a California Senator, he has never voted against his stated principles — which are conservative — and that says something, for a politician.

But I really thought Arnold had the horsepower and will to really shake things up, regardless of the political cost. Perhaps there’s a lot more to that connection to the commie Kennedys.

What probably happened, though, is that he got sucked in, just like they all do. Does anyone think that the decrepit California Republican Party organization gave one hoot about California and whether Schwarzenegger could turn it around? Don’t be naïve. The Party elite saw him as their ticket back to political power and prestige in California (dream on). Think their support and continued support didn’t and doesn’t come with any strings?

All politicians are whores.


  1. Rich on November 2, 2005 at 13:53

    "…run a state…"

    See, it all comes down to premises. The core problem is that people and politicians believe that's it's government that "runs" things. It's people, and businesses that make the world go round, not coercive institutions like government.

    Government impedes the running of things. I believed Arnold believed that, and perhaps he did and still does.

    He can't fix it, really, because nobody can fix it. The fix is in individuals turning away from government as _any_ solution for _any_thing.

  2. josh on November 2, 2005 at 12:29

    Seriously though, did starring in the Total Recall movies really somehow qualify Arnold to solve Cali's intractible problems? I mean, sure, Davis was a boob, but how did that endow this ham-handed steroid-juiced mediocre actor with the vision and talents required to run a state bigger than most countries? Thank GOD he can't do it. Some semblance of reality has been restored to this insane world.

  3. OTTMANN on November 2, 2005 at 20:07

    Rich has it correct. Ahnuld can still be a force, because he's lived their for a long time, and made it on his own. He was smart enough to invest in real estate and made millions doing so while still in his 20's.

    His plans would certainly shake things up as planned, but the libs in CA run from even minor earthquakes.

  4. Kyle Bennett on November 3, 2005 at 07:40

    "I am begining to wonder if there is such a thing as an honest politician"

    It's not a matter of honesty. There are a lot of politicians who are honest, at least within that context. The problem is that politics itself rests on a fundamental contradiction. It is not possible to be consistent to any principle within politics, no matter how honest one is.

    "I have given up voting"

    Good. If you vote, you have no right to complain.

  5. jill on November 3, 2005 at 07:16

    I know how you feel. I have given up voting. I hear all the platitudes no vote, no voice. But really it doesnt make any difference. In my misspent youth I once thought of going into politics. Then the politicians disillusioned me. I am begining to wonder if there is such a thing as an honest politician. Then again, there is always going to be someone unhappy with our elected officials.

  6. Billy Beck on November 3, 2005 at 20:01

    I would like to urge clarity on one thing:

    "Politics" is the branch of classical philosophy which addresses the matter of how human beings should behave toward one another. There is no "fundamental contradiction" in this, Kyle. You folx are talking about a specific politics, and within that constraint, you're correct. But it should not and cannot be an indictment of "politics" in general, which is a necessary study.

    You're entirely correct about what Jill calls the "platitudes". Far and away; most people have the thing exactly, completely, backwards.

  7. Rich on November 3, 2005 at 22:37


    You're right, of course. I think you're referring to what HL Mencken called "practical politics."


  8. Peter Porcupine on November 3, 2005 at 21:28

    Ah, not all of us ae whores.

    Some of us do it for free!

  9. Kyle Bennett on November 4, 2005 at 06:47


    You're correct. What I was referring to was, as Rich says, "practical politics" – the idea that politics is a means to solve any problem beyond establshing boundaries with regards to how individuals interact with each other in a society.

    But clarity, as with most things, is a tradeoff. I could rattle off every single concept underlying every point I make, but it would come at the cost of obscuring the concept I wanted to communicate. It's always a judgement call, and because this entire conversation was in the context of "practial politics", I think it was the right call.

    One of the tragedies of the level that you and I and Rich think at is that the language is entirely insufficient for it. There is simply no broadly understood word to clearly distinguish politics as philosophical study from "practical politics". Even if I had used "practical politics" in my comment, it would not have clarified anything since there is no commonly understood meaning for that phrase. Even between us, Rich had to refer to Menken in order to establish a context for the phrase, which to those of us who are familiar with him, brings in a whole raft of connotations and background knowledge, but to those who are not would add nothing to the conversation.

  10. jane on November 5, 2005 at 21:55

    I think people mistake why Arnold was voted in. (Not you, I know you're from California) I believe he was voted in because he wasn't a politican & we attributed honesty (moreso than the rest) & integrity to that. Boy, he's sure proven us wrong!
    He's been like a bull in a china shop, offending almost every California group, organization, even Native Americans. In short, he's shot himself in the foot.
    I wish 76 would pass, but I don't think it will. I don't think people will even look into it just because it came from him.
    You're right about not getting worked up about politics. And I did like that McClintock also.
    Drunk people do look funny dancing.

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