Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Campaigning and Fiscal Responsibility

On one of the radio shows I listen to on my morning commutes, John Howell, commented that politicians campaign negatively because it works. 

I'm not going to argue the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of campaigning negatively.  But I do believe it begs another question.  If all the politicians in either party ever do is campaign negatively, how can we be certain that campaigning positively wouldn't work BETTER? 

Our elected representatives are our employees.  They are elected to serve us, not the other way around.  As such, shouldn't elections be treated more like job interviews?  If you had 2 candidates applying for the same job and in their respective interviews all they did was bad mouth their opposition, would you hire either of them?

Maybe the candidates of the 2 major parties should treat campaigning more like a job interview and less like a sophomoric name-calling contest.  Maybe the electorate would start to respect those who choose to run for public office a bit more if they were forced to run more on job performance and their stances on the issues (issues that they actually can effect change on-- thus, leave abortion off the table.  Last I checked Supreme Court Justices were the only ones who had/have the power to change that law and they're an appointed, not an elected office/position). 

One of the key issues of this election cycle has been the economy.  Which brings me to another point.  My views tend to fall right of center.  At its core the Tea Party movement makes sense to me.  The core belief of the Tea Party movement is one of fiscal responsibility.  Unfortunately the movement in many cases has been hijacked by fringe groups.  By mere association to the Tea Party these groups have largely taken the reason out of what should be reasonable argument and set of beliefs about the economic direction of our country. 

Once upon a time elected office was seen as an honor and privilege.  Our elected officials were supposedly our best and brightest.  As such they were supposed to lead by example.  Our Congress today lacks accountability on so many levels and perhaps most egregiously on fiscal responsibility.  How can our elected officials expect us to be more responsible with our money when they're not responsible with our money at all?


Mark Juric said...

I found this interesting: "If all the politicians in either party ever do is campaign negatively, how can we be certain that campaigning positively wouldn't work BETTER?" I can cite quite a few examples of positive campaigning, but let's face it, positive ANYTHING doesn't work. Americans are the most frightened, fragile people on earth. They are threatened by everything. When America doesn't have an enemy, we either create one or turn on ourselves. In that kind of toxic environment, positive just doesn't work. We've seen what happens when a candidate runs on a message of hope: he is undercut and undermined to make damn sure there is nothing to hope for. Well congratulations America, enjoy the fruits of your hatred and fear.

Perplexio said...

Mark: Despite Obama's popularity and the wave of additional seats the Democrats picked up in 2008 (in addition to those they picked up in 2006), the approval rating of Congress in many polls only increased by about 2% to 12% from a historic low of 10% under Bush.

Many Democrats in Congress saw their victories as a Pro-Democratic mandate of the people it wasn't any more than the results of yesterday's election were a pro-Republican mandate. BOTH elections were anti-incumbent mandates.

Most registered Democrats and most registered Republicans vote party lines each election cycle. The truth remains that the Democratic controlled Congress under Reid and Pelosi did not rein in the spending of the Bush era and THAT was what the voters in 2006 and 2008 WANTED.

Also keep in mind, Clinton's popularity actually increased after the GOP gained control of both houses of Congress in 1994 because Clinton was forced to govern more moderately, winning over many moderates who felt he'd been too liberal in his first 2 years. If he follows Clinton's example, this could actually bode quite well for his re-election in 2012.