No, I’m not calling you, my readers, stupid. I’m riffing off of James Carville’s message to Bill Clinton during the 1992 elections, in order to keep him on message. Everywhere Clinton looked were signs saying “It’s the economy, stupid!” I’ve just updated that thought, and I’ve updated it with a purpose. Some people have left comments wondering how in the world I, raised a Democrat and showing some signs of intelligence, can have allied myself with the Republicans. I started to write an answer, which got longer and longer. Eventually, I decided it looked more like an article than a blog post, so I sent it to the American Thinker editor, who was kind enough to publish it. You can read the whole thing here, but the following is how I started off:
One of the blessings about having come of age in the Watergate era is that I have no illusions about politicians. Keeping in mind Lord Acton’s handy-dandy dictum that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” I’ve always had incredibly low expectations when it comes to that breed.
For the most part, our representatives are ordinary men and women who operate in an environment filled with sycophants, opportunists, and way too much money. Even worse, many of them make this unhealthy environment their life’s work. Sen. Robert Byrd, for example, between his time in the House and the Senate, has spent more than fifty years working D.C.’s political beat. It’s small wonder, therefore, that hubris is the politicians’ besetting sin, with the result that they are often caught with their hands in the till or their pants on the floor.
Considering my jaundiced view about politicians, am I at all surprised that Mark Foley engaged in unseemly conduct? No. Nor am I surprised at the bungling ineptitude the Republican leadership is showing in the wake of Foley’s exposure. My view of the”scandal” – assuming it is a “scandal,” since non-sex with non-underage, non-gay pages, while disquieting and vulgar, scarcely ranks up there with history’s great political sexcapades – I’m inclined to be lenient.
I don’t think the emails about which the Republican leadership actually knew could reasonably have required forceful action, especially since doing so would have resulted in a homophobia accusation. Even if I were not inclined to be lenient, however, the fact remains that the most I expect from Congress under these circumstances is manic and usually ineffectual scrambling aimed, not at solving any ethical or moral problems, but at covering all backsides.
In other words, understanding politicians helps us understand what this so-called scandal is not about: It’s not about whether the men and women wandering Congress’ halls are moral, decent, strong-back boned human beings. Many are not, and you’re being disingenuous if you acted surprised when they hide, waffle, dissimulate, or panic every time their turf is threatened. So let’s not all get our knickers in a twist about the horror, the shocking horror of politicians doing foolish things, or attempting to avoid troublesome situations. That’s practically what they’re paid to do. As the cops used to say, “There’s nothing to see here, folks. Move along.”
This whole over-hyped story is completely irrelevant – and it’s irrelevant for precisely the same reason I jettisoned a lifetime affiliation with the Democratic party and became a staunch (indeed, my family would say, fanatic) conservative.
The Clintonistas vaulted to the White House, and stayed there, relying on one pithy, Carville-esque phrase: “It’s the economy, stupid.” Today’s modified message would read “It’s the jihad, stupid.”
As I said, you can read the rest here.