Newsflash: Politicians really don’t give a damn about you

George Bush giving the finger while running for office. Probably one of the few times when he showed how he really felt.

Of all the illusions in the fantasy world of American politics — and there are too many to count — none is more pervasive and successful than the fantasy that political parties, candidates or elected officials give a damn about “average Americans.”

In nearly 50 years of either covering politics as a reporter or working inside the system as a political operative I never — I say again never — encountered a candidate, elected official or operative who cared about the needs of ordinary Americans.

Politics is geared to appeal to the masses but those who practice the game have a universal disdain for those of ordinary means, normal needs and modest lifestyles.

The system is geared to serve those with money, power and influence and then to use those constituencies to control the masses through propaganda, media manipulation and outright lies.

It’s been that way since before George Washington — in his farewell Presidential addresss — warned that allowing politics to become pervasive in government would eventually destroy the Republic he sacrificed so much to help build.

Democrats call Republicans the party of the rich while courting megamillions from labor union bosses, Hollywood fatcats and Wall Street.  Republicans try to exploit populist themes while letting backroom billionaires call the shots.  Democrats have George Soros, Republicans have the Koch brothers.

Sadly, I didn’t just observe these illusions as a journalist, I exploited them as a political operative.  As a campaign manager, I fashioned messages with a mass-market appeal knowing full well that those promises would never be kept.  I played on base fears of the uninformed to hurt our opponents.

During a five-year stint as Vice President of Political Programs for the giant National Association of Realtors, I used what was then Washington’s largest political action committee (PAC) to support candidates I knew were dishonest or crooked simply because they were “right” on our issues.  I used millions of dollars of PAC money to destroy good candidates because they threatened the corrupt system we supported with even more millions in Washington.

Politics is a lucrative, seductive business, one that depends on an absence of morality to thrive.  I drowned my conscience in single malt scotch and accepted the base argument that we were, somehow, working for the “common good.”

The common good took a leave of absence from American government long ago and never came back.  Morality has no role in a system where money buys influence, sex is a persuasive tool and corruption is a way of life.

From where we stand here at Capitol Hill Blue, no current candidate for the House or Senate or for President will change the system.   We see no option that will make things better.  We see scenarios that can make it far worse — like single party domination.

What we can do is look for ways to implement real change that might — at the very least — start reasoned discussion on the problems this country faces.

Can we succeed?  I don’t know.

Can we try? Yes. We not only can…we must.

More to come.

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9 Responses to "Newsflash: Politicians really don’t give a damn about you"

  1. Sandy Price  September 24, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Yes Sir, you speak for many of us out here in the boondocks. Most realize the situation and we are in constant search for a sliver of honesty from our Congress members and even, when desperate, a sliver of ability in our White House.

    Many of us are tired of paying our taxes to protect half the globe from tyranny only to see it blooming just outside the White House. It comes down to who do we trust with the government?

    I’ve come to the conclusion that President Obama missed a lot of chances to strengthen the power of the American people. Romney has discovered he does not have the qualifications to lead anyone into anything. We know what Obama is capable of doing and may need some nudges from all of us to go a step further in his actions.

    We have no clue what Romney is capable of. He could be a walking war starter or a simple coward afraid to act without the permission from the Prophet in Salt Lake City.

    We could start by searching for more of what the candidates will do. You’ve given us a theater here for our opinions and suggestions. I have some suggestions but will post them under this thread in Reader Rant.

  2. Griff  September 24, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    I suppose next you’ll try and convince us that there is no Santa Claus or Easter Bunny too.

    Damn you Doug Thompson!

    Let go of fixed plans and concepts, and the world will govern itself. The more prohibitions you have, the less virtuous people will be. The more weapons you have, the less secure people will be. The more subsidies you have, the less self-reliant people will be. Therefore the Master says: I let go of the law, and people become honest. I let go of economics, and people become prosperous. I let go of religion, and people become serene. I let go of all desire for the common good, and the good becomes common as grass. – excerpt from Tao Te Ching

    • bryan mcclellan  September 24, 2012 at 9:23 pm

      Devises left to man will be manipulated and furthermore,
      we are not safe with either side
      let alone with all the missing guards on our three piece machinery of governance.

      I would proffer that the young-lings are looking for us to step up.
      One can only hope to be equal to the task.

  3. realoldguy  September 27, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    You hacked away for the National Association of Realtors and have the gall to complain about the morality of politicians? Give me a break.

  4. Sandy Price  September 27, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    realoldguy, Doug Thompson has been very honest with his work with the Association of Realtors. It has nothing to do with his owning and operating this site. He has been around for many years as a political writer and forum owner. He is as honest as anyone, or even moreso as long as I have known him.

    We all have worked for others and left them as soon as it didn’t feel right. Doug has never hidden from his work. We love him here and he keeps us in line when we stray from our own honesty values. Stick around and you will see how to run a great internet site.

    Another old person

  5. woody188  September 28, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    We lost our way when the pile of money one has amassed became the sole measure of wealth. I know of few very wealthy people that haven’t lied, cheated, or stolen to get their wealth, then done more of the same to keep that wealth within their families. We sealed that fate when money became equal to free speech. If we are to start to even change this system, money must longer be allowed to drown out the voices of millions of Americans in favor of a few thousand of them. When the liars, the cheaters, and the thieves are given the actual attention their numbers deserve versus the exclusivity their money provides, we will start to see change.

  6. Sandy Price  September 29, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    Well said Woody

  7. Teresa Merau  September 29, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    Woody, well said.

  8. amerikagulag  September 30, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    George Washington University Constitutional Law Professor, Jonathan Turley, wisely noted, “Anyone who believes there are 2 parties in Washington DC is a fool.”

    And anyone who votes inside the ‘red pill / blue pill’ box this time around is a traitor.

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