We’ve returned from a nearly unforgivable week-long absence (our longest to date) for the Christmas holiday and are ready to resume work. I hope you all had a very Happy Holiday, I know I did, and I look forward to the impending New Year.
Our topic for today is the categorization of politicians into specific groups based upon their motives. I’ve given this some serious thought over the years and I think it’s a critical exercise for the American citizenry to know what drives their representatives in government. There are four distinct categories, each with politicians of past and present attached as examples. Of course it is possible that a politician can belong to multiple groups or move from one group to another over the course of what is typically (and unfortunately) a long career in government. However they are usually more one than another, and with a trained eye an observer can see the telltale signs that tag them appropriately. With that, we’ll now get to know our politicians.
The “Wash-Out” is a politician who had average or below-average grades in school, though they may have done well in college. They were probably a law student, and upon graduating they found that they had neither the inclination nor the talent for the private sector. They may have attempted to hold down a respectable job for a period of time, perhaps as a personal injury lawyer, or they may have even been handed a management position or a whole company by a wealthy parent. But in time their lack of talent became painfully obvious not only to others but also to themselves. In a last-ditch bid to stay above water and maintain the prestige that a law/medical/philosophy/leisure studies degree is supposed to confer, they either ran for public office or cajoled a political appointment from one of their old Harvard classmates (who could belong to any of these four categories). From there, they endeavored to stay on the dole as long as possible and have been proudly serving as your elected representative to Congress for the last twenty-four years. The “Wash-Out” is typically the most susceptible to bribery. Additionally, the “Wash-Out” may often make an easy transition to “Megalomaniac” and is often the child of a “Daddy Warbucks.”
Example: George W Bush
The “Megalomaniac” is exactly what it sounds like. This politician may come from all walks of life, ranging from poverty to extreme wealth. But at their core they thirst for power and recognition from their peers, and seek to attain it by any means necessary. These are the people who said they wanted to be President of the United States when they wrote their first grade essay and by the time they reached college hadn’t changed their mind. Like the “Wash-Out,” they have no real political convictions but are base demagogues who will say whatever they have to in order to cling to power and climb the ladder. They never give a real answer to any question and they smile all the time, unless their aides tell them to look solemn/serious. They often are half of a “power-couple” and allow their relationships to be dictated by polling data. They appear on the covers of various popular magazines, and have been Time’s “Person of the Year” at least once (they beat out Mother Theresa).
Example: Hillary Clinton
A “Daddy Warbucks” was either born into wealth or earned it through hard, honest work in the private sector (though they are more often the former). Having given generously to charity and various political campaigns over the course of their adult life, their abundance of free-time got them thinking about entering politics themselves. They may or may not have strong political beliefs, but oftentimes they are do-gooders who seek to save Americans from themselves. They financed their own campaign and purchased a block of prime-time television that made their victory inevitable. Deep down inside, “Daddy Warbucks” knows that if he/she ran their business the way they advocate running government, it would fail spectacularly, which is probably why they enjoy politics as much as they do. They have numerous conflicts of interest that haunt them from their private business dealings. If they were born into wealth, then their name is often enough to sweep these conflicts under the rug, along with the involuntary manslaughter/statutory rape/insider trading charges. At their core, “Daddy Warbucks” is simply a bored billionaire looking for a new mountain to climb or toy to buy.
Example: Michael Bloomberg
The rarest type of politician is the “Ideologue.” They are true believers who entered government against their better judgment in order to make a difference. They come from all walks of life, but are usually lower- or middle-class citizens who have seen injustice done to themselves or others and seek to make it right. They dislike politics and politicians and are often marginalized because they are unable or unwilling to compromise or “play the game.” They are liberals, moderates and conservatives. They are usually disliked by their political peers and referred to as “nuts” or “kooks”. They are eager to exit politics once their goals are accomplished, but more often than not they will leave in disgust and disillusionment or get voted out by their constituents for failing to secure enough earmarks or because they were destroyed by the media and their political colleagues. They rarely hold high office because they do not seek it, but at times of great national turmoil they can be dragged into power or reluctantly accept it in order to prevent politicians from the other three categories from taking it. You just voted them out of office this year.
Example: George Washington