Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Founding Fathers were career politicians

One thing that irks VUI about the Tea Party movement and the campaign of Nikki Haley for Governor is when they allude to the Founding Fathers of the United States being men who were somehow disengaged from politics and people that, like them, just showed up and found a better way.  It is nice rhetoric for a candidate with little experience, like Barack Obama or Nikki Haley.  It is nice rhetoric to throw at people hungry for something to believe in as they look around and see their lives so affected by the economy.  But, it is simply not true. 

Sorry.  The reality is each and every one of the Founding Fathers of this country was plugged into to politics their entire lives.  They held local offices, they led local political movements, and they wrote political opinions.  Ben Franklin, for example, formed the first fire department and public library in this country.  The Founding Fathers created the ideal of limited government, but that sprang from lifetimes of political experience.  They also believed in competence, and feared that the people would get caught up in some movement that was beyond reason.  That is why the idea of states’ rights, the Senate, and the Electoral College was created.  Those safeguards, along with the concept of three branches of government were created to protect the people from themselves. 

If you doubt that, read the Federalist Papers.  There you will find smart men writing opinions about government free of campaign contributions, political parties or rock star like status of candidates. Our Founding Fathers wrote long letters to one another and to others explaining their views and their fears about government.  They used their brains and their years of experience.  Not a one of them was a newcomer to the political scene.  Not a one of them was ashamed of being what we call today a career politician. 

But, our politicians today do lack.  Haley, for example, is an empty suit.  It is doubtful Haley has read the South Carolina State Constitution, much less the Federalist Papers or the biographies of the Founding Fathers.    She is not alone.  Chances are most of those who are running for office embracing the ideals of the Founding Fathers really don’t know them.  They spit out phrases written by political handlers that sound like something but really say nothing.  That is South Carolina and America now. The Right has joined the Left in embracing emotion and feel good politics instead of thinking.  Big money makes sure the right people are paid to give candidates the right words, so their narrow agendas can be met with, gulp, the help of government with their pet candidates elected. 

Gone are the days of conservative thinkers like William Buckley, who spent his life studying government actions and how they worked and did not work.  Gone are the days of politicians like Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater, who now history shows read a lot, wrote a lot and thought out their positions.  Now we have a breed of slick, well financed politicos who read from a script.  The Democrats have the same problem.  We are a culture that celebrates ignorance and inexperience in politics. 

Think about it.  If your car broke down on the side of some road far from home, who would you want to tow the car and work on it?   Would you want someone that told you when they arrived that they were proud to not have experience working on cars or you want someone who had the knowledge and experience to fix your car and get you home? Would you want someone who was paid by this or that car dealer to not fix your car so you have to buy a new one?   Why would you want anything less from someone who runs your government?


  1. AnonymousJune 20, 2010

    Who cares what Nikki Haley read? She is hot and the Governor says vote for her.

  2. AnonymousJune 20, 2010

    "It is doubtful Haley has read the South Carolina State Constitution"

    Oh shut up... you're a bigger moron that what you think Nikki is...

  3. AnonymousJune 20, 2010

    Very well written. Good points, well taken. Maybe the reason Haley and Mark want to cut Library funding and have it supported through private donations (just not Haley's ...she don't do charity) is so the public can't read and be educated. That makes it easier to promote charismatic candidates spouting empty slogans.

  4. AnonymousJune 20, 2010

    I will say this. Any forum I go to, I find the Haley/Lord/Sanford people spouting off venom and name calling. I've yet to see them exhibit any sort of intelligence. They do a good job at proving your point!

  5. AnonymousJune 20, 2010

    "I find the Haley/Lord/Sanford people spouting off venom and name calling."

    You're kidding right? The ammount of venom directed towards Haley is astounding...

  6. AnonymousJune 20, 2010

    "amount" that is...

  7. Wonderful post!

    The Pink Flamingo

  8. Cleaner ManJune 21, 2010

    Great colum Brian!

  9. great post. i'm from upstate new york, and i'm quite sick of people talking about the intentions of our founding fathers, (christine o'donnell and her first amendment remark come to mind.), when they have never heard of the federalist papers.
    i also believe that california has term limits? and they have people there who can't run the government, and have no idea what they are doing.

  10. Sorry, but Ben Franklin forming a fire dept, or a public library isn't exactly 'plugged into politics'
    That might not have been the best example to use.

    As for career politicians - nope. Anyone with that as their career isn't fit to govern a large country.
    You need more than political work. It should be someone with a good breadth of experience in multiple disciplines AND have some political experience