The Real Lesson of Weiner: A Thought Experiment
If Anthony Weiner can destroy a promising 20 year political career in a matter of seconds with a tweet across the country, then Congress can perform their legitimate business function with far less time in Washington D.C. thanks to similar technologies. And I submit that's potentially the ultimate take away from the Anthony Weiner story. That, or proof that there's a God in Heaven.
Consider the ruling class of elites governing us from Washington: they exist in a bubble of money and influence that they rarely leave. We are told that they must stay there to "do the peoples' business." Thus they are oblivious to -- and protected from -- the awful realities they have foisted upon us. This would include the over reaching army of do-gooder bureaucrats -- that we are paying by the way -- to screw up our lives. How could they know and why should they care about all of this? They're never in the real world anyway. Human nature is what it is.
In the meantime, elected officials are exposed to the fake world of lobbyists and influence peddlers as well as others in Congress and the various apparatchiks of big government and big politics. They have far more face time with naïve recent law school graduates who now work on congressional staffs than they do with anyone who knows anything about the real world. Their social life is far more influenced by how they get along with liberal members of the media than it is by how they relate to the folks they represent.
Gee, what could possibly go wrong with that?
What could go wrong is what we have with government today. It is a self-serving and dangerous juggernaut. Sure, liberal Democrats are far worse when it comes to raising our taxes and infesting our day-to-day lives with rules and regulations than are conservative Republicans. Elections like Reagan's in 1980 and 84 and the Contract with America cycle in 1994 have for a time slowed down this massive government juggernaut to a degree. These ballot results produced some decent governance that helped usher in some great economic times, largely by getting government out of our lives and our wallets. Yet, the juggernaut was only slowed and not reversed. And the slowing itself was only temporary. And of course, few elections turn out as well as 80, 84 and 94 anyway.
For example, consider the turbo-charging of government growth by the results of 06 and 08 elections.
As many now know, the juggernaut is about to strangle and swallow all of us whole, spending money we don't have to enforce rules and regulations that prevent the very economic growth we need to feed the juggernaut in the first place. And unless you are one of those on the public payroll and your job is to be part of the problem, you probably realize this. When you think about it, this is the inescapable outcome of the toxic mixture of human nature, isolation, money and power. And we have all four in our Federal government in great quantities.
And I say inescapable because human nature is fixed, and we can't change it. Sure, some humans' natures are better than others -- and we hope to elect more of those humans. But they are all human, and as long as you have the toxic mixture, you're going to have toxic results. As conservatives, we instinctively understand this. It is the basis of almost every policy we endorse when we are true to ourselves. So we must change something else.
And we can change, meaning greatly reduce, perhaps the single most toxic ingredient. That is the isolation. With but a tiny bit of creative thinking and a little bit of courage, we can fight for a reduction in the isolation factor. In today's world, this is a self-inflicted wound that technology has made totally solvable. Frankly, governing has probably never required the full time and near permanent nature of having a Washington address, and certainly does not now. We all are more mobile, efficient and flexible now than we've ever been in our careers, and we should demand the same of those who govern us.
What I'm saying is this; if Anthony Weiner can have what almost amounts to cybersex across three thousand miles, then 435 House members an 100 senators can "do the people's business" while sitting in their home districts. At least, they can do a lot more of it while sitting in their home districts. This can certainly be accomplished more quickly than say, term limits. And it would address the same problem with human nature to a large degree.
And this, in and by itself, would be a tremendous improvement. We can all list many good people who get elected to Congress and go off to Washington, only to become a person we hardly recognize years later. Why? Well, they become a creature of Washington and stop being a creature of their home district or home state.
Just think of John Boehner. This is a classic case of Potomac Fever. Boehner was elected to Congress in the early 90's as almost a classic tea party candidate before there was such a thing. He was a self-employed contractor from a big family in Ohio. He had a great understanding of what problems government causes.
Now some 20 years later, he is part of the problem. While there's no way to be sure, I can only imagine what Boehner might be like today if he had spent far more of his time the last 20 years in Ohio around his drinking and smoking contractor buddies and far less around the likes of Senator turned lobbyist Trent Lott and those in the Washington Press Corps. Human nature is what it is, and there is simply no way that Boehner would be the same.
Look, liberal New Yorkers are going to elect reality-starved lawyers like Weiner to office for the foreseeable future. That's a fact. We can't stop that. But perhaps we can stop or at least slow down the erosion of the good guys when we get them voted in, if we can keep them close to home more of the time.
The state of Texas has created more than a third of all the jobs created across the country for the past few years. Not coincidentally, the Texas legislature only meets every other year and they spend the rest of the time in their districts. This keeps them close to their roots and far away from the corruption of Austin. I know it's unrealistic to hope that our Congress would only meet every other year, but I think it's time for a national discussion on using the most pedestrian of technologies to keep our elected officials away from the corruption of Washington more of the time.
Now that would be fundamental transformation that we could believe in. Wouldn't it be funny if this lesson were inspired by the instant high tech destruction of a political career by a liberal narcissist whose entire identity is wrapped up in his congressional office?