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Mon May 13, 2013, 06:41 PM

Qualified vs Electable

My question is existential. How did the US get to the point where we are electing complete morons? Hasn't the electorate always been able to be misled? Somehow, those elected by previous generations still had some sort of 'pedigree'. Certainly, every generation of every society fortunate enough to live and vote in a democracy/republic has and will elect a lemon or two. Hell, Joe McCarthy was a lawyer, judge, WWII Marine and then Senator. I can understand his election based on these qualifications. Yes, I know, his administration of those duties were questionable and more, but at least he had it. His blathering then was at least somewhat novel, not the hackneyed echo chamber of today's mass media that still gets traction on the electorate.

I'm not saying all elected representatives now are dolts, far from it, yet so many are. I haven't researched it, but aren't there more elected reps with thinner qualifications now than in decades? Having run a company has become a political trump card, even if it was run poorly (Harken). It is so disturbing. My god, half of DU would make better Congressional timber.

Somewhere in the late 80's - mid-90's, it became okie dokie to nominate and elect popular figures. Sonny Bono, Steve Largent, Heath Shuler, Jesse Ventura, Arnold (who ran against Gary Coleman and a porn star among many others in a circus campaign). Some turned out well, America didn't come crashing down, rinse - repeat?

Electability over substance. The film The Candidate came out in 1972, so the concept has been around. Is Rove the inevitable result of the politics of sound byte & news cycle where to look & sound good is paramount and ideas don't matter to the electorate?

This one has been brewing in me for a while. Post-Peristroika, what an opportunity, and what a face palm. Help me to understand.



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Reply Qualified vs Electable (Original post)
Deny and Shred May 2013 OP
monmouth3 May 2013 #1
ElboRuum May 2013 #2
Deny and Shred May 2013 #3

Response to Deny and Shred (Original post)

Mon May 13, 2013, 07:15 PM

1. I've been thinking that all candidates for the House and/or Senate should be given a basic civics

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Response to Deny and Shred (Original post)

Mon May 13, 2013, 08:41 PM

2. Electable has always trumped qualified. This is nothing new...

I believe the reason for this is that not a single person in this country is "qualified" for office, possibly because you're looking at in terms of a "job", which may be an error.

No, public office is a "position", not a "job".

If you have a job, and you don't do your job, you can be fired. Instantly. Not so with a position. Certainly a person can be removed from a position, but usually not without a lot of voting and meetings and arguments and motions and other such rigamarole.

A job has a set of criteria with which the above can be measured. Not so with a position. A position is a set of amorphous responsibilities with no clear standard of measure. So long as the position is occupied and the person appears to be participating in those responsibilities on some level, the "standard" is generally satisfied.

Positions are just that. Literal or figurative points in space which beg occupation by someone or something. Ultimately, we are really boiling the concept of position down to its essence. In a lot of ways, giving a position-holder responsibility seems just a way to convince ourselves that it has the look and feel of a job, that it bears at least a passing similarity to what we know to be "productive work". That pretense is rather rapidly being dropped leaving the essence behind.

If this is the case, I believe your queries can best be answered as follows:

To introduce substance into the concept of held position, at least in this rather entropic situation we find ourselves in, would seem somehow inappropriate and retrograde.

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Response to ElboRuum (Reply #2)

Mon May 13, 2013, 10:23 PM

3. Interesting differentiation

By qualified, I guess I mean an attempt to place the 'Best and Brightest' in the appropriate government jobs, not corporate jobs. Thinking people, not position holders who take marching orders.

The only sanctioned Government personnel allowed to give reports, press conferences, etc are those who hold a position. Whoever holds the position gets the final word over any righteous underling. Shouldn't we expect federal position holders to do their job? I've experienced a lifetime of them not doing that, so I am with you.

How do we turn these into jobs that have substance? Retrograde yes, it hasn't been tried in a long time and might be deleterious to recent 'progress', but introducing substance to our collective decision-makers ought not be inappropriate. Its more like a longtime coming.

Once upon a time, in America, before airplanes, cameras, TV, talk shows, etc., people could only consider the issues, and voted accordingly. Why can't todays electorate select officials who are capable of 'productive work?'



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