Sunday, February 7, 2016

If Politics is a Vocation We Need an Insider

Max Weber referred to politics as a vocation.

If so, it's curious, the whole preference for outsiders and those with no political experience or skill. In US politics this seems to be a selling point.

But in few other industries or services would we consider this a virtue. What would you say if your pilot announced as you were taking off that he is not part of the airline establishment and this is his first flight ever?

That he hadn't gone to any fancy shmancy pilot schools as those folks are part of the Establishment that teach all these insider values?

How about if you needed open heart surgery? Would you relish your doctor giving you a similar speech?

How about a buying meat products from a chain that prides itself as being totally ignorant of industry best practices?

How about if you're on trial for a crime you did not commit? Would it be reassuring for your guy to admit that he has zero experience?

Most of us wouldn't even go to a barber who gave us a speech like this. Yet in politics this is held to be a virtue.

There is no question that Hillary is unusual in the sense that she is not running against the Establishment. But in a sense I consider that to be the truly radical position in American politics.

George W. Bush ran as an outsider who would return integrity to the White House-a dig at the Clintons.

Barrack Obama ran in 2008 as a post partisan outsider. Most of the GOP candidates are running against Washington in one way or the other. Ted Cruz is running on burning the place down. Trump has no experience whatsoever in politics.

The GOP Governors claim that they bring a different sensibility to Washington DC.

Running against Washington DC is the rule not the exception. In a counter-intuitive way, Hillary Clinton's position is most radical: she runs as the consummate Democratic party insider.

What was interesting in Obama's recent interview where he spoke up for Hillary is he in many ways has come to see her as having a point in 2008.

He has come to realize that it's easy to say you are going to change the rules of Washington, but that this is impossible if you aren't in any way conversant with what the old rules are and how they work.

He himself now admits that he came in a  too optimistically about the chances of being able to reason with the other side.

It's very interesting that so many of Obama's African-American supporters like Eric Dyson now have come to see Hillary as perhaps the real change agent.

He himself now argues that black folks had their big symbolic vote; don't misunderstand, they don't regret or recant. But they are ready now for a pragmatic vote.

Ezra Klein recently argued that Hillary's pragmatism is the real audacity.

I think it's very arguable that the truly radical, change making choice for the Dems this time is to vote for the candidate who understands the rules and can navigate them in achieving liberal objectives and goals.

Some may not want to hear it, but in 2017, Democrats need a fighter.

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