Free Markets, Free People

Another reason we’re in the mess we’re in: the rise of the professional politician

Another reason we’re in the mess we’re in is because of the rise of professional politics and politicians.  According to a recent study 46%  of the present Congress is comprised of lawyers.  That’s 68 times  the density of lawyers throughout the population. But law school for many has been or has become the jumping off point for life as a professional politician.

And so, as with our current president, we get a class of people who have never “done anything or run anything.”  The results predictable, just look around. For the most part, those who are our supposedly “leaders” haven’t a clue on how to proceed or how to “fix” what is wrong with this country.  They have little experience in doing much of anything else but getting elected. Execution, governing, management – all seem foreign to most of our political class.  So they rely on “experts”, mostly in academia or among their political connections, to advise them on how to proceed.

Ed Driscoll provides us with a great example of one politician who, after he left political life, realized how little he knew about extraordinarily important information, and how little experience he actually had where it counted. Former presidential candidate and longtime politician, George McGovern, decided to go into business after leaving politics. It was only then, after his business failed, he realized how little he knew about something as critical as what it takes in the business atmosphere he helped build to run a business.

George McGovern laments that after his experience in the bed-and-breakfast business he realizes that laws and regulations pertaining to small business are actually hurting the lower-wage workers whom he had tried to help during his entire political career. With his Stratford Inn in bankruptcy, McGovern now says:

In retrospect, I wish I had known more about the hazards and difficulties of such a business…. I wish that during the years I was in public office I had this firsthand experience about the difficulties business people face every day. That knowledge would have made me a better Senator and a more understanding presidential contender… To create job opportunities, we need entrepreneurs who will risk their capital against an expected payoff. Too often, however, public policy does not consider whether we are choking off those opportunities.

He is just one of many of this of this professional political class who have helped put us in this mess.

We should demand, as voters and citizens, that our politicians have real world experience before we allow them the privilege of representing us. We should end this era of politicians whose only real world experience concerning the effects of policy come from dormitory debates and untried academic theories.  And we should reject, out of hand, anyone who has “never done anything or run anything”, unless we find ourselves comfortable with the shape this country is in.

~McQ

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23 Responses to Another reason we’re in the mess we’re in: the rise of the professional politician

  • Term.  Limits.
    But, in response to your “zero tolerance” position, McQ, I would vote for Thomas Sowell any day.  I hope you can name a lot of other people…with a little thought.
    Rep. Bachman is a lawyer who has also “run things”.  There are others who may have a law degree who have never used it.
    In general, I agree we would be MUCH better served by increasing the number of people from different walks of life.

  • “We should demand, as voters and citizens, that our politicians have real world experience before we allow them the privilege of representing us.”
     
    Or that they at least be completely inexperienced good looking clean cut articulate black men with obscure backgrounds, withholding all their credentials via legal orders.
     
    I’m such a racist.

    • OH! WAIT!!!!!!
       
      Or that they at least be completely inexperienced good looking clean cut articulate white men with obscure backgrounds, withholding all their credentials via legal orders.
       
      Works either way, no?
       
      Can we do an actual intelligence test of some sort?   Hagel, Biden, Hank Johnson, etc, etc, etc.
       
       

      • Or….should we just stick with what we do, and continue to elect people who are, effectively, either morons or sheltered from everyday American life?

      • Looker,
        I don’t know that an intelligence test would suffice. I mean, let’s take a look at BO. He is unquestionalby intelligent. There is no way he could have duped as many useful idiots as he has without some intelligence.  Misinformed? No question. Radically divorced from American history and precedent?  Without question. I would submit that no matter how much every fiber of my being resents the fraud he has perpetrated on the country, I have to give him props for being smart enough to pull it off. Bottom line, is that there are many people out there who possess butt loads of intelligence, and can’t lead their way out of a dark room with a map and a flashlight. That said, I think you are on to something. There needs to be more though, than an intelligence test. I’m thinking morals and ethics have to weigh very heavily as well. Being able to answer a constitutional question from the standpoint of having actually read the document would be a good place to start.

        • Whaaaat man!  We gots a Constitutional Scholar guy NOW!!!! sheesh!
           
          Seriously, while I was being snarky I was thinking along the lines you stated, but, alas, we demand to have the ‘right’ to elect any idiot we want.
          Anything else would be some sort of prejudice thing that someone swore we were using to keep “those people” (and pick what ever class ‘those people’ would be to the offended) out of office.  More than likely it would be attributed to us being racist white European descended males, conservatives, over the age of 21.  I see I’ve repeated myself there.
           
          I’d be in favor of morals, ethics and some modicum of a intellect.   Again though, now we get into who’s morality, who’s ethics.   Sigh.

          • Concur. As to who’s morals, the situation we find ourselves in currently is not a choice between our morals or theirs, but more along the lines of “got morals” or “aint got morals”…..

          • Do you mean perhaps…
            the ethics and morals of renting underage prostitutes for ‘immortal porpoises’ in foreign countries?
            The ethics or morals of water boarding versus blowing people up from the sky (American citizens, without a warrant even!)
            The ethics or morals of ‘if we can save one life we must do something’ versus leaving 4 men to die in a hell hole in Benghazi while air support was within short flight time?
             
            I don’t know what we do have these days, for our government, but I know what we DON’T have.
             

  • “The fault, Dear Brutus, lies not in our stars, but in ourselves.”

    Shakespeare, as written in ‘Julius Caesar.’

    Modern translation:  “we have met the enemy and he is us.’
    POGO

  • After a few months of government-sponsored and media-promoted hysteria over guns, the mass roundup of toddlers and preteens wielding high capacity pointyfingers is hardly surprising.

    Now imagine the unemployment rate if we actually required experience from just about anybody

  • “In retrospect, I wish I had known more about the hazards and difficulties of such a business….”
     
    Horse biscuits. It’s not as if the information wasn’t freely available, or that nobody was trying to tell him the consequences of his actions. It wasn’t ignorance that misled him (although he had that aplenty), it was arrogance.  There are none so blind as those that will not see.
     
    About half a century ago I happened to be socializing with a congressional gofer, a tweed jacket with elbow patches pipe-smoking poly sci. oh so sophisticated chap. I asked him why so many solons were lawyers and he told me that lawyers could write better laws. I was skeptical then, and a half century of experience has turned skepticism into cynicism.
    My theory is that only professions like law allow someone enough free time to get into politics. Most of the rest of us can’t take off a couple of hours in the afternoon to network or attend some political function. It’s also more difficult for the rest of us to take sabbaticals and expect to find the same or an equivalent job waiting when we return.

    • I don’t disagree.  Two words sum most of ‘em up – ‘hubris’ and ‘arrogance’.

    • I asked him why so many solons were lawyers and he told me that lawyers could write better laws.

      Ah, but “better” in what sense?  And “better” to accomplish what?
      PLUS, you can buy lawyer time…IF you can’t find it pro bono…pretty cheap (comparatively).  Crafting a good statute is harder than it might appear, which is one reason I have for several decades held that lawmakers MUST revisit their work every few years to see what courts and regulators have done with their intent, and rectify or kill laws.

      • “Ah, but “better” in what sense? ”
         
        Hey, I’m just relating what I was told. We know better.
         
        “PLUS, you can buy lawyer time”
         
        Yep. That is why they have staff, including permanent staff who should be expert at that sort of thing. Of course it might help if someone actually read the legislation before they voted on it. I read some years ago that Congress enacted over 800 new laws per year. That doesn’t count proposed laws that fail. I submit that even great lawyers can’t produce quality product in that volume.

        • If that is right, even great lawyers could not READ that volume, along with campaign, fund raise, meet, etc.

    • Lawyers can write better laws.  Translation, Lawyers write convoluted laws that can only be deciphered by other lawyers thus perpetuating the need for lawyers.

      • One of the few jobs that can create their own work.

      • That is less a problem for me than when lawmakers pass intentionally vague statutes and essentially punt hard choices to unaccountable regulators and courts.  ObamaCare is a TERRIBLE example of this.

  • I blame the electorate 100% not the politicians. They’re scum, but they simply respond to stimulus.  Not that it matters much anyway, the barriers to entry are now exclusionary. These seats are becoming hereditary prizes now. When one of these mossbacks dies or leaves for whatever reason, the kid, the spouse, the cousin, someone related just gets it like magic.
     

  • No need for term limits. Simply make year 2 of each Congressional session to be a non-legislative year. During those years, Congressmen are randomly assigned a business in their district, and are responsible, for that year, for all compliance issues. And I mean compliance in the Sarbanes-Oxley kind of way.
    When they are forced to eat their own cooking for a while, things will change.

  • Looker,
    I think we agree loudly on this subject. 
    Harun,
    That’s a fine idea, and also, no campaigning while they are out doing the compliance time….