Thursday, February 6, 2003

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IN PRAISE OF POLITICIANS -- AND PUNDITS: As a political scientist, I assume that politicians will act in a opportunistic fashion in order to get elected. However, my own DC experience confirms something that Brad Delong says here is 99% correct [Only 99%?--ed. I'm sorry, I just can't put Al Sharpton into this category]:

"But everybody who goes into politics for real--who runs for the Congress, or takes a senior job in the Executive Branch--is a patriot. There are other careers one can enter with a much higher probability of success that promise more in the way of fame, wealth, and the absence of boredom. Only a deep love-of-country can make someone become an Assistant Secretary of HHS or a Director of OIRA or a Representative from the area around Knoxville.

Nobody enters politics seeking to make their country poorer, weaker, and more miserable. Only patriots enter American politics."

P.S.: If you read the DeLong post, it's clear that he thinks pundits are a different breed: for Mickey Kaus, "policies are not real, but just a game, epater le liberaloisie and all that..." C'mon Brad, that's not fair. The probability of being a successful pundit is pretty low as well. Only a slightly lower percentage of policy analysts, pundits, and commentators go into it for fame or treasure. [What about blogs?--ed. Oh, yes, a successful blogger earns... there's just no dignified way to end that sentence.] And no one who reads Kaus can believe that he doesn't genuinely care about substantive issues, like welfare reform.

posted by Dan on 02.06.03 at 10:09 PM