Tuesday, January 24, 2006
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Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!
Following Professor Ignatieff's lead, there is no reason whatsoever why we in America cannot elect academics to Congress. Indeed, now that Daniel Drezner will be decamping to Massachusetts, and given the fact that Ted Kennedy will be up for re-election this year . . .Which is what inspired the title to this post. And also this link to a William Tecumseh Sherman quote.
[You're afraid of all the rumors involving you, Salma Hayek, and the butterscotch toppng, aren't you?--ed.] No, I've met politicians, and I know I'm not one of their breed.
I don't say this in a haughty, superior way, but rather with a sense of awe at the drive required to run for elected office in modern America. A few years ago I spent some time with a guy who was planning on running for Congress a year later. This guy wasn't a political legacy or anything, just someone who wanted to be a politician. What I remember about him was the focus, energy, and almost-animal appetite he brought to the task. He reveled in he things about campaigns that I would find infuriating. I found the experience akin to being in a room with the biggest, baddest alpha dog you've ever seen.
Sure, once you get elected, the advantages of incumbency are pretty powerful. But to get to that point, you not only have to desire the office, you have to desire making the journey as well. That's not me.
And so I teach instead....
[Wow, that was deep.... so what you're really afraid of are all the rumors involving you, Scarlett Johansson, and the buttersco--ed. Oh, give it up.]posted by Dan on 01.24.06 at 10:09 PM
It depends upon the office. Running for Congress as Yousefzadeh recommends would certainly demand that kind of person--but you can work your way up to it.
Look at me--for years I've been saying that I don't want to be a politician, I want to be a campaign manager, chief or staff, something like that.
But guess who got elected in November?posted by: RFTR on 01.24.06 at 10:09 PM [permalink]
If I were a citizen of the People's Republic of Massachusetts, I could see myself splitting my ticket and voting for the Drez. And when I say that I am as sincere as the 100 million Americans who would vote for Colin Powell if he ran for President. J/K.
Still, maybe you should consider it. Campaigning & fundraising & going negative wouldn't be your strong points, but when the live debates turned to Foreign Policy you would TOTALLY know all the answers!posted by: Dustin R. Ridgeway on 01.24.06 at 10:09 PM [permalink]
You have too much paper trail Dan...every bit of this blog will haunt you if you ever decide to run :))posted by: A. N. Onymous on 01.24.06 at 10:09 PM [permalink]
With all this butterscotch talk, are you inferring that you want to have sexual relations with Owen Wilson?posted by: Subconscious on 01.24.06 at 10:09 PM [permalink]
Talk about reinventing the wheel. Lots of academics have turned to politics--and vice versa, by the way. Newt. Woodrow. I wish Ignatieff well. If, in the worst case scenario, he runs back to Harvard with his tail between his legs, at least he'll have learned something. You could do worse, Dan (but you're on the young side!).
posted by: Klug on 01.24.06 at 10:09 PM [permalink]
I've met lots of candidates for elective office. The good ones are those who can turn the campaign off.
That's not as easy as it sounds. Campaigns have rules, demanding but fairly straightforward: get money, get press, be consistent, project yourself as the candidate your constituents would like to see, or at least as a candidate they like. Campaigns are hectic, unbelievably time-consuming, and from time to time degrading on a personal level, but they are mostly not demanding at the level above the shoulders. Campaigns present few situations requiring a candidate to puzzle out the correct answer to a question he's never been asked.
A public office can be run in campaign mode. For many politicians it is easier to do it that way. For one thing you can take your campaign staff with you to your congressional or other office; for another, the same people who advised you on reaching office can continue to advise you on keeping it. And everyone else is doing it.
Per Dan, there haven't been many people who strode from academia into elective office at any period in our history. If academics weren't more comfortable with ideas than with people they would never seek tenure in the first place. But that's not all there is to it; academics typically do not have celebrity (that is, high name recognition) and are not known directly by many people able to help fund campaigns. This means that the journey Dan speaks of is typically going to be longer for people with an academic background than it would for someone coming from the law or business, or especially from a well-known political family.posted by: Zathras on 01.24.06 at 10:09 PM [permalink]
Perhaps it's just me but there's something a bit disturbing about the Salma pix, Dan. Has her head been photoshopped, or is it in fact unusually large relative to her body? A bit scary. Prefer more Scarlett, frankly...posted by: thibaud on 01.24.06 at 10:09 PM [permalink]
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