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In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.

Monday, October 27, 2008


      Seems like most common folk have had enough of this election stuff and would vote yesterday to end it if they could. In that light then, a blog that has nothing to do with the Big O or the two mavericks.
       This may come as a shock to you, but the political game is filled with "users" who are both politicians and journalists and no one seems to care.
       Governors routinely use journalists to advance their agenda and journalists gladly comply because governors usually make news.
       Perhaps the best example of "usury" is noted barrister Geoffrey Fieger.  How many times has this guy said he was "thinking" about running for Mayor of Detroit, or State Attorney General, or who knows what all? Each time he opens his yap, reporters know it's just hype but they jump on it anyway because Fieger is good copy.
       So while sitting in a daylong seminar the other day lo and behold the using thing was discussed. An author from Detroit, James Hunter who has sold over 2.5 million books on leadership, laid this story on the audience.
       As Hunter tells it, Southwest Airlines takes potential new hires to lunch not as a friendly gesture but to see how they treat the wait staff.  If they are gruff and impolite, they don't get the job.
      Leadership, Hunter argues, is "How you treat people who can't do anything for you."
       What a great line and what a great way to live life.
       Unfortunately in politics, no one will ever live by that rule because sources and reporters only talk to one another because they get something out of it.
       Maybe in another life, everyone will come back as a social worker and then the using will stop.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Tim:

Even social workers are self-interested so that other life you describe will have to have other rules on human nature to work.

That’s why it is so important to have a small, strictly limited government. Elected officials and their lieutenants don’t check their own self-interest at the state house door. They profit from their “public service” just as captains of private industry profit from selling products and services for personal gain. The difference, of course, is that government officials can claim—quite falsely—that they’re disinterested and working solely for the benefit of “the people,” or “the children” or “jobs” or any other abstract generalization.

Another key difference is that when a business or industry fails to perform it typically goes out of business. When government fails it typically demands more money from taxpayers. I qualified the first sentence with the word “typically” because obviously some businesses have access to politicians and thus the taxpayers too. That’s another reason to keep government’s role strictly limited. It’s only too easy for the private sector to gain special favors or “rent” from government and gain unfair advantages over competitors and do so at taxpayer expense.

Michael LaFaive
Mackinac Center for Public Policy

October 28, 2008 at 8:37 AM 

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