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All Politicians Really Are Scumbags

Hilzoy has a long quote from Edmund Burke exhorting us not to assume all politicians are scumbags, and to "be good at spotting courage, honesty, and virtue" in their actions. My first response is that I don't think "all politicians are scumbags" is an axiom, it's just that in every case I have encountered (with the possible exceptions of Henry Waxman and Deval Patrick) the evidence strongly supports the scumbag hypothesis. My second response is that the more power you have, the less you need my praise. The space of actions that are supererogatory for those in positions of power is comparatively small, and I'm not inclined to give politicians a cookie just for voting records that aren't discriminatory and self-serving.

In that vein, I need to look harder for a few intelligent conservative blogs to read, since the Democrats have some power now and I don't expect the liberal blogs to do a great job of noting the inevitable hypocrisy and malfeasance of the new Congress. (Well, unless it's perpetrated by Joe Lieberman. I can only conclude that Lieberman's life is consumed by a paranoia that I might, somewhere, in some weak moment, think a positive thought about him.)


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