Thursday, April 14, 2005

Governance vs. Politics

From my friend The Balloon Pirate. I couldn't say it better:

"Here's my view: there are two parts to running a society: governance and politics. That's the way it has always been; even when the turtle-god chose Thag over Ogg to run the tribe of the smelly swamp, you can bet there was somebody behind Thag's rock of power whispering: "Our campaign to make Ogg look soft on disembowellment work like charm."

So it has been, so it will always be. It's a two-stage process: Politics gets you to the power, and once there, you start governing. Of course, since we elect our governors, there is always a need to do some politicking, even when in power. And since we have a two-party system, the party that's not in power will often play an adversarial role. It's called loyal opposition.

So politics does play a role in governance, and that's cool; the give-and-take of ideas, and the negotiation of projects makes for a stronger system.


Right now, we have in power a group of folks who don't seem to give a flying fig about the governance part of running the country. The Republicans of the Bush-Cheney-Rove ilk have discovered that if they politick correctly--which is incessantly and ruthlessly--they don't actually have to govern. Perhaps this was by design; more likely it is because of a perfect storm of money, amoral ambition, and a newsmedia that's trying to fill a 24-hour newswheel. Whatever it is, we're no longer living in a democracy or a bureaucracy--we're living in a politocracy. The Bushies have no more idea of how to 'fix' Social Security than they did on how to 'win' a war on terror. They have no ideas at all. They don't need to: all they need is messages, and some one to point out as being the bad guy. Bin Laden, Hussein, Clinton, Kerry, 'activist judges'--it doesn't matter who it is. It doesn't matter if the bad guy is a former ally--as Tom DeLay is about to find out. It also doesn't matter if their current message is completely opposite to a previously stated message. Because there will be another message coming along as soon as a different enemy can be found. No new enemies? Recycle an old one.

"But BP," you say, "This means there's no one actually running the government. Their inattention to the actual work of running the government--governance--can lead us to disaster."


So what do we do?

Well, as I see it, there are two choices. One: continue on as we are going, and let the whole damn thing collapse and hope that something better comes out of the ashes--that is, if anything or anyone actually survives.

Two: STOP PLAYING THEIR GAME Or, more precisely, stop pretending that the Bushies are playing by the same rules as everyone else. (Notice I say Bushies, not Republicans. I feel that Bushies are a bizarre sub-sect of the Republican Party. The Bushies are to the GOP what the KKK is to Christianity. I'm not a Republican; in fact, I disagree pretty much across the board with most Republican viewpoints. However, I can't bring myself to believe that half the country is as hellbent for personal gain and destruction as the current regime).

Stop playing their game. That would be my message: They're not govening; they're politicking. They have no plans. Point this out. Give every Democrat and Democratic sympathiser the same message: "They are not governing." Repeat it over and over. Use specifics. Respond to every attack with a question: "Why aren't you governing? Why aren't you going for the long view?" If they come back with Social Security, respond with a variation of the statement: "The reason you don't give us specifics is because you don't HAVE specifics."

I'd tell the Democrats: Make it clear that you're not playing their game. Don't be angry. Don't be retaliatory. Be concerned. No one is governing. Everyone is politicking. Where are the specifics? What are your plans? What are your plans for energy? What are your plans for the middle east? What are your plans for the economy? What are your plans for the ecology? You've got the Presidency. You've got the House. You've got the Judiciary. Don't wait for me to offer my plans. I'm not the one in power. What the fuck are your plans?

The Emperor has no clothes.

At any rate, that's the view from the high seas of hypocracy.



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