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Sour Grapes of Wrath

I have often observed that “some people don’t want to be confused with
facts which contradict their preconceived opinions”. It is a pet phrase
I use often. Maier’s Law states: “If the facts do not conform to the
theory, they must be disposed of” (and I was always taught that a
preposition is a lousy word to end a sentence with). Corollaries state:
“the bigger the theory, the better,” and “the experiment may be
considered a success if no more than 50% of the observed measurements
must be discarded to obtain a correspondence with the theory.”

I have been conflicted over the issue of term limits for some time. On
one hand, by merely voting out bad candidates we would be exercising
classic term limits. On the other hand, the disproportionate advantage
enjoyed by incumbents (and their ability to raise lots of money) does
unfairly tip the scales. Tangentially, I have always been concerned
about the “institutional knowledge” lost when good experienced people
are pushed out, and the increased influence of the unelected
shadow government of wonkerydom.

Any reasonable person should be concerned about the proprietary nature
many incumbents assume. However, a recent lawsuit in Wisconsin provides
an added insight into the warped, Ionesco-like mindset of the
professional politician. Two state legislators from Wisconsin are suing
the state Manufacturers and Commerce Association for sponsoring radio
and TV ads which were critical of their voting records. These clowns
don’t want or need no stinking first amendment clouding their
territorial imperatives. Allegedly the ad campaign led to the defeat of
the two last November.

According to their shyster lawyers, the ads which were critical of the
legislators’ voting record somehow interfered with the legislators’
“right to hold office.” What? Honest, I’m not making this up. Truth
is way weirder than fiction. Counsel for the legislators argues that
(now pay attention because this member of the bar really said this) when
you get elected to office, the office becomes your property … and
nobody should be able to deprive you of it. I’d love to see the record
of these morons on asset forfeiture seizures, income taxes, and a wide
gaggle of various state fees, levies, and taxes.

What is wrong with this picture? Now remember, this Manufacturers and
Commerce Association did not charge the legislators with a crime they
didn’t commit. They didn’t accuse them of any high crimes or
misdemeanors. No, they aired ads which were critical of the legislators’
voting records. I have, over the years, been highly critical of a wide
variety of issues — some of that criticism has even contributed in some
modest way to actually effecting change. If critical analysis of issues
becomes a crime the republic is doomed.

Even more idiotic is the contention of these “representatives of the
people” that, once elected, by some strange and mysterious (perhaps
mystic) investiture, the office becomes personal property. The Greek
word for unbridled arrogance is “hubris.” However, I believe General
Norman Schwartzkopf’s use of “bovine scatology” is more appropriate.

The concept that the people for whom these Wisconsin wackos work could
be legally impeded from articulating criticism of the work performed in
behalf of the people, is patently absurd (not to mention
unconstitutional, silly, and dumber than dumb).

Furthermore, in the venue of a constitutional republic, our elected
officials serve at “our” pleasure. We, as voters, have the luxury of
dismissing our elected representatives for cause, or frankly, ’cause
don’t like you anymore … or we like your opponent more.