Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
--C.S. Lewis--

Thursday, August 7, 2008

All The Bums But One

I think this polling data illustrates something I find fascinating about legislative politics. It tends to weaken individual accountability. While the country seems to have a "throw the bums out" mentality about Congress as a whole, when specifically asked about their district, most people respond, "not my bum!" I think that is why, while the mood in the country may color individual races (as we saw in 1994), Tip O'Neill really was telling the truth when he said that, "all politics is local". Unless a challenger can recognize the mood of the nation, and tie specific offenses by the local incumbent to that mood, it doesn't matter how foul the country feels about the Congress as a whole.