Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 1, 2010 / 25 Mar-Cheshvan, 5771

No Experience Necessary --- Really?

By Mitch Albom






http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | You wouldn't hire a plumber who never saw a pipe. Or use a doctor whose only qualification was that he was "sick of doctors."

Yet here we are, on the cusp of Election Day, and by all reports, we are about to elect numerous people who have little or no political experience. In many cases, their lack of experience is their most compelling asset. They hate the status quo. So make them the new status quo!

The question is the same one you'd ask that no-experience doctor as he hovered over you with a scalpel:

"Should we be scared?"

Well, yes and no. Here's the problem. Yes, this nation was forged by men who had little or no political experience. Our forefathers. They are heroes. And a certain percentage of our country -- including the much tea party -- wants to replicate those forefathers in 2010

The problem is … it's 2010.

We don't have a John Adams or George Washington running. No candidate just broke free from British rule. Sure, the Declaration of Independence folks saw things purely and cleanly. But not because they didn't have years of politics behind them. They didn't have years of politics behind them because America didn't have years of politics behind it.

But by the time we forged the Constitution, most of the framers were from the Continental Congress. The rest were in colonial or state government.

In other words, they didn't just go out, pick a few field workers, and say, "OK, you guys create the country."

THE GAME OF POLITICS
But let's face it. We hate politicians. Especially long-term ones. That's the national zeitgeist. (This is silly by the way. There are good and bad politicians as there are good and bad everything else.) But lawmakers who have been in for more than one term are angrily viewed as the old and the bad.

In fairness, some are pretty dusty. Many lawmakers have been there 20 or 30 years. Quite a few have spent half their adult lives in office. For the first century of this country, people really did step out of private life, give a term or two of "public service," then return to their old life.

But it hasn't been that way for some time. And not only is there a huge difference between Thomas Jefferson and the New York guy from the Rent Is Too Damn High party, but the issues that lawmakers face today are vastly dissimilar from the 1700s.

Our founders dealt with liberty, independence and property. They did not deal with Wall Street regulation, No Child Left Behind policies, gay marriage, airline safety, illegal immigration or nuclear weapons.

Putting someone into office today is asking them to be adept on such complex issues.

Is no background in politics really the best training?

THE TROUBLE WITH LABELS
Maybe it can be. Maybe bright people can study up and learn together. But I worry that a bunch of wet-eared rookies will be forced to work with the long-toothed veterans. And how will they mix?

More often than not, newcomers are sucked under by the system. They quickly realize they need money to stay in office. They need alliances to get support. They learn they may have to vote for a distasteful bill to get a vote for a good one. They see their new fresh ideas exiled to committee, where they die. They're told "play ball or go home."

And many will.

So it's not just the people, it's the system. Washington and Jefferson didn't have banking lobbies or oil lobbies to be beholden to. They didn't need TV time to make themselves known.

There's a reason that in 1994, more than half of the Republicans elected to Congress had no experience. And here we are again, 16 years later, with loads of Republican candidates being touted for -- guess what? -- having no experience.

Dissatisfaction is nothing new. "Throw the bums out" has been screamed since early last century.

But if we've learned anything, it's that a lawmaker isn't great simply because he's never voted for anything, any more than a brand new football player is great because he's never fumbled before.

The truth is, finding a great candidate takes hard work, study, listening to debates, asking questions. Most of us would rather just read the label. New. Old. Only when it's too late do we find out what's inside the bottle.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.



Comment on Mitch's column by clicking here.



Mitch's Archives


© 2009, THE DETROIT FREE PRESS DISTRIBUTED BY TMS, INC.

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles