Success and tenacity go hand in hand.
Imagine saying this to your boss. “I am going to be looking for another job during the next twelve months. So I won’t be in. But please keep paying my salary and benefits while I am gone.”
The next sound you might expect to hear would be the slamming door behind your back, accompanied by the boss shouting “you’re fired.”
Believe it or not, there are people who do exactly that and get away with it. They are called elected officials. They take time away from their elected duties to run for another office. This has always irritated me and many of my friends. But recently, it became so obvious that I have to address it.
John McCain has, in the past month, announced to the press, two times, in a benevolent and grandiose style, that he would “suspend his campaign”, first to be in New Orleans for the hurricane and second to be in Washington DC for the great bank bailout debate. This sounds so heroic. It was impressive news for many. It was spoken as if his campaign was vital to the national interest and he, having carefully weighed the priorities, had decided that we would all just have to suffer through the campaign without him for awhile while he did his job. I won’t get into the fact that his presence, both in New Orleans as well as Washington was nothing more than a distraction, mostly for the media.
It’s not just McCain. It’s all of them, Hillary, Obama, Dodd, Biden, Kucinich, Palin, and on and on. I would be so much more impressed if one of them came out in the same benevolent and grandiose style, saying, “I am suspending my paycheck and benefits from the job I was elected to perform while I run for another office.” Wouldn’t that be honest and laudable? Or, better, “Since I will not be doing the job I was elected to do for the next 6 – 12 – 18 months, I will resign and let someone else do it.” If we added up all the down time that taxpayers support while their elected officials go off to run for office, I am sure it would amount to decades. Any financial analyst looking at a business would recommend some cost cutting in the face of this obvious scam.
How does one have the gall to make speeches about economic and fiscal responsibility while at the same time, bilking the voters for unearned income to support them while they speak?
Don’t get me wrong. It isn’t that I don’t enjoy the political gamesmanship; I love watching it. For me, it is better than any sports competition because the stakes are high and we citizens share in the risk. I love the maneuvering and positioning that politicians go through to win. But this time it was just too much to overlook.
When are we going to wake up and do something about it? This is our country. We pay the bills. Who else in your life do you continue to pay for poor or no service? If the electricity is turned off, do you gladly pay the bill? If your lawn care guy stops showing up, do you pay his invoice when it arrives? I doubt it. Yet, we accept, as common practice that we pay our officials when they are off the job, job-hunting, in a way.
I think that each state should pay the salaries of their Federal elected officials. This would create a close-to-home accountability that might inspire closer oversight. But that’s for another article.
So, thank you Senator McCain and Governor Palin for the magnanimous gesture and supreme sacrifice you have made for us citizens in suspending your campaign. We are so touched and grateful for your concern. You may now chuckle all the way to the bank.