The game of politics

The voters lose

Not everyone can survive in the cutthroat world of politics. Hours are long, pay is underwhelming and to be successful, you have to be able to play the game.

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich knows how to play the game.

Well, he knew how to play the game. He got caught breaking the cardinal rule of public service – don’t get caught playing the game.

Public policy has always happened behind closed doors. I am not trying to defend Blagojevich by any stretch, but to pretend this stuff doesn’t happen all the time is naive and dangerous, in my opinion.

Blagojevich’s troubles pull the curtain away to expose the seedy, smoky back room type of politics that many like to pretend ceased to exist long ago.

Too many politicians only care about the game. They have been in the trenches for years by the time they hold any office of consequence. It all becomes a hustle – stealing votes from one demographic while trying to convince the voters your opponent likes to kill puppies.

Holding a public office is an art, not a science. You cannot simply crunch numbers or kiss babies and be a successful politician. Knowing how the political machinery works is just as important as earning the trust of the voters.

That is why shady characters are able to survive in politics. They know how to grease wheels and scratch backs.

I know all politicians are not like Blagojevich. I’m sure some genuinely want to make the world a better place. However, far too many spend their time in a continual run for office because their egos cannot stand to be out of the public eye. Many may be willing to do anything to further their political career.

We hope that politicians serve for the greater good. We turn over the keys to the kingdom and trust these elected officials have the best interest of the people at heart.

Unfortunately, the power that comes with public office can sometimes draw in a seedy bunch. Anyone talented enough to make a difference in politics can earn twice as much pay for half the headache in the private sector. Often, we are left with the con men or women because no honest man or woman would want the job.

Blagojevich got caught, but I’m sure he is not the only shady character doing shady business in the world of politics.

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