We’re quick to point out political corruption around the world. Afghanistan is corrupt. Iran rigs elections. Putin has his oligarchs. It’s all true, but rarely do we take a long hard look at the corruption endemic in our own politics. My esteemed colleague, Dr. Denny, recently penned an important post detailing Congressional corruption. Like so much of our nefarious behavior, it looks relatively civilized because we dress it up nicely. But we all know that our representatives are as crooked as any in Kazakhstan. We just call it “campaign finance”. We all know it’s a huge problem, one that’s slowly grinding our Republic into dust. We just can’t do much about it. What chance is there that the crooked politicians are going to straighten the mess out against their own, personal interests?
Well, i have an idea. Call it the Nelson Muntz Initiative…
It’s not exactly mine; many people have proposed it half-jokingly. Why just joke about it and let the grimy politicians have the last laugh when we have the power to make the joke on them?
If the quest for decriminalizing marijuana has taught us anything, it’s that the surest means to political victory is to take the process out of the hands of politicians. State referendums on that issue have spat in the face of Washington D.C. thirteen times so far, and there are more on the way.
Assuming that i’ve got my Constitution understood correctly, if two thirds of states pass a law it becomes federal law whether Congress likes it or not.
I’m shooting for “or not”.
I’d like to see Americans get together and make sure that every state in the union has a referendum by 2012 that forces federal politicians to display their sponsorships. It’ll be just like NASCAR…except, apparently, clockwise. The corporation or lobbyist or PAC that contributes the most to a politician is forced to put the biggest logo on the politician’s uniform. The smaller the contribution, the smaller the logo.
The politicians will be forced to wear the new uniforms whenever they’re are acting in an official capacity. So, they’d wear the uniforms on the floor of the Senate, House and inside the West Wing. They’d wear the uniform when appearing on television, on the campaign trail, at fund raising events and even state visits.
I want to see all the Senators who rail against health care reform do so with insurance company logos all over their expensive suits. I want to see the damned-near-monocled politicians who make the decisions about banking regulations do so with Goldman Sachs embroidered across their backs. And i damned sure want to see the names of the defense contractors on the wardrobes of all the soft-handed sons-of-bitches who send good men off to die without a damned good reason.
Dress them all up like the clowns that they’ve proven themselves — over and over — to be.
As J.S. O’Brien commented on Dr. Denny’s piece, the more mature manner of solving this problem — public financing — has more than a few devils in the details. Not the least of which is that the politicians aren’t going to give up their gravy train willingly, and the fact that rational and mature is the quickest way to political defeat in the USofA. So, fuck ’em. They can keep the contributions and the shady relationships; we’ll at least get to laugh at them.
About the only thing most of them have is obscene levels of vanity, we might as well hit ’em where it hurts, eh? And they wouldn’t be able to fool so many of the uniformed if their wardrobe did the media’s job.
I might be crazy, but would you be surprised if my plan worked? This isn’t a Left or Right issue. My guess is that the majority of Americans would be on board and would vote “yes” on Nelson Muntz…if for no other reason than our national love for enjoying the misfortunes of others. And who really likes politicians? Allow Americans a real chance to give the politicians a swift kick to the taint and they’ll take it.
Who’s with me? We need some lawyers to write the referendums and cadres of cynics in all fifty states to collect the petition signatures. After that we’ll let democracy decide. It may suck only marginally less than other forms of government, but i believe that it would come through for us on this.