MARCH 2, 1998
Sour Grapes of Wrath
© 1998

I have often observed that "some people don't want to be confused with facts which contradict their preconceived opinions". It is a pet phrase I use often. Maier's Law states: "If the facts do not conform to the theory, they must be disposed of" (and I was always taught that a preposition is a lousy word to end a sentence with). Corollaries state: "the bigger the theory, the better," and "the experiment may be considered a success if no more than 50% of the observed measurements must be discarded to obtain a correspondence with the theory." I have been conflicted over the issue of term limits for some time. On one hand, by merely voting out bad candidates we would be exercising classic term limits. On the other hand, the disproportionate advantage enjoyed by incumbents (and their ability to raise lots of money) does unfairly tip the scales. Tangentially, I have always been concerned about the "institutional knowledge" lost when good experienced people are pushed out, and the increased influence of the unelected shadow government of wonkerydom. Any reasonable person should be concerned about the proprietary nature many incumbents assume. However, a recent lawsuit in Wisconsin provides an added insight into the warped, Ionesco-like mindset of the professional politician. Two state legislators from Wisconsin are suing the state Manufacturers and Commerce Association for sponsoring radio and TV ads which were critical of their voting records. These clowns don't want or need no stinking first amendment clouding their territorial imperatives. Allegedly the ad campaign led to the defeat of the two last November. According to their shyster lawyers, the ads which were critical of the legislators' voting record somehow interfered with the legislators' "right to hold office." What? Honest, I'm not making this up. Truth is way weirder than fiction. Counsel for the legislators argues that (now pay attention because this member of the bar really said this) when you get elected to office, the office becomes your property ... and nobody should be able to deprive you of it. I'd love to see the record of these morons on asset forfeiture seizures, income taxes, and a wide gaggle of various state fees, levies, and taxes. What is wrong with this picture? Now remember, this Manufacturers and Commerce Association did not charge the legislators with a crime they didn't commit. They didn't accuse them of any high crimes or misdemeanors. No, they aired ads which were critical of the legislators' voting records. I have, over the years, been highly critical of a wide variety of issues -- some of that criticism has even contributed in some modest way to actually effecting change. If critical analysis of issues becomes a crime the republic is doomed. Even more idiotic is the contention of these "representatives of the people" that, once elected, by some strange and mysterious (perhaps mystic) investiture, the office becomes personal property. The Greek word for unbridled arrogance is "hubris." However, I believe General Norman Schwartzkopf's use of "bovine scatology" is more appropriate. The concept that the people for whom these Wisconsin wackos work could be legally impeded from articulating criticism of the work performed in behalf of the people, is patently absurd (not to mention unconstitutional, silly, and dumber than dumb). Furthermore, in the venue of a constitutional republic, our elected officials serve at "our" pleasure. We, as voters, have the luxury of dismissing our elected representatives for cause, or frankly, 'cause we don't like you anymore ... or we like your opponent more.