Ever notice what dictators have in common? I mean, aside from trampling everybody’s rights, jailing their critics, piling up money in Swiss bank accounts, chopping off the heads of ex-wives, that sort of thing?
Yes, that’s right. Your run-of-the-mill tyrant doesn’t like handing power over to others. They want to hang around as long as possible. Julius Caesar. Augustus Caesar. Genghis Khan. King Henry the Eighth. Hitler. Lenin. Stalin. Idi Amin. Pol Pot. Ferdinand Marcos. Slobodan Milosevic. When there’s somebody new, you know the other guy is either dead or applying for asylum. And in this country? Outright dictators, maybe not. Powerful people who like to stick around forever and get their every whim catered to? That’s another story.
In his new book about his years in Washington, self-limiter Congressman Mark Sanford gives an example. Seems this 98-year-old Senator from South Carolinian (who shall remain nameless) was attending a public event when he suddenly decided he wanted his lemonade without ice. But a powerful eight-term senator can’t be expected to scoop the cubes himself, can he? So a bunch of full colonels also in attendance got their military sleeves wet as they completed the mission for him. As Sanford remarks, if the Senator “hadn’t been slated…to be the next chairman of the Senate Armed Services committee, he might have been instructed to strain his own lemonade.” Gee. Maybe so.
This is Common Sense.Â I’m Paul Jacob.