Ed Crane, President of the Cato Institute, tells a story that I love hearing. It’s about a career politician and this career politician’s career-politician mentality. Seems that in the early ’90s Ed was at a conference debating term limits with a California assemblyman named Tom Roos. Crane made what he thought was a strong case for term limits, but the assemblyman was not persuaded.
Assemblyman Roos said, “Mr. Crane, I just don’t understand where you are coming from. I went to undergraduate school at San Jose State. I studied government. I got a master’s degree in public policy. I went to work for an assemblyman. And when he retired, I ran for his seat. And I have been an assemblyman for 13 years. This is my career. This is what I’ve always wanted to do, and you are trying to take my career away from me.”
Crane just shook his head sorrowfully and said, “Assemblyman Roos, I have no doubt that what you say is sincere. I have no doubt in fact that when you were in the third grade you were blackboard monitor or whatever elected post was available at the time. . . . My only point is that you are an anomaly. You are not like most Americans. They don’t want to be legislators. They want to live in the private sector and do their good work there. And it seems to me that if you want to have representative government, the word ‘representative’ has to be an adjective and not a noun.”
Hey, good point, Ed.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.