Politicians have lots of experience with scandals. But they don’t usually hope for them. But, according to political science professor Jim Penning of Calvin College, Michigan career politicians should pray for a good scandal.
It’s like this. Michigan career politicians are becoming extinct because of the term limits law voters enacted back in 1992. Politicians hate the law, of course, and spend most of their waking hours plotting against it and muttering under their breath. Professor Penning observes that the plotting just isn’t going so well. “It will be very difficult,” he says. “Voters need to see the downside of term limits before they’re willing to change.” Voters aren’t seeing the downside.
Dang voters have seen only good things come of term limits. Government has not collapsed. Professor Penning reports, “We just got a budget compromise, so government looks like it’s running pretty smoothly.” Darn the bad luck! But career politicians shouldn’t lose all hope that term limits will be tarnished in the eyes of the public. “A major scandal might do it,” says Penning.
Yes, maybe, just maybe, politicians can act scandalously breaking laws and behaving immorally and the public will get so angry with the sorry state of the legislators that they’ll toss out the term limits and let politicians stay in office term after term for the rest of their lives. Now we know why this guy is a professor. He’s right about one thing. Scandal is something politicians know how to do. They’re experts.
This is Common Sense.Â I’m Paul Jacob.