If you have run for office, are running for office, will run for office you have been and are currently a politician.
I know it's hard to read those words. I know it is even harder to own up to them. But please, anytime you have the urge to start a sentence "I'm not a politician, I'm a ________," for the love of truth and language, stop yourself.
The Chron's John Wildermuth takes a look at the dirtiest word in American political language - noting that "being known as a politician isn't a good strategy, especially for a politician."
And hey - look who get's interviewed:
"There's some feeling that someone can say 'I'm not a politician, vote for me,''' said Jack Pitney, a political science professor at Claremont McKenna College. "But once you get a paycheck for a political office, you're a politician, like it or not.''See! There are experts backing me up here.
The lengths to which politicians will go to not be themselves is staggering. Check out the chestnut of a soundbite from would-be Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Westly:
[Westly] was walking precincts for Democratic candidates as a teenager in Atherton and Menlo Park, was co-student body president at Stanford University and at age 24 become the youngest person ever elected to a state Democratic Party office. In 1978, he worked as a legislative aide to the late Peninsula Rep. Leo Ryan, who was assassinated in Jonestown, Guyana.Right, that CDP stuff doesn't count, right? Just a blip on the screen. Fit it in between weekly Rotary meetings and your Bunco get-togethers?
As vice-chair of the state party in 1989, he lost a high-profile battle for the chairmanship to former Gov. Jerry Brown, but stayed active in party affairs before becoming state controller. He's been a member of the Democratic National Committee since 1988.
But Westly still clings tightly to his outsider status.
"Other than the Democratic Party stuff, I've only given three years of my life to running for political office,'' he said.
At least Angelides isn't quoted saying anything quite as laughable in the article - though I wouldn't let that make me think he hasn't said as much on the record elsewhere (we aren't on anyone's side here at Phoblog. Yet).
And we don't even have to get started with Schwarzenegger, do we?
The rampant mistrust and disgust voters express about "entrenched" or "career" politicians is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Maybe we should encourage would-be leaders to be honest about themselves from the start by not expecting - basically requiring - that they lie to us about being as outside as outsiders can get and just level about their experience and qualifications.
As Jack Pitney explains in the article, the whole of human history is littered with this kind of bogus posturing - but a girl can dream.