Sunday, May 6, 2012

Wanda's World

There's no requirement that I know of for politicians to be intelligent. In most democracies the majority of adult citizens are eligible to run for public office. There's no minimum IQ, no minimum education requirement, no psychometric testing to ensure that candidates are suitably focused on public service, no general knowledge exam to ensure that you can identify the bigger countries on the map, and know which one we live in. 

In fact, there's not much required beyond raising your hand and paying a bond of some kind to the state. 

That's exactly as it should be, yet somewhere along the line, there needs to be some kind of filtering mechanism; a way of stopping the terrifyingly unhinged from doing too much damage. We call that voting - eliminating those who shouldn't be making the big decisions. Here in Australia, it's compulsory; we all have a responsibility too keep the riffraff out of parliament. Sometimes the decision is easy; sometimes, it's less clear cut.

Clive Palmer has raised his hand and signalled his intention to stand for Liberal pre-selection for the Federal seat of Lilley. There's no doubt that he's a very clever man, but is a self-made mega-rich ideas-man the right man to represent others in Parliament? If he's lucky enough to gain pre-selection, the voters will need to decide if Clive can be a team player, if he can cope with not being The Boss. It's telling that Liberal Leader Tony Abbott wasn't aware of Clive's intentions. Clive is used to making decisions without reference to others. That doesn't work in Parliament. Is Clive a solution, or an even bigger problem?

Then there's Peter Slipper, a career politician who just can't seem to control his use of commonwealth travel perks, or his enjoyment of ... Well, you know the rest. How did this man keep getting elected? Abbott knew what was going on there, potentially for several years, and he was only too happy to pass responsibility for 'the problem' to the PM when Slipper jumped ship. Even former Liberal Party minister Mal Brough is a critic of Mr Slipper's conduct. There's no doubt that Peter Slipper is a clever operator, but recent history suggests that he's not clever enough. As an Independent, there's no preselection, but can he win, with his baggage strewn to the four winds and no party support? It's doubtful.

A new depth of political dumbness was reached when George W Bush stepped onto the world stage in 2000. We learned to never misunderestimate the world's most powerful man. 

Eight years later, as Dubya was preparing to leave the White House, commentators, cartoonists and talk show hosts rejoiced in the arrival of half-term Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Although she and Presidential candidate John McCain failed in their bid for the Presidency, it worked out well for the rest of us. Ms Palin has had far more chance to embarrass herself as a loose cannon than she could ever have had as Veep.

But now, make way for Wanda.

Wanda Brown is an American politician whose appearance this week on The Daily Show was the stuff of nightmares. Ms Brown is a Republican, and a member of the Missouri legislature, as well as being associated with the following organisations:

NRA Life Member
Lincoln, Warsaw and Cole Camp Chambers of Commerce
Benton County Republican Committee
Benton County Pachyderms
Benton County Republican Women
Missouri Cattleman's Association
Missouri Farm Bureau
Whiteman Air Force Base Community Council

Wanda Brown's latest campaign is to protect gun owners from workplace discrimination. According to Ms Brown, gun-owners in Missouri are more at risk of workplace discrimination that gays are. 

Fortunately for everyone in Missouri, Ms Brown was unable to provide a single example of discrimination against gun-owners, so either her campaign has been 100% successful, or there's something amiss. I think her performance on The Daily Show will explain: the segment is "Free At Last, Free to Blast".

Ms Brown's efforts to have this non-existent discrimination against gun-owners banned has actually succeeded.Face it: Brown has picked up where George W left off four years ago. She's an ultra-conservative Republican who sounds committed and believable. The truth is, she is unbelievable & probably should be committed.

She is spending her time and effort getting a law passed to make illegal something which as far as we know, has never happened.  (She also has hair that reminds me of Julie Bishop's eyes. If Julie Bishop ever gets Wanda Brown's hairstyle, we're all doomed.)

But I'm considering myself pretty lucky about now. Of all three levels of politics, none of my local representatives  is stupid. They all seem to be sensible, determined men who believe in what they're doing. I don't necessarily agree with their policies or priorities, but I can't imagine any of them trying to pass a law to ban cats on the Internet, on announcing that their political opponents are funded by an overseas intelligence agency.

But I like knowing that there are Wandas in the world, too. They bring some much-needed perspective to political cynics like me. 

1 comment:

  1. Based on the results of the last Federal, the State & the BCC elections, I fear the people who live in my electorate are stupid.