The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Posts tagged ‘Fiorello La Guardia’

POLITICS AND POKER

Long before we knew Tom Bosley as Fr. Dowling in “The Father Dowling Mysteries” or Sheriff Amos Tucker on “Murder She Wrote” or as Howard Cunningham on “Happy Days,” the late actor had a career on Broadway.  He originated the title rule in “Fiorello!,” the musical that brought to life the former Mayor of New York, Fiorello LaGuardia.

Mayor LaGuardia was elected as a Republican on a platform to reform the horrible system of cronyism which existed in politics in New York City at that time.  He was serious about his intent and succeeded in ridding a great deal of the corruption that was inherent in the political system in the Big Apple.

Then as now, politics is often a back room cigar smoking business where deals are made which have no bearing on the public interest but on the interest of the players – the politicians.  We have no lack of examples for that statement, the most recent being Rep. Todd Akins, currently running for Senator from the state of Missouri.

I won’t go into Mr. Akins’ asinine and Neanderthal statement about forcible rape and abortion.  That has been well documented and sufficiently reported.  The most polite thing I can suggest is that the man is either a cretin or has perhaps had a lobotomy.

What I do want to discuss is why this “conservative” individual, a long-time player in the political game is staying in the race despite all the members of his own party who have called for him to withdraw.  The seat for which he is running is one that people of both parties see as most vulnerable to a Republican victory.

The seat is currently held by Democrat, Sen. Claire McCaskall who has come under charge for ethics violations – using public funds for purposes of taking trips that were of a strictly political nature.  Although the Senator has denied these charges, she did “voluntarily” repay $88,000 to the Treasury – after the charges were filed against her.

Even to a novice political observer, such as myself, it is obvious that Rep. Akins’ statement did his campaign irreparable damage.  It’s almost as if Sen. McCaskall paid him to make that statement.  Oops – corruption – how unthinkable – but is it really?  Well, it is certainly not out of the question considering the Senator’s own marginally ethical background.  It isn’t if you think back to the kind of deals that were made in Mayor LaGuardia’s New York.

It’s now well-documented that Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid who ran a campaign that was in serious trouble in 2010 poured money into the primary campaign for one of his challengers, Sharon Engle because she was the weakest of his potential competitors.  Had virtually any other candidate run against the Senator he would now be retired.

We probably will not know until long after the election, if ever, whether any dirty dealings are on-going in Missouri.  Rep. Akins’ withdrawal from the race would do a great deal to dispel any murkiness over this issue.  That would be the act of a statesman – which may be too much to expect.

Politics and poker.  Both can be a dirty game.  But as a poker player, I think I would rather play in a game where I knew several of the players were in cahoots.  It would probably be a cleaner game than the political one which is now being played.

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