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Author Topic: The future of political dirt
potemkyn
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I'm not going to be around over the holidays so I'm getting my posting fix in now [Smile] .

I've been thinking a lot about how deep Bush and Kerry went into each other's records without regard to privacy or "decency."

It seems to me, that in the next several decades, politics is only going to get nastier and keep going back further and further into the lives of candidates. I wouldn't be surprised to see that in the next twenty years, politicians will use what someone said when they were 13 or 14 as a weapon against them in the future.

Allow me to expound a bit. In the last half century, politics has been revolutionized by television and film. Yet these inventions were only around during the later halves of most politicians lives. Nixon and Kennedy might have debated on television, but their early childhoods were not videotaped and the photos of them were probably fairly limited. Now, though, we are entering into an age in politics where people's images are rapidly available, much more so than they were even ten years ago. What will happen when photos of a presidential candidate come out that shows him getting smashed at a party when he's only 13? Think about how much is available these days and how everything that can be, will be used.

Not only are images more available, but people's thoughts are too. A couple of years ago, people would simply keep a diary, but now there are weblogs which function as the same thing but are available to the public. Weblogs and forums will be scoured for anything that sounds incriminating. Imagine if a candidate wrote something that was anti-semetic when he/she was in high school, do you think if the opposing candidate had access to it, he wouldn't use it?

Now I know that some of you will probably respond to this by rolling your eyes and saying, "No one cares what a kid did when he young." But consider this. Politics has become increasingly personal and increasingly a realm where nothing is private. What I am postulating here is that the political system now is geared in such a way as to look for more dirt. There is no limit for it, except a technological limit. The dirt isn't there for Bush when he's in middle school because the technology to record the dirt wasn't there. But it is available en masse to the current generation. I think that will result in the invasive search of politics going even farther back, even unto middle school.

I'm curious to hear your thoughts, although I will be unable to respond to them at the present.

Potemkyn

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WarrsawPact
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I can explain everything I've ever written by saying it was me trying out my ideas and looking for criticism so I could filter out all the BS in what I write. Sometimes I was playing Devil's Advocate, sometimes I believed what I was saying.

Things I wrote a year ago on this forum I disagree with heartily now. That's how much I learn from continuous debate.

Bill Clinton saw a letter he wrote about dodging the draft back when he was in danger of it. Someone (a reporter who was saying he was going to release it) brought it forward, and Clinton thought he was cooked. But Carville told him -- in an airport bathroom IIRC -- that he could make it work *for* him, that he should be the one to go public with it. The result?
Well, the 1992 ticket was the result.

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SC Carver
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I think the way to neutralize this, is for politicians to start being completely honest with the public. If they did something in the past they would now be embarrassed by and it comes up, they should just admit it, explain they made a mistake or their views have changed and why. I think by taking this heads on approach most of America would forgive them, or accept the explanation and then it would no longer be an issue, especially about things that happened 20-30 years ago.

But even for more recent events, think of how refreshing would it be if Pres. Bush (and I voted for him) came out and admitted the info they had going into Iraq was incorrect, but these are the reasons why he thinks the war is still important.

I hope that America doesn't feel the need to falsely believe their politicians are perfect. I think most of us would rather have a leader who admits his mistakes and learns from them, rather than one who tries to spin the truth and we know is lying to us.

That being said there is a difference from a one time mistake and a pattern of bad behavior.

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Zyne
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Right now, people care. And it's not just politics. I have seen baby lawyers fired over what they've said on the internet because it might reflect badly on their firms, and know one who was not admitted to a southern state's bar because his perfectly legal internet business made him fair the character and fitness exam.

Call me a romantic... I think the way out is for people to stop making value judgments about themselves based on others, and to stop judging others based on things they themselves would not have liked to have done / would not have liked to have been caught doing. For example, GW Bush the candidate was a bad candidate for many reasons, but not solely because he might have done some drug at some time, or because he might have driven once when he shouldn't have. People make mistakes, and learn from them. Also, nobody is perfect, nobody is everything. You don't have to have a personal life without mistake to be a good leader.

Happy holidays P, and welcome back when you finally stop having fun and get around to reading this.

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FiredrakeRAGE
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I think that the majority of the population can tell the difference between past actions reflecting past irresponsible behavior, and past actions reflecting current irresponsible behavior.

Now if we could only get the mass media to figure it out,...

--Firedrake

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Danzig
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In the unlikely event I run for president...

Reporter: "Did you ever try pot?"
Danzig: "Try? Pot? I guess that is one way to put it..."

Personally I do not believe anyone who has not used MDMA should be allowed to be President.

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Paladine
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quote:
Call me a romantic... I think the way out is for people to stop making value judgments about themselves based on others, and to stop judging others based on things they themselves would not have liked to have done / would not have liked to have been caught doing.
Same here. [Wink]
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aupton15
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"Personally I do not believe anyone who has not used MDMA should be allowed to be President."

I don't think I'm going to let MDMA be a factor in my vote either way. I've never tried it myself though. What qualities about this particular drug do you think would prepare someone to be a better president? Is it a "thinking outside the box" kind of thing, or just because it shows a quality of trying new things that you value?

I think it's going to be more common for politicians' drug records to be public, even for offenses in young adulthood. I think politicians are going to have to handle it a little better than Clinton did, but obviously it didn't hurt his chances too much. "Harder" drugs are going to carry a little bit more of a stigma for awhile (though I suspect a few of our elected civil servants have done their share of them) and public knowledge of this sort might have a little bit more of an impact (though again, it didn't seem to affect W too badly).

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Danzig
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No. Psychedelics (trippy drugs, aka LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, mescaline, etc.) would let you think outside the box, but there are lots of people who use way too many of them. Before someone makes a joke, I am not refering to myself, I have done exactly enough. I would make a decent, even good president, but not due to the pyschedelics I have done. Terence McKenna is someone who did way too many, and he would be horrible. I doubt Bush would get any benefit from using psychedelics.

MDMA is different. In the short term, it makes you think you love everyone, and everyone loves you. In the long term, you know that you (and therefore every other human) has that capability in them. Honestly if you have never done it I am not sure I could explain it adequately... let us just say that I doubt there would be near the amount of wars started if the leaders of every nation did MDMA even once. That is another thing about the drug. MDMA is a drug that will affect you for the rest of your life, and you do not need to do it more than a few times. I would say once alone, and once with friends, and that would all that would be necessary. Really, once would be enough if you actually tried to get the most from the experience. Anyone should try it, but people with the power to order others to kill need to do it.

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aupton15
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When my sister tried it all she could talk about was how good water tasted. I think it was the same with everything, but she particularly focused on the water. All the sensations seemed more "real" in some way. I'm generally distrustful of putting foreign substances into my body (right down to Tylenol, I don't take it unless I really need it) so I've never really experimented with drugs. I'm a little bit too much of a control freak to let myself go like that. And honestly, there isn't any occasion where I would feel secure enough that everything was okay so that I could do something like that without an emergency occuring. Anyway, this is an interesting perspective, and I don't think I entirely disagree. I think there are some forms of meditation that might serve the same purpose to some degree. Have you done any meditation? How would you compare the two?
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