06/02/10 — Horse sense: Why do voters gravitate to new blood? Because old blood is Washington-ized.

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Horse sense: Why do voters gravitate to new blood? Because old blood is Washington-ized.

Some people wonder why voters seem intrigued by anyone who uses as his or her campaign slogan "I am not part of the Washington establishment or a career politician."

Take a look at some of the ridiculous decisions made in the capital over the past few years, and the reasoning will become clear. The fewer years you have spent in Washington (or in Raleigh for that matter), the more likely you are to think with common sense and frugality in mind and less about which special interest group you are going to offend. You might think less about making behind-the-scenes deals and more about what the right decision might be. You might even consider if a new expense is necessary -- and demand more answers from those who are asking for the money, just like you would if your child came and asked for a blank check.

It is called "horse sense" -- and it is one of the skills that is most-lacking in politicians today.

It is the reason that rather than dealing with the massive social costs created by the Arizona immigration problem, there are national legislators calling for boycotts against a state that actually got tired of waiting for politically correct debate and took a step forward to make a positive change to alleviate the costs and crime that are strangling their state.

Someone has to think about the Hispanic vote, after all.

And it is why politicians check the "yes" box on big-ticket items like health-care reform -- without reading and understanding the bill.

What if a vote to take more time sends a message that you do not care about children's health issues or those who cannot afford medical care? Who wants to be the one to point out the abuses in the system?

See. It is all about image -- not substance, not doing the right thing or making a prudent, reasoned decision that addresses the root cause of the concern.

Term limits have their problems. They take good legislators out of the mix -- the kind who know how Washington runs and how to get good legislation passed without hitting land mines. Their experience can be invaluable.

But perhaps we ought to think a bit more about putting more new faces in to change how Washington works -- and give a few career politicians a chance to see what it is like to live in the real world again.

Maybe if they lose their cushy benefits and guaranteed paychecks, they might acquire some of that horse sense that real life provides.

Perhaps politicians should have expiration dates -- just like milk. It might be just what we need to get Washington working for the people again.

Published in Editorials on June 2, 2010 10:27 AM