12/03/11 — Sad ending: The problem with Washington is that the insiders are too good

View Archive

Sad ending: The problem with Washington is that the insiders are too good

Say what you will and believe what you want about Herman Cain.

No one will ever really know what the truth is about the accusers and the accusations he has had to wrangle with over the last few weeks.

But know this. He is a man of accomplishment. He has a record of success in the business world and he is a self-made man who worked his way up from nothing.

He is an example of what you can do if you set your mind to it and work really, really hard.

That is the bulk of his story.

But know this, too. As long as we make it so risky for outsiders to run for political office -- and allow the media and partisan interests to subject them to utter ridicule and intense and unfair scrutiny, we will continue to have career politicians with vested interest in continuing the ways of Washington running this country.

The reason so few people of accomplishment and substance run for political office is that it is a surefire way of putting themselves and their families through a kind of hell that no one can understand unless they have lived through it.

Few people are perfect and few people do not have anything in their past they might be ashamed of -- that's why great candidates choose other work.

Campaigns foster all kinds of speculation, profit-seekers and others looking for a few minutes of fame and notoriety. And like it or not, there is often a double standard for some -- intense scrutiny and criticism for some candidates and excuse-making and looking the other way for others.

Herman Cain was a victim of just that sort of slant. There were accusations against others in past presidential runs that did not secure the headlines his did.

Of course a political newcomer is going to make mistakes. People who are not used to the cutthroat world of Washington are going to do that.

So if we want change in Washington -- and people in charge who have not been corrupted by its ways -- we have to stop buying into this sort of gotcha politics.

Otherwise, it will be the same old same old.

And most of us have agreed -- that is exactly what we don't want.

Published in Editorials on December 3, 2011 11:40 PM