Infrastructure improvements? Out of my cold, dead hands.

Infrastructure improvements? Out of my cold, dead hands!

Aristotle’s fundamental political binary categorizes governments as either true or perverted, a means of characterization that, however simplistic, still holds water in examining modern political moments. Among his criteria for true government is the requirement for the ruling body to “govern with a view to the common interest.” A ruler in such a state is concerned only with advancing the condition of his subjects.

Perversion of government by trivial individualized issues is, unfortunately, all too common within our federal government. The election of Barack Obama to the Presidency, while producing a tangible change in attitude towards the manipulation of government for personal ends, failed to eliminate the sort of self-interest that drove O’Connor to throw the 2000 election to Bush on the basis of political passion and a selfish desire to retire.

The recent political grandstanding by Republican governors Jindal of Louisiana, Sanford of South Carolina and Palin of Alaska serves as a potent example of personal ambitions and aspirations getting in the way of the public good. President Obama’s recent economic recovery and reinvestment package was designed to cushion the blow of the current economic calamity on the middle class while jump-starting the nation’s productivity and financial stability. Governors Jindal, Sanford and Palin, all hoping to capture the Republican Presidential nomination, have all publicly refused to accept important portions of the stimulus funds for their states. Though the governors cite a perceived advent of “big government,” “tax-and-spend liberalism” and “socialism” for their refusal of these vital funds, politicians, pundits and laymen alike realize the personal reasons behind the refusal of this money.

Governor Jindal, for example, appeared on national television mocking stimulus funding for disaster readiness barely four years after the deplorable federal response to Hurricane Katrina. The governors, pandering to their political base in order to secure their place at the top of the 2012 ticket, are ignoring the urgent needs of their constituents in order to advance their own careers. 

Aristotle’s characterization of such perversions? Tyranny.

Take that, teabaggers.

– A-$