Ed Lewis wrote this in the fall of 1996, after obvious (and inevitable) betrayal of the "Republican Revolution" of 1994. The message is still painfully fresh.
The writer remembers either seeing a television show or reading an article a few years ago that discussed the role of freshmen congressmen. It was at a time when the writer basically ignored politics, politicians, and our governing as lost causes, out of the control of the people.
Regardless of the source, whether by the written or spoken word, it seemed as if new congressmen were expected not to attempt to go against the old, long-standing politicians. They were expected to learn the ropes prior to introducing bills or speaking out.
During the past months of political shenanigans, otherwise called campaigning, many comments by politicians representing the two primary parties were televised and written about. The writer tried to recall hearing or reading comments made by freshmen in Congress but couldn't. So, maybe what he heard or read many years ago is the truth, that freshmen congressmen aren't really involved, that the 'ropes' must first be learned.
The question then is what are the ropes to learn? Why is it so important to other politicians that new congressmen are more or less required to be seen, not heard?
It may not be possible to determine all of the rules of the political games being played by analyzing the l996 presidential campaigns, but the most flagrant abuses to the American public should be detectable. Here, then, are the TEN COMMANDMENTS OF WASHINGTON POLITICIANS.
COMMANDMENT #1 - Do anything or say anything to get and keep the people's trust. It's okay to be unethical or immoral; just don't get caught with your pants completely down exposing yourself for what you are.
COMMANDMENT #2 - Never admit you do the same as you are accusing your opponent of doing. Learn to lie or distort the truth, to passionately accuse your opponent of the same improprieties you practice regularly.
COMMANDMENT #3 - Learn the 'song-and-dance' routine when confronted with misdeeds, misinformation you have stated publicly, or illegalities you have practiced. People want to believe in their chosen party and will allow the truth to be distorted, if not in fact, in their minds.
COMMANDMENT #4 - Change your philosophy to suit the moment. Longevity as a politician depends on this principle of dancing around the negatives of any issue to seduce your constituency into believing your concern is their welfare, that you believe as they do even though you may have voted contrary to the fact many times.
COMMANDMENT #5 - Rely on innuendo and/or allegations against your opponent. People thrive on controversy, learning that politicians often behave just as they do (illicit sexual behaviors, i.e.), and thinking the worst of politicians they do not support while overlooking the same acts from politicians they do support.
COMMANDMENT #6 - If your behaviors are not within the laws of Man or God, hide the facts as long as humanly possible and, should you get caught, get the subject off yourself and onto your opponent. Lie, if necessary, but change the focus of the issue. And don't allow any of this to damage your party.
COMMANDMENT #7 - Always back a party member even if you have recently proved (or alleged) said party member is not for the people, dishonest, a thief, and/or an immoral, unethical person whose only concerns are his own. Remember, keeping the party in power is the important issue, not the truth.
COMMANDMENT #8 - Work hard for soft money. Make any and all promises to large contributors that are necessary to increase the coffers. Return in the form of behind-the-doors-political-favoritism and don't worry about what is best for the majority of the people you represent.
COMMANDMENT #9 - If you do not have any other tool to use in winning votes from your opponent, go immediately to character assassination. People love scandal and will create it, maintain it, even if it is not based on the truth.
COMMANDMENT #10 - Above all else, be self-serving. You are developing a career that will result in becoming a millionaire without any of the concerns of the common man who faces an uncertain future as to retirement financial security.
There you have it, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Ten Commandments of the leaders you have put in Washington. Needless to say, new people to a system that has been distorted by professional, too-long-in-office politicians must learn to operate in the Washington political system that has been created by, and for, people who are experts at manipulating your thoughts, your Congressmen.
Thus, the apparent philosophy of a Party Man: Idealism (the enemy of corruption) be damned; you Freshman will accept what we do or we will see that you are not re-elected, regardless of the measures we have to take.
© 1999 Ed Lewis