The Public Eye

printed 04/09/2021

On Monday, Sen. Mitch McConnell stunned the nation by sternly declaring that big corporations should stay out of politics.

On Tuesday, he added, “... except for making political donations.”

On Wednesday, he said, “Yeah, well, what I meant to say was ...”

On Thursday, he said, “Hey, let’s all sing ‘Sweet Caroline’ ... So good! So good! So good! Yeah!”

His reference to corporations was about Coca-Cola and other big outfits that voiced opposition to Georgia’s new election rules, which either are or aren’t more restrictive, as legislators sought to reassure citizens that the voter fraud that has yet to be found there doesn’t happen again, just to be safe, you understand.

Coincidentally, the election reform measure was carved out of a greater legislative package that, initially, also banned the use of plastic fishing nets in the bathtub just in case a sea turtle squirts out of the faucet and becomes entangled.

Admittedly, I know nothing about Georgia, other than I feel like I’m driving a Fred Flintstone car when I’m passing through Atlanta on I-85, which on a metro area roadmap looks like plate of spaghetti, and on which everyone does 120 mph on the curves. I know I was white-knuckling it at 75 and getting lapped by locals who missed their exits.

Beyond knowing that, and that the nearby Department of Driver Services won’t issue a license to anyone who thinks the speed limit is something other than “Floor It!,” I know nothing.

But here’s what I do know: it strikes me as curious that any member of a Congress that devoted a quarter of its legislative output a couple of years ago to renaming post offices would hold up that institution as an example of how to get things done.

In terms of success rates, I’d say it’s a toss-up between the congressional professionals and an I-85 carpool driven by ‘possums at dusk.

The post office renaming business, by the way, is true. The 2017 session of Congress was one of its more productive in recent years, with 442 public laws enacted. Of that total, 109 of those laws named a post office after someone.

Meanwhile, the public approval rating for Congress is around 36 percent these days, a number that suggests that the professionals might not be so good, so good, so good at what they do either.

So what does this mean? Aside from journalists ranking just a point or so higher than politicians in the public approval column, which is like saying if you weren’t so ugly you’d be good-looking, it appears that we don’t trust anyone to handle our political affairs. Not companies, not executives, not reporters and certainly not politicians.

In fact, the most trusted profession these days is nurses. We’d believe them if they said, “Our political advice, no matter what the subject or circumstance might be, is that you’re going to feel a little pinch.”

That beats reporters, who would say, “You felt a pinch, and here’s our analysis of it.” Or big corporations, which would say, “That pinch is the result of the higher cost of raw materials. Or politicians, who would say, “You felt a pinch, and that other guy did it.”

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