Why is any bobblehead with a twitter following considered for public office: Ben Affleck will not run for senate

25 Dec

Here is today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART:: Those who worship at the altar of celebrity will probably be disappointed with the news that Ben Affleck will not be running for a senate seat in Massachusetts. Really? Why was he even considered a “legitimate” candidate?

Dictionary.com defines bobblehead:

World English Dictionary

bobblehead

n
  a collectable doll with a bobbing oversized head representing a celebrity or a cartoon character

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/bobblehead

Abby Ohlheiser of Slate reports in Ben Affleck Isn’t Running for Senate:

The actor and director took to Facebook on Monday to refute rumors that he’d run for John Kerry’s seat should the senator, as expected, become the next Secretary of State. Here’s what he said:

“I love Massachusetts and our political process, but I am not running for office. Right now it’s a privilege to spend my time working with Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI), supporting our veterans, drawing attention to the great many who go hungry in the U.S. everyday and using filmmaking to entertain and foster discussion about issues like our relationship to Iran. We are about to get a great Secretary of State and there are some phenomenal candidates in Massachusetts for his Senate seat. I look forward to an amazing campaign.”

Although Affleck didn’t start the rumors himself, he didn’t exactly stop them in an interview aired Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2012/12/25/ben_affleck_senate_run_argo_director_isn_t_running_for_john_kerry_s_senate.html

Here is is a bit about Mr. Affleck:

Fined $135 for driving in Massachusetts with a suspended license. [1999]

Older brother of actor Casey Affleck.

Friend of and frequent collaborator with actor Matt Damon.

When he was little, he asked his mom for a dog, and she tested him by making him walk an imaginary dog for a week. Ben only lasted for 5 days and didn’t get the dog.

Graduated from Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School in 1990.

Dropped out of the University of Vermont after 1 semester.

Dropped out of Occidental College after 1 year, where he had studied Middle Eastern studies.

Chosen as one of People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People in the World [2000]

Ranked #77 in Premiere’s 2002 annual Power 100 List.

Is known for being a very good impressionist. He usually picks one of his costars while filming a movie and studies them. He displays his impressions on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” (1992) almost every time he is a guest. While filming The Sum of All Fears (2002), he chose to study co-star Morgan Freeman. When he showed Morgan his impression on set, it was so accurate Freeman told him, “You ever do that again, I’ll kill you”.

Voluntarily entered Promises Rehabilitation Center in Malibu, California for alcohol abuse. [31 July 2001]

Named People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” (2002)

Speaks Spanish and French.

He learned to speak Arabic.

He won $356,000 by winning the California State Poker Championships in June 2004 – defeating some of the best poker players in the world in the process.

Is a staunch Democrat and has supported Senator John Kerry‘s 2004 presidential campaign.

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000255/bio

Although the job of senator is a federal position, it is instructive to look at the skills that a good legislator should possess.

Alan Rosenthal writes in NCSL’s State Legislatures magazine article Beyond the intuition that says “I know one when I see one,” how do you go about measuring the effectiveness of any given legislature?

Balancing Power

1. Does your legislature effectively share power with the governor?

2. Does your legislature initiate and enact its own legislation and make independent decisions about the state budget?

Representing Constituents

3. Are the legislative districts within your chamber of nearly equal population?

4. Are the numbers of women, African Americans and Hispanics in your legislature reasonably reflective of the population of your state?

5. Do the members of your legislature provide effective constituent service including responses to requests for information, casework, local projects and public expenditures?

6. Do citizens and groups in your state have ready access to information on agendas and proceedings of the legislature?

7. Does your legislature provide effective civic education for the public (of all age levels) about representative democracy, the legislative institution and the lawmaking process?

8. Is your legislature responsive to public demands and needs?

Making Law

9. Does your legislature allow effective participation and input from citizens and organized groups in lawmaking decisions?

10. Is there a reasonable level of internal democracy within your chamber? Is power relatively dispersed and are the parliamentary rights of individual members protected and respected?

11. Do you have effective legislative leaders who have strategic, problem-solving and consensus-building abilities?

12. Is the degree of partisanship in your legislature reasonable? Does the majority party have enough clout to get things done? Are the rights of the minority party protected? Are there reasonable restraints on partisanship so that civility is maintained?

13. Is your legislature deliberative? Does it allow for give and take and the open exchange of ideas at all stages of the formal and informal legislative process?

14. Does your legislature engage in consensus building? Are opposing sides willing to negotiate differences and find compromises to difficult problems?

15. Does your legislature address and solve the most important problems in your state?

Facilitating Factors

16. Does your legislature have the resources (staff, time, facilities, technology) to do its job effectively?

17. Does your legislature have integrity? Do the members of the legislature and the Capitol community in general behave in ethical ways?

18. Do the members of your legislature care about and protect the well-being of the institution?

19. Is there a sense of cWIDTH=29 HEIGHT=36ommunity within your legislature? Is there civility and collegiality?

20. Is there adequate continuity in the membership of your legislature to promote institutional values and pass on knowledge and skills?

http://www.ncsl.org/legislatures-elections/legislatures/the-good-legislature.aspx

As this post is written, one of the concerns is the dysfunction and ability to function which has America perched on the edge of the “Fiscal Cliff” ready to go over. See, Alexandra DukakisIS and David Kerley’s article, Fiscal Cliff Talks Gridlocked, President and Congress Walk Away http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/fiscal-cliff-talks-gridlocked-president-congress-walk/story?id=18047137#.UNona6zIlIo

CongressLink posts the Barbara Sinclair article, An Effective Congress and Effective Members: What Does it Take?

For Congress to function well, however, committee specialists, coordinator/negotiators and activists must predominate; these are the people who make the legislative process function. What they have in common is their commitment to and adeptness at decision making via bargaining and compromise and their realization that the policy making process is on-going, that one never wins it all. When ideologues disinclined to compromise make up too large a proportion of the membership, the process may well break down. The new Republican House majority in the 104th Congress was unusually heavily weighted to ideologues; the 73 member freshmen class elected in 1994 included a large number of ideologues and it joined a big Republican sophomore class with similar inclinations. These members made possible the passage in the House of a significant body of nonincremental legislation in record time; they also made impossible a comprehensive budget deal with the White House and wrecked their party’s reputation with the public.

If bargaining skills and the ability to work with others in a mixed cooperative/adversarial context are key to getting ahead in Congress and to Congress functioning effectively, where are those skills learned? Though a decreasing number of members are lawyers, it is a profession that fosters those skills. To a large extent, such skills are learned by doing. Most members were active in community groups of various sorts before they ran for office; many held political office, often state legislative office, before running for Congress. Members without much previous political experience usually have the opportunity to learn when they get to the Congress; while new members are not expected to serve an apprenticeship as they once were, usually new House members can and do take some time to acclimatize. The Republican freshmen of 1994, in contrast, believed they had been sent to Washington to break with business as usual and to accomplish something quickly; the large size of the class and the extraordinary character of the Republican victory made its members believe they could change both how the institution functioned and policy over night.

Are the skills needed to get to, remain in and get ahead in Congress the same ones needed to make Congress as an institution function effectively? On balance, the skills that further a member’s rise to influence within Congress are those that enable Congress to function effectively: intelligence, hard work, and skill at and willingness to bargain and compromise… http://www.congresslink.org/print_expert_effectivecongress.htm

People are attracted to single issue bobbleheads who are committed to dogma. Dogma adherents do not want to engage in the serious business of governance which requires a different set of skills from those who learned their tactics from the Politburo despite where their beliefs are on the political spectrum.

We must get over the national attraction to bobbleheads with a Twitter following.

Resources:

100 Ways to Become a Senator                                               http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/04/weekinreview/04baker.html

What Makes A Good Politician?                                        http://congress.indiana.edu/what-makes-good-politician

Roles and Duties of a Member of Congress: Brief Overview http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL33686.pdf

Where information leads to Hope. ©                 Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

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Dr. Wilda Reviews ©                                                http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

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