Why We Need Dirty Politics

That's how the US 'gets things done': David Plotz
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 15, 2014 11:49 AM CST
Why We Need Dirty Politics
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie delivers his State Of The State address at the Statehouse, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, in Trenton, N.J.   (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Chris Christie's career in bullying is over: After Bridgegate, "Christie can’t be Christie anymore," writes David Plotz at Slate. "That's a shame," because we need more corruption in American politics. It's how things get done, Plotz notes: "Minor forms of corruption—votes bought with earmarks, traded favors—create a political flexibility that keeps the entire system from collapsing in moments of crisis." Indeed, the end of earmarks under John Boehner has rendered the House less effective.

Earmarks allow politicians to effectively buy the votes they need to push legislation through; President Obama got Arlen Specter's stimulus backing through an earmark, and LBJ spent his presidency using them. Meanwhile, the ban on earmarks prevented Democrats from getting the votes for gun control reform. The real trouble with Christie: "The closing of the George Washington Bridge lanes was so stupid, so heavy-handed, so public," and he was caught. "It suggests Christie actually isn’t an effective practitioner of kneecap politics," Plotz writes. Click for his full column. (More Chris Christie stories.)

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