It may be, in the continued popularity of Sarah Palin, that we are approaching a truly staggering national proof of what I like to call Curmudgeon's First Law of Politics. Before stating what it is that the First Law states we need a bit of history.
Personal history, that is. For pretty much the entire decade of the 80's I was the duly appointed City Attorney of a small town in north central West Virginia. Since this town held elections every two years I got a chance to work with five different mayors and about a dozen city council members. That direct exposure to the results of small town politics lead to the creation of the First Law. The fifth and final election was so memorable that the First Law almost wrote itself in the aftermath.
You see, the fourth mayor had some issues with the Sargent of Police. The said Sargent took some medical time off and during that time he grew a rather full beard. It is when the Sargent returned to active duty that things get interesting. According to the mayor, the Sargent reported for duty to the mayor in full bearded glory. The mayor suspended him and told him to go home and shave. When he refused, according to the mayor, His Honor fired him.
Of course, according to the Sargent no such bearded appearance ever happened. He was on his way home to shave before appearing for duty when the mayor saw him. The firing was unjust and unlawful and just plain wrong. And oh ya, I'm suing the city.
The details of the case and even it's outcome are not important. OK, the Sargent won a small settlement but that's not what lead to the First Law. During the course of the litigation another election came up and who do you think ran for mayor? And won? You betcha'. The Sargent ran for mayor while suing the city and in the end had to sign his own settlement agreement both as plaintiff and as defendant. That's what brought forth Curmudgeon's First Law of Politics.
People will elect others to local office whom they perceive to be dumber than themselves.
I have since had to modify this to remove the word local. As we saw so clearly in 2000 and 2004 our utterly connected world makes all politics local. I can sit at my desk and read the thoughts of partisans from all parts of the political spectrum. Hell, I can add my opinion to the mix. So the First Law now reads:
People will elect others to office whom they perceive to be dumber than themselves.
If the First Law is predictive, which of course I think it is, then the Democrats, and the country, could be in real trouble if Palin runs in 2012. The population of voting age Americans who think she is dumber than they are is, well, huge! And growing bigger each and every day. Be afraid. Be very afraid.