After Eric Cantor's dramatic loss in Virginia, many now feel that traditional Conservative principles may soon prevail within the Republican Party. I doubt it.
It's very easy for talk show hosts and columnists to be "ideologically pure." It doesn’t cost them anything, and it’s also good for ratings. Congress, however, is different. It is very difficult to get things done up there without collecting votes from others, including those who favor support of objectionable policies. That support comes at a steep price, as they will demand the same favor in return. Hence, by definition, almost all accomplishments by Congressional legislators entail "selling one’s soul" (to some degree) and being willing to vote against one’s conscience.
Another pervasive corrupting factor in the U.S. government is the influence of contributions. Because the U.S. system requires politicians to run very expensive campaigns in order to get elected, all but the super wealthy must solicit political contributions and that, too, is very pricey. Corporate and private donors contribute this money to politicians as a way of buying their votes on certain issues.
My suspicion is that when the Mitch McConnells and John Boehners of the Republican Party started in politics, their policies were mostly in line with today's Tea Party. However, after joining the world of congressional realpolitik, they were soon casting votes for what they had always opposed, and that left them on a slippery slope of no return. I am not condoning this wishy-washy self-serving behavior of today's Republican establishment; but, in truth, there are few politicians who are able to retain absolute integrity and not be crushed by the realities of the job. [more...]
Rabbi D.B. Ganz studied the Talmud full time for 15 years at the Rabbinical Seminary of America (AKA Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim) in Queens, NY. He served as Dean of the Hebrew Academy of Suffolk County, an Orthodox Jewish elementary school in Long Island. He is the author of Uncommon Sense, a book that applies the wisdom of the Talmud to many major social and political topics faced by today's Western societies.