To Seem Rather Than To Be

In politics, perception is reality. That is a widely held truism in the political realm. While catching up on some of the reading I missed last week, I found Betsy Newmark’s latest Examiner column on the topic of fakery in politics, including some excellent examples of how much damage can be done when politicians are more concerned with seeming, rather than being.

They posture and preen to score political points but ultimately accomplish nothing.

For example, whenever gas prices climb, you’ll see politicians work up a righteous anger and vow to prosecute those evil price-gouging oil companies getting rich off the suffering of the driving public. It’s a sure bet that they will commission a study, just as they did after the price increases following Hurricane Katrina. And like that study, and all the other dozens of investigations that preceded it, they’ll find no illegal market manipulation or price gouging, only natural reactions to market forces.

Politicians know that they’ll get this same result every time, but both parties eagerly call for such investigations anyway. Faced with constituents upset about high gas prices, our elected representatives are desperate to be seen as doing something to alleviate the pain at the pump. Only those who know something about economics or recent history will recognize a price-gouging investigation for the play-acting it is.She goes on to give other examples including one in which such fakery endangers our national security. Read it all.

This is cross-posted at Wizbang Politics.

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