In 1971, the Byrds sang I Wanna Grow Up To Be A Politician. These days, one has to ask one`s self: why? The song was a catchy tongue-in-cheek jab at the then current state of American politics. Richard "I am not a crook" Nixon was in the third year of his first mandate. The song was prescient in a way. Two years later Vice-President Spiro Agnew resigned amid charges of bribery, tax evasion and money laundering from his tenure as Maryland's governor. A year later, Nixon himself resigned rather than face certain impeachment over his role in Watergate.
Unfortunately, questionable activities and illegal acts have always been a part of politics. What's even more unfortunate is that they always will be.
Here in Canada several years back we went through the "sponsorship" scandal, undertaken by certain members of the then governing Liberal party. The taxpayer-funded kick-back scheme that funneled cash from the government to ad and marketing agencies and on to Liberal party coffers killed then Prime Minister Paul Martin at the polls, even though he was personally absolved of any involvement the stench of government corruption proved too much for Canadians to pinch their nose and vote. Martin had spent years in the wilderness of the Finance portfolio biding his time and keeping his ambition in check and then - bam - the electorate pulled the prime ministerial rug out from under his feet.
In Britain, that country's answer to Paul Martin, Labour PM Gordon Brown, is about to see the same thing happen to him. In the UK however, taxpayers money didn`t go into Labour`s coffers. It went directly into Members` pockets! Two Ministers, the latest Wednesday, have resigned from Brown`s cabinet for expense irregularities, and many MPs say they won`t run for office again, after having been caught with their fingers in the cookie jar.
Labour has faced the brunt of voter anger against many MPs who have milked the allowances system, claiming from taxpayers the cost of everything from duck houses to cleaning a moat to the rental of porno movies.
You know a prerequisite for politics is having to be smart. But this bunch just isn`t smart enough. They keep getting caught.
Perhaps Roger McGuinn and the boys should have sang: I Wanna Grown Up To Be A Politician!