Democracy: Up in Smoke

Habemus Papam! We have a Pope! The centuries-old tradition of locking 115 men in a room until they make a decision still works today. This brings us to an old idea for getting rid of gridlock in our political system.

Back room political deals which were once the hallmark of getting things done have fallen out of favor. Imagine if Lincoln hadn’t been able to bribe opposition Democrats to end slavery? Not only would the Emancipation Proclamation have faced strict scrutiny but Daniel Day Lewis wouldn’t have gotten an Oscar and Mount Rushmore would be one face short of a full monument.

Self-righteous government do-gooders and nosy, self-interested media ended the much maligned and tawdry deal-making process—for the most part. But what is wrong with a little mystery in government? So what if Jerry Brown has to take a couple Republican state senators on a fact-finding tour to the Cayman Islands to raise a few taxes? You know how cheap Jerry is, they will fly coach. But at least he could get a couple of bucks for our schools.

Still not buying? Well, on the national stage, maybe we would get a real budget passed instead of a continuing resolution. Heck, the Republicans wouldn’t have to tell anyone how they voted. They just send up some white smoke and Habemus Budget, we have a budget.

Cable news would actually increase its ratings as CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Fox and Friends could mindlessly droll on about the speculation deep inside the Capitol, without any cameras on the actual individuals—sort of like what they already do.

Of course, we are way too sophisticated to use the old methods to solve our problems. Democracy is working far too well in this open and transparent environment. And there is rarely a scandal to cover up with all of these open and transparent rules.

Yes, the reporting requirements, plethora of ethics laws and iron-fisted enforcement systems have certainly eradicated corruption in our land. You can almost see everything working through all the black smoke.

Rich Robinson is a political consultant in Silicon Valley. Some of these ideas were written with tongue firmly planted in check.

Rich Robinson is an attorney and political consultant in Silicon Valley. Opinions are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of San Jose Inside.


  1. Rich,

    Too funny!  “Heck, the Republicans wouldn’t have to tell anyone how they voted. They just send up some white smoke and Habemus Budget, we have a budget.”

    And in your case, sans the use of smoke, guess you’d simply blow hot air and make us all sweat, calling it global warming!

  2. The Church could probably learn a few things from politicians too. For instance, if Pope Francis totally screws up and drives Catholicism into the dirt, he can simply blame it all on the previous Pope!

  3. Or the current batch of Cardinals who got him into this mess can actively oppose him while he fixes the problems, then complain that he is not doing it fast enough.

  4. I won’t worry about the future of the church until that day the Vatican joins America in defining its moral platform as the willingness to starve the children, depose the government, or wage war against any country the Israelis tell it to.

  5. > You can almost see everything working through all the black smoke.

    Speaking of black smoke, Rich, it’s a wonder that that Obama administration hasn’t transferred the Army, Navy, and Air Force to the EPA and declared war on the Vatican for contributing to “global warming”.

    The Paul Krugman, the Pope of the Church of the Holy Climate, has preached hellfire and brimstone, not to mention eternal damnation, and called for it to be rained down on “climate deniers”.  If it’s that horrific, a small, hygienic war to snuff out the Catholic Church would be an unarguable benefit to humanity.

    “You can deny global warming (and may you be punished in the afterlife for doing so — this kind of denial for petty personal or political reasons is an almost inconceivable sin).”

    So, Rich: are you in?

    Which do you favor? Thermonuclear annihilation, or covert actions and poisoning the Vatican water supply?

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