I once knew a state representative in Lynn, MA who came up with a winning slogan: “Tim Bassett Is A Lousy Politician”. As I recall, the Lynn lawmaker used the phrase to win a term or two or three up on Beacon Hill giving meaning to the use of irony in politics.
That same claim has been resurrected over and over again at every level and every year since I first heard it.
In presidential politics this year Mitt Romney, the former Governor of MA, the former nominee for U.S. Senate and 2008 presidential contender, is using the line again, having accused his GOP opponents of being “professional politicians” in a recent speech. Shameless.
In New Britain, Mayoral Nominee Tim O’Brien’s primary opponent, a multi-term alderman and office seeker, labeled himself the “people’s advocate, not professional politician!!!” Shameless again.
Most voters easily dismiss the “professional politician” charge because it always comes from a professional politician trying to deflect attention from issues and their own credentials. The use of the tag line, however, is just another way of putting down the pursuit of politics and public service — a meaningless phrase that further contributes to voter apathy and indifference.
And what’s wrong with voting for a professional politician? He or she may know what their doing when they attain public office.