07 December 2006

"No More Politics As Usual"

Here's a question: how do you know if a politician has fulfilled a campaign promise when the promise is as nebulous as "no more politics as usual," a phrase used repeatedly by the Palin campaign in the recently-concluded election?

On the one hand, the appointment of what appear to be relatively non-partisan and competent commissioners is one step in that direction. On the other hand, closed-door meetings with oil industry executives might not be. Then again, it's likely that the closed-door meetings improve the efficiency and productivity of the meetings, too attributes generally not associated with "politics as usual." And meeting with so many energy representatives about the natural gas pipeline is definitely a step away from the politics practiced by the previous administration.

The problem is that with a campaign promise like "more money for education" or "I'll get a gas pipeline contract," there are clear markers for success or failure in meeting that goal. But when you promise to change the process or ethos underlying a system, it's a lot harder to see if you've been successful.

The answer, I think, is to not judge the results all that quickly. Perhaps in a few months or years, we'll have a better sense of the broader picture of the Palin administration and can more accurately gauge how well it has fulfilled at least this one campaign promise.

And don't even get me started on measuring "positive change," another trope from the campaign trail.

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