Surfing the net, I stumbled across Alexandra Pelosi's column in the San Francisco Chronicle entitled, "No Interest Like Self-Interest." In it, she stated that George W. Bush actually had the gall to suggest Americans should vote in their own self-interest. The nerve of some people. The Democratic Party, never one to stoop to such petty concerns usually stays above such non-sense. Witness the Florida campaign of 2000 that ran on a platform of, "Old people listen up! The Republicans want to take social security away from you. A vote for the Democrats is a vote for your Social Security check." This passionate plea to save Social Security from bankruptcy in the next few decades was, unfortunately, unsuccessful. A self-interested platform would have been, "I know you are old, but make sure you don't vote for Pat Buchanan."
This was a departure from the normal self-sacrificing message of the Democrats that usually went, "You want Affirmative Action and a big welfare state? You know where to come." Little Alexandra has had a rough and tumble life. Sold to the salt mines of NBC and the daughter of a liberal representative from California, she toiled for nearly a decade before given the dismal task of being the reporter dedicated to covering the next President of the United States for a major news network. (NBC being one of the few liberal news organizations left repulsing the tide of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. The San Francisco Chronicle, ironically enough, being the other.) Never one to act in self-interest, she pulled herself up and gained unfettered access to a man she admittedly dislikes. Not bad for a girl of 30 making her way through the cold, heartless world. Now, a cynic would say that maybe NBC had a self-interest in hiring the daughter of a Congressional Representative. A cynic would further point out that publishing the random bon mots of the daughter of your district's representative and the House Minority Leader could be an act of self-interest. George Bush clearly had a self-interest in exposing himself (figuratively) to a woman who had much to gain, personally and professionally, in embarrassing him. It would be cynical to note how all these self-interested acts directly benefited Ms. Pelosi.
But I am no cynic. Rather I am one of those self-interested ogres who puts my family in front of class-warfare. I like keeping the money I earn as opposed to feeding an endless line of inefficient bureaucracies. The idea that voting outside your self-interest is the moral act is ridiculous. The idea of democracy is that those whose positions benefit the most voters, wins. Fortunately we live in a republic that tempers the desires of the mob with laws. Even more fortunately, we live in a republic whose citizens realize that big-government avoidance is in their own self-interest and vote accordingly.
Towards the end of the article, she asks (with no note of self-interest), "What happened to the September 11 lesson (sic) of selflessness and sacrifice." Well, sweetheart, it died on the floor of the Senate as Democrats refused to sign the Homeland Security Bill because it meant unions lost some jobs and, therefore, Democrats would lose some votes. The party of selflessness and sacrifice in action.
She made a touching and (ironically) childish statement in closing, "I thought we'd all grown a little since Sept. 11." We have grown. We have realized that fighting terrorism and saving American lives means more than catering to special interest votes. As we grow, we also realize that young journalists usually don't have their own production companies at 32 without some self-interested help along the way.