All the brouhaha about lobbyists was stuck in my mind as I watched "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington" tonight. While the filibuster scene is the most famous, I find this bit by Claude Rains, playing Senator Paine, Jefferson Smith's mentor, the most interesting:
Listen, Jeff--you--you don't understand these things--you mustn't condemn me for my part in this without--you've had no experience--you see things as black or white--and a man as angel or devil. That's the young idealist in you. And that isn't how the world runs, Jeff--certainly not Government and politics. It's a question of give and take--you have to play the rules--compromise--you have to leave your ideals outside the door, with your rubbers. I feel I'm the right man for the Senate. And there are certain powers- influence. To stay there, I must respect them. And now and then--for the sake of that power--a dam has to be built--and one must shut his eyes. It's--it's a small compromise. The best men have had to make them. Do`you understand? . . . [MORE]
I know how you feel, Jeff. Thirty years ago--I had those ideals, too. I was you. I had to make the decision you were asked to make today. And I compromised--yes! So that all these years I could stay in that Senate--and serve the people in a thousand honest ways! You've got to face facts, Jeff. I've served our State well, haven't I? We have the lowest unemployment and the highest Federal grants. But, well, I've had to compromise, had to play ball. You can't count on people voting, half the time they don't vote, anyway. That's how states and empires have been built since time began. Don't you understand? Well, Jeff, you can take my word for it, that's how things are. Now I've told you all this because--well, I've grown very fond of you--about like a son--in fact, and I don't want to see you get hurt. . . .
An argument for term limits?
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