Wednesday, October 02, 2002

TRAFICANT, AND NOW TORRICELLI. They’re used-car salesmen, to use a cliche at the risk of insulting all those honest used-car salesmen out there. They’re not the only used-car salesmen on Capitol Hill; they’re just the latest to have their Official Statesman Cloak costumes yanked off to reveal the polyester leisure suits that smart people knew were there all along.

Not all elected officials are used-car salesmen, but think about it. What’s easier: Knowing the issues and coming to a meeting of the minds with voters in that knowledge, or having the used-car-salesman skills necessary to trick people into liking you? Who’s more likely to crave power: The brilliant thinker who wants only what’s good for the people, or the megalomaniac blessed with the charisma to persuade people against their better judgment to buy Chevy Cavaliers, line his pockets, play kiss-kiss with his wee-wee? You don’t have to be an idiot to be taken in by a used-car salesmen. Plenty of smart people fall for them, vote for them, marry them.

Brilliant thinkers can be used-car salesmen as well, of course, as illustrated by the greatest used-car salesman of all, William Jefferson Clinton.

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