Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Principled Politics?

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Principled Politics?

Article excerpt

Most people, we suspect, believe there is more honor among thieves than politicians.

As always with sweeping statements, there is truth behind them--and also exceptions. Whatever its flaws--and it has its share--our system of government was carefully constructed to ensure that extreme elements cannot dominate--at least not for long. This balance is not a particularly delicate one, however, and often the result is a messy process that

lurches erratically from crisis to crisis (cliff to cliff?) and only occasionally rises to true statesmanship.

But as with any endeavor, participants in the political arena choose to operate along the high road or the low road.

If you read the cover story this month (p. 24), you'll come away with a clear sense of where ABA stands in that regard. Several of the trade group's senior staff members counsel strongly against personal politics--that is, letting policy disagreements devolve into a feeling of ill will toward your opponent.

If Congress is a reflection of the people it represents (a sobering thought) then it's clear that taking things personally is a tendency many of us must have. If we think that way, we'll act accordingly, and nothing will be accomplished other than digging an entrenched attitude even deeper.

Says Mike Hunter, ABA's chief operating officer, "You start disliking someone and you discount everything they say." How true that is. If you like someone, they're confident. If you dislike them, they're obnoxious. ABA's EVP of Congressional

Relations James Ballentine expands on the point, saying, "You may not be a fan of a particular Senator or House member, but that member has a vote. …

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