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World Association of International Studies

Post Politicians and Accountability
Created by John Eipper on 09/12/11 2:42 AM

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Politicians and Accountability (John Heelan, UK, 09/12/11 2:42 am)

Bienvenido Macario wrote on 12 September:

"How about making a president's failure to keep his/her campaign promises as legitimate grounds for impeachment?"

A noble sentiment with little chance of being out into practice. Campaign promises have a shelf-life lasting only to election day. After that, all political bets are off and the newly elected government's PR folks rush into action justifying why their masters will not keep their campaign promises. Their strategy follows the well-trodden path of: "Yes, we know we promised that, but the last government left such a mess, it is just not possible"; "Yes but sadly we have to make tough decisions and that keeping such promises will have be left to a later date"; "Yes we fully intended to keep that promise, but things outside our control (e.g. state of world economy, bad weather) mean that sadly we have to postpone it for the moment"; "Yes, we know we promised that but it was not a promise but really only an aspiration, one, of course, that we fully intend to keep, but for reasons outside our control, we shall have to leave until after the next election." And so on.

The Blair government (some say "Administration"!) were experts in double-talk, a practice that continues today seeking to justify its more noxious decisions and exculpate Blair himself. The present Coalition government have learned to imitate the Blair government well, as it daily reneges on manifesto promises made by its Tory and LibDem (or LimpDem as some describe them) members. Political promises are like thin ice--trust them at your peril!

JE comments: But just imagine if politicians were legally forbidden from making campaign promises beyond "I'll try real hard and do my best." It would actually be refreshing, for awhile.

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