The two-step of the political outsider – Canadian Government Executive

NEWS

SEARCH

AccountabilityManagement
November 6, 2013

The two-step of the political outsider

Quote of the week

“Elite – a group of people considered to be superior in a particular society or organization.”

Editor’s Corner

When is it that a politician becomes part of the governing elite and can no longer credibly position himself as an outsider? And what is the danger of politicians constantly identifying themselves as being on the outside looking in, fighting the forces of systemic, government elitism?

Many politicians do it. Barack Obama, when running to lead the Democratic Party, said, “There are those who tout their experience working the system in Washington…But the problem is that the system in Washington isn’t working for us and hasn’t for a long time.”

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, distancing himself from Washington politics, said on the campaign trail that, “…my team is the people of the United States of America.”

Last February, Tea Party Republican Ted Cruz bragged to the New York Times that, “I made promises to the people of Texas that I would come to Washington to shake up the status quo… That is what I intend to do, and it is what I have done in every way possible in the responsibilities that have been granted to me.”

The Prime Minister, speaking at the Tory Convention last week, said that, “We didn’t go to Ottawa to join private clubs or become part of some ‘elite’.”

The reason politicians do it is obvious: to identify themselves with the so-called little guy. As the Prime Minister added to the party faithful, “It’s not who you are; it’s not who we are.”

The danger is that the political-leader-as-outsider concept gives credence to the view that government doesn’t actually do anything that matters and is some kind of uncontrollable behemoth that no one, not even the political leader, can control…and, by the way, for which no one, not even the political leader, can be held accountable. The result becomes governmental gridlock because no politician feels an obligation to get results: just look south of the border.

Bismarck stated that politics is the art of the possible. The role of political leaders is to work with, and in a sense, to represent the role of government in achieving what is possible so that the lives of citizens can be improved.

It is fascinating that this cry against the alleged elitism of government seems to work for seasoned politicians, not just rookies: Obama and Romney were hardly outsiders to U.S. politics, and the Prime Minister has been in office since 2006.

To re-work the above Obama quote: if “the system … isn’t working for us and hasn’t for a long time,” shouldn’t the real political leader promise to take charge and work with everyone else to make it do so?

About this author

0 comments

There are no comments for this post yet.

Be the first to comment. Click here.

Accountability
 
In this episode, hear from Carl Hammersburg, Manager, Government and Healthcare...
 
A new study from the Conference Board of Canada gives our...
 
In the world that we are living in today, free and...
 
The delivery method developed by Sir Michael Barber, chief adviser to...
 
Rules and accountability are helpful in developing and standardizing processes but...
 
Canadian doctors were told that climate change impacts human health and...
 
Even as talks between the government and federal workers affected problems...
 
The largest effort in 20 years to seek public input on...
 
Ottawa has overhauled the process by which justices are picked for...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
In this episode, editor-in-chief, Patrice Dutil talks about the need for...
 
Upon receiving numerous complaints regarding add-on fees that turn making economy...
 
Are you absolutely clear what the government wants to achieve? Are...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Written By Jason McNaught The Public Service Alliance of Canada was...
 
Independence has long been regarded as a cornerstone of the auditing...
 
Canada is a diverse nation, in language, culture, geography, and, ultimately,...
 
Public sector organizations are under increasing pressure to identify all risks...
 
The government of Canada has implemented several measures over the past...
 
Whether at the territorial, provincial or federal government level, internal audit...
 
An organization’s reputation can take years to build but it can...
 
On October 30, Ontario began second reading of the Public Sector...
 
In the well-known children’s story, an Emperor falls victim to the...
 
The Nova Scotia Office of the Ombudsman is a small operation...
 
I think the ombudsman needs to be independent, because without independence...
 
Today’s business environment changes rapidly to adjust to evolving conditions and...
 
The best internal auditors actually are really good managers first. I...
 
The recent controversy about the actions of some staff members in...
 
Most professionals don’t need more than a sentence at a cocktail...
 
Recent research by the Institute of Internal Auditors Canada aims to...
 
When is it that a politician becomes part of the governing...
 
It’s been a busy couple of weeks on the information, privacy...
 
In 1996, a new budget watchdog, the Parliamentary Budget Officer, was...
 
The Ontario government is moving forward with the creation of a...
 
The Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner of Canada (PSIC)...
 
After the Auditor General’s (AG) report was released on April 30,...
 
In the U.K. system, Permanent Secretaries are what we call Deputy...
 
We are living in a period of rapid change and limited...
 
US public sector employees don’t trust their management to do the...
 
The news of Mark Carney’s nomination as the new Governor of...
 
Following Singapore’s independence in 1965, the controversial leadership of Lee Kuan...
 
Over the past few years, the preparation and delivery of the...
 
In healthcare, cost-cutting can result in cutting what is valued most...
 
For over 20 years Colin Bennett has been exploring issues of...
 
Even before controversy shook the organization to its foundation, Ornge was...
 
It will be the largest international multi-sport event ever held on...
 
We’ve all seen the headlines – BC Ferries, Ornge, la Caisse...
 
It can happen, and it’s noteworthy when it does. Government, business...
 
Kevin Page’s mandate as the first Parliamentary Budget Officer comes to...
 
Governments are challenged to meaningfully mitigate the effects of the financial...
 
Canada is facing a huge financial challenge brought on by massive...
 
For the past one hundred years, democratic states have been moving...
 
It’s so much easier and less painful to learn from the...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.7 September 2007 "If the Public Service, as a...
 
When pondering leadership, we immediately think of exercising our influence downward...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.1 January 2007 "How can I be held accountable...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.2 February 2007 Canada’s Performance 2006 is the sixth...
 
CGE Vol.14 No.1 January 2008 The furor over the $300,000 that...
 
CGE Vol.14 No.2 February 2008 Let’s say you’re a senior manager,...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.1 January 2007 Perhaps it’s a legacy of the...
 
The Independent Blue Ribbon Panel on Grants and Contributions called for...
 
Au Canada, le secteur bénévole et à but non lucratif vit...
 
As the global economy struggles to regain some forward momentum, Canadian...
 
This will be a defining budget for Stephen Harper. It will...
 
It is difficult to determine when the debate about the need...
 
For the next few years, the federal government’s overarching agenda will...
 
Much of the current conversation about the federal government’s economic agenda...
 
Bill Greenlaw is the elected president of the Institute for Public...
 
Have you ever asked yourself the question: ‘How would I evaluate...
 
Last fall, Alberta’s Employment and Immigration department posted online the workplace...
 
In 2006 the world was feeling the aftershocks of a number...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.4 April 2007 Robert Parkins, editorial director, met recently...
 
In the past two decades, the nature of the state has...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Some title Some author
Some excerpt
In this episode, hear from Carl Hammersburg, Manager, Government and Healthcare...

Member Login

Forgot Password?

Join Us

Password Reset
Please enter your e-mail address. You will receive a new password via e-mail.