Saturday, April 07, 2007

Playing Hard to Get

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A lesson lost on the young ladies of today is the power of “playing hard to get.”

Not impossible to get, but hard to get.

Being easy never brought anyone long-term advantages.

As we used to say, back when I was a boy and half the country were farmers, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk free?”

The lesson of playing hard to get may be lost on our young, lissome lovelies, but not on our legislators. They know the goodies, the earmarks, the set asides, go to the legislators whose votes must be seduced, not to the ones who vote their principles.

For example, suppose a bill comes up for vote that is favored by a legislator, who now and then will be referred to as Legislator X. So he/she/it votes for it. The party leadership says “We knew we could count on good old what’s-his/her/its-name.”

Suppose the same bill, the same legislator, but this time he/she/it says for some idealistic reason the bill is bad.

“It goes too far.”

“It doesn’t go far enough.”

“It will cost too much.”

“Not enough resources have been allocated to make it effective.”

In this way, the legislator can, in good conscience, oppose any bill, and not look like a hypocrite.

Now what happens? First, the party’s senior membership, who never gave good old what’s-his-name a second thought, now confer and ask, “What can we offer good old what’s-his-name to get his/her/its support on this?”

Meanwhile, what’s-his-face now finds he/she/it is the center of attention, and all are eager to ask what happened to support for the bill? Particularly, why no support for this bill, when passing it was the main reason our subject legislator said drove him to run for office?

What happened?

Now is the time for Legislator X to shine. The world is watching. The world is listening.

Will X blow it?

Actually, regardless of X’s eloquence, or more likely lack thereof, and regardless of any semblance of logic on the part of X, X is playing a winning hand.

Like the girl who said “no,” but with a twinkle in her eye, Legislator X has now become “one to be wooed.”

The girl who said “no” may eventually have gotten everything she would have if she said “yes,” plus she also got wined, dined, danced, and romanced.

So it is with our Legislator X, who in addition to seeing his pet bill passed, now has lots of porcine products to take back to his constituents. Reelection is assured by no longer being “taken for granted.”

Just like the girl showing her new ring to admiring girlfriends, there is a lot to be gained by playing hard to get.

Please click on the label below to see all my articles on this topic.

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