“When you lay down with pigs, all you ever get is dirty.”

“You can’t gather coal and keep your white shirt clean.”

It is hard to get good people to run for office these days.  The good people notice what happens to other good people who ran for and occupied elective office and make the conscious choice to avoid public office.  It is a sad, sad state of affairs.

There are so many new scandals and elected officials who are not able to pay their taxes that it is becoming a joke.  Jason Chaffetz sponsored legislation requiring government employees including staff members working in Congress to pay back taxes or lose their jobs.  Regular citizens need to pay the amount in dispute and then fight the IRS to get the money back.  The proposed legislation was removed in committee purportedly because in many cases it is a tax dispute, not just a refusal to pay and the IRS does make a lot of mistakes.

Jim Matheson is suffering from being a Congressman now.  In what I see as a good choice, President Obama nominated Scott Matheson Jr. for a seat on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.  (In a spirit of full disclosure, I attended the University of Utah Law School, took two classes taught by Scott Matheson and earned the high grade in his Constitutional Law class in the first year.)  Scott Matheson Jr. is fully qualified for the job and is probably one of the more conservative people that Obama could bring himself to nominate.  There are a lot more radical liberal lawyers that could have been nominated.

This is terrible timing for Jim Matheson.  Jim voted against the prior health care reform bill and on the same day as a previously scheduled visit to the White House the nomination was announced.  As a matter of social convention, the timing of the announcement makes sense.  The public announcement was made in time for Jim to thank the President in person for the nomination as a courtesy.  In the world of politics the timing is suspect and implies a potential buy off for support of the new health care bill especially when Jim Matheson is currently unsure of whether he is for or against the bill.  Jim Matheson says that each piece of legislation should be considered on the merits and wants to review the changes to the proposal before making up his mind.

Jim Matheson denies that it is a vote buying ploy and was offended at the aspersions against his character.  I do not believe that Jim Matheson put his vote up for sale.  It is possible that President Obama is trying to court his favor of course but I don’t think it was anything like a quid pro quo for the appointment.  The appointment of Scott Matheson Jr. puts more pressure on Jim Matheson to vote against the bill in order to defend his good name.

This is just one more example of why many good people choose to stay out of government.  We need to put better people in office to avoid these problems.

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