September 14, 2013

Politicians like power

Former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard, who ousted PM Kevin Rudd in internal Labour Party infighting, only to be ousted by Rudd in turn, writes in The Guardian:
Losing power is felt physically, emotionally, in waves of sensation, in moments of acute distress. 
I know now that there are the odd moments of relief as the stress ekes away and the hard weight that felt like it was sitting uncomfortably between your shoulder blades slips off. It actually takes you some time to work out what your neck and shoulders are supposed to feel like. 
I know too that you can feel you are fine but then suddenly someone’s words of comfort, or finding a memento at the back of the cupboard as you pack up, or even cracking jokes about old times, can bring forth a pain that hits you like a fist, pain so strong you feel it in your guts, your nerve endings.

59 comments:

Whitehall said...

"Oh no! I've lost the Ring!"

Ever see manic-depressive syndrome up close and personal? It can be terrifying.

But then, there are lives ruined by bad politicians who should never have been given power so I have little sympathy.

Henry Canaday said...

Oh come on, Julia. It’s only Oz in peacetime. What’s the big deal?

Steve Sailer said...

I imagine Churchill felt like this in July 1945, but, yeah, losing power in Oz in the 2010s? Politicians ...

dearieme said...

Remember that she was levered out by Kevin Rudd, the well-known suppository.

Thursday said...

Politicians are power hungry assholes. News at 11.

Democracy may have its benefits, like not having to have a bloody revolution every few decades when the populace decides it really, really hate the current leadership, but it does mean that we get to be ruled by those best at clawing their way over everybody else.

Thursday said...

Maybe the ancient Greeks had it right, set a minimum standard for class, intelligence, whatever, and then randomly pick our leaders from out of that pool.

Mark Caplan said...

Julia Gillard was so refreshingly and disarmingly candid about her atheism. I looked upon her as a light unto the nations.

Glossy said...

Khruschov lived on for 7 years after losing power. I remember reading somewhere that when one of his grandkids was asked in school what his grandfather did (presumably for a living), his answer was "he cries".

"It’s only Oz in peacetime."

I'm sure that when the head of accounting of a mid-sized company loses his job, it hurts just as much, especially if that's the most power he'd ever had and was ever going to have.

Anonymous said...

Exercising power by collectively voting the ALP out of power was by contrast, very satisfying.

Anonymous said...

Power is a hell of drug.

Anonymous said...

C'mon Sheila,..um, Julia! It's not like you were the leader of the free world or something.

Remind me: why is Oz relevant these days? Lots of minerals. Proximity to China.

A Working Class American said...

when you are old and impotent, and young girls no longer glance at you, money and power is all that is left.

Anonymous said...

These last two or three weeks I've often thought about Obama in his residence, learning for the first time, really, what it's like to be ridiculed, mocked. I mean, he's thin-skinned to begin with and so for even those who are in his own party to shake their heads at him, for pundits like customarily brown-nosing Joe Klein to call his Presidential behavior the height of incompetence must be excruciating for the narcissist.

Anonymous said...

Well some people have children and faith so they don't have to work out their issues on the Internet. That said I'm having trouble imaging some one with less experience with power money or women. Is it white knighting to remark how weird the unecessary young modifier is? There's a lot of working clas neighborhoods where that would get you stomped.

Anonymous said...

Glossy: I'm sure that when the head of accounting of a mid-sized company loses his job, it hurts just as much, especially if that's the most power he'd ever had and was ever going to have.

It is not about power! (Well, not necessarily.) It's about being where one really wants to be, about one's life aspiration, about the feeling that you "made it", that you are "worth" something. "Crushed dream" is the feeling that Julia writes about, and while power might be the most significant factor with politicians, it is something almost everyone encounters for any number of reasons, and Julia describes it very well.

ATBOTL said...

Modern Western politicians are very sick people, no doubt. They are crying out in pain and need our help. What kind of therapy can we give them to cure their mania for power? I have some ideas...

Whiskey said...

By contrast Washington and Jackson were both eager to leave and return to their own affairs and estates which were in serious disarray.

Auntie Analogue said...


Listen now, Julia Gillard, for the sound of the world's tiniest violin.

Anonymous said...

the pain must have been unbearable to LBJ, watching young Jack running things

Brett_McS said...

Some people are built around the negation of "Live and Let Live":

"No Life or Interfere".

When the Interfere part is taken away what is left is No Life.

Harry Baldwin said...

These last two or three weeks I've often thought about Obama in his residence, learning for the first time, really, what it's like to be ridiculed, mocked.

I've been thinking about that too. When you are what Derbyshire calls an IWSB (intelligent well-socialized black) like Obama, you're used to being treated deferentially in the US. Russians, though, don't feel this great need to buck up the self-esteem of blacks. They're really not that into them. So Putin doesn't treat our president in the manner to which he has become accustomed, and I suspect he hasn't finished making him look foolish. Will Valerie Jarret's pep talks suffice? Will our Wounded Narcissist retreat behind drawn curtains to pout? Curl up in a fetal position?

I think not. During the Lewinsky scandal, I kept expecting Clinton to suffer nervous collapse from the sheer excruciatingness of it all, but that's before I understood that when you have no shame, a disgrace that would destroy a normal man is not that big a deal.

Harry Baldwin said...

When my congressional representative, Toby Moffet, lost his seat in 1982, he got nationwide coverage for bluntly admitting it was painful to have to give up power.

This is from a NY Times article on what power means to people:

It happens continually: People gain power; others lose it. When power changed hands during last week's elections, most of those who lost tried to put a good face on defeat. But Toby Moffett, the Connecticut Congressman, was candid about the pain.

Admitting that defeat was "very, very devastating personally," Mr. Moffett told an ABC interviewer that he was going to miss greatly the power of being a committee chairman, the deference and television coverage that power brings, the ability to get things done. "It's losing that kind of power that I think is very, very tough," he said. "I don't mind telling you, I'm shellshocked today."

Anonymous said...

It must have been disappointing for Gillard that previous Labor prime ministers had apologized for everything by the time she arrived.

Labor Prime Minister Keating 1992: “We did the dispossessing. We took the traditional lands and smashed the traditional way of life. We brought the diseases. The alcohol. We committed the murders. We took the children from their mothers. We practised discrimination and exclusion."

Massive Narcissist Prime Minister Kevin Rudd 2008: "We apologise for the laws and policies of successive parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians,"

"We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.

"For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.

"To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.

"And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry."

Brett_McS said...

"Julia! It's not like you were the leader of the free world or something."

Although there is no reason she couldn't immigrate and run for Prime Ministership of Canada.

Anonymous said...

Julia Gillard is one of the arrogant, spiteful Neo-Marxist clique who have dedicated themselves to the destruction of Western Civilization and the humiliation of working class white males.

It's hard to shed a tear for her.

Anon.

Anonymous said...

Nah, the next prime minister of Canada is going to be Justin Trudeau, whose qualifications are that he used to be a social-studies school teacher, and -BTW - his dad was PM.

I saw Pierre Trudeau speak once, to a college crowd. The kids were initially hostile (this was during a period of federal-provincial tussle about oil) but within 10 minutes he had them all. I have never since seen such charisma at work. AND he was a short guy.

Podsnap said...

It must have been disappointing for Gillard that previous Labor prime ministers had apologized for everything by the time she arrived.

Not everything -

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-03-21/gillard-delivers-apology-to-victims-of-forced-adoption/4585972

Anonymous said...

Kevin Rudd is a real weirdo. I remember a couple years ago he ridiculously said Australia should consider invading China if they failed to become the kind of democracy the West desires it to be.

Compared to that, Gillard is just very, very dull. The kind of vapid empty vessel the Anglopshere enjoys putting into office these days. In ten years nobody will remember her just like nobody remembers John Major.

Anonymous said...

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/09/14/The-Matthew-Shepard-Story-is-a-Lie

Truth vs Narrative.

Anonymous said...

Stating the obvious.

Why do they become politicians in the first place? - a psychological need to bully and boss others around. It's all about power and the trappings of power.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe it's gotten 30 comments in and nobody's mentioned "A Man in Full". Tom Wolf's mayor of Atlanta talks about how entrancing it is to have everybody in a room stand up when you enter and how that's what keeps people going in politics. He's going to be read 100 years from now as a shorthand way to understand our times.

Jonathan Silber said...

I feel the same as Gillard since learning that Putin doesn't think I'm special.

Anonymous said...

I suspect she does not understand her feelings all that well. It's not the loss of power per se, but her rejection by the Australian people that she's taking personally. If she were leaving because of her term limit was up, would she really feel this way?

vandelay said...

And Gillard's also the one who made accusations of misogyny her personal get-out-of-jail-free card, isn't she?

Well at least she's honest about what moves her, though I've gotta think Australians are pretty happy with their most recent decision.

Anonymous said...

I suspect she does not understand her feelings all that well. It's not the loss of power per se, but her rejection by the Australian people that she's taking personally. If she were leaving because of her term limit was up, would she really feel this way?

Anonymous said...

It sounds like Gollum, it does...

Anonymous said...

Politicians like power... Former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard...

I guess what the Heartiste crowd would be wondering is whether or not Ms Gillard feels that power really is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

With [obviously] plenty of tawdry & explicit details from Ms Gillard which would serve to elaborate on the thesis.

BTW, since I got Kontrolled on the other thread, I just gotta ask about it: Is Ron Unz particularly closely related to Kissinger?

Like maybe his great-nephew or something?

neil craig said...

Ih the humanity. Strangely enough the Guardian and the rest of these caring scum never empathised with Rudd when she pulled her coup on him.

It reminds me, on a much more trivial level, of those who get upset about the Tsar and family being offed but not several million Russians in that war. As Steve said on another thread the "concerned left" tend to be concerned only with the problems of those who don't have problems.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

Stating the obvious.

Why do they become politicians in the first place? - a psychological need to bully and boss others around. It's all about power and the trappings of power."

It does seem to be that way, doesn't it? There may be a few people who enter politics in order to right some wrong, or achieve some particular aim, or even just look out for the interestes of their own people. But such people seem to be rare. A thirst for power and adulation seem to motivate many, if not most of them. It is a dangerous thing to confer power on those who want it.

Puts me in mind of that line from Godfather III: "Power is a burden,.........to those who do not have it."

Whitehall said...

I hear the lamentations of their women.....

It is the best in life.

George said...

Judging by the level of dislike from voters, I'd say a weight was lifted off their shoulders with her ouster ( and Mr. Rudd).

josh said...

I imagine as life goes on she will feel the double punch in the gut as she begins to feel the loss of the power of her beauty and sex appeal. Oh...too late. I wonder of her appearance played a role in her develpoing this absurd cockamamie butt-hurt?

Anonymous said...

http://slnm.us/ILVdA2Z

Liberal private sector vs Liberal public sector.

Anonymous said...

This brings to mind (pbuh) Lawrence Auster's comment that why men crave power more than women, they don't admit to it like women do.

-OSS

Anonymous said...

Glossy said: I'm sure that when the head of accounting of a mid-sized company loses his job, it hurts just as much, especially if that's the most power he'd ever had and was ever going to have.
.................................................................................

From what I've read, the loss of status and power experienced by many formerly respectable Soviet citizens drove them to alcoholic despair in the 90's. Since you where there, would you say that's accurate?

Some researchers suggest that depression evolved in order to prevent the losing party in a power struggle from taking stupid risks. According to this view, depression is like a social TKO.

http://guilfordjournals.com/doi/abs/10.1521/jscp.2007.26.7.751

-The Judean People's Front

Anonymous said...

Politicians like serving power.

Anonymous said...

Gillard gives apology for forced adoption practices

Style over substance.

How does this apology make any of those people materially better?

It is just feelgood claptrap. Its purpose is to allow politicians to congratulate themselves.

Anonymous said...

http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2013/09/15/anglosphere-rules-global-education-roost/

Anonymous said...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-24024767

what happened to Germany and France?

Anonymous said...

Besides barring citizenship while instituting some level of legalization for those here already, Mr.Ted Cruz has proposed increasing the number of green cards awarded annually, to 1.35 million from 675,000. He also wants to eliminate the per-country limit that he said left applicants from countries like Mexico, China and India hamstrung when they tried to gain legal entry to this country.

NOTA said...

Mr Anon:

I think most people seek power with some clear ideas about how they want to use it to do stuff, but also with a desire for power for its own sake. And over time, I imagine it is easy to lose the roadmap of what you plan to do with power, and just get caught up in the desire to keep or expand it.

Alongside that, people are rationalization machines. Every congressman who would sell his grandmother down the river for another term in office can come up with a long list of the good and important things he's done and is doing, and a compelling (to him) story of how if it weren't for him, all sorts of disasters would have befallen America and the world. I'm sure George W Bush can convince himself of this, despite his disastrous term in office. I'm sure every president could, no matter what messes he made for his country and the world. Much less egotistical people than any president have convinced themselves of less plausible stories of their own importance.

Anonymous said...

"Losing power is felt physically, emotionally, in waves of sensation, in moments of acute distress. I know now that there are the odd moments of relief as the stress ekes away and the hard weight that felt like it was sitting uncomfortably between your shoulder blades slips off. It actually takes you some time to work out what your neck and shoulders are supposed to feel like. I know too that you can feel you are fine but then suddenly someone’s words of comfort, or finding a memento at the back of the cupboard as you pack up, or even cracking jokes about old times, can bring forth a pain that hits you like a fist, pain so strong you feel it in your guts, your nerve endings."


HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAAAAAA!

Feels pretty good, don't it? How do YOU like it, you man-hating sow!? How do YOU like being trampled on,passed over, silenced and ridiculed?

I know you won't learn a thing from this, but at least we get to watch you taste your own medicine!

LoLoLoLoL!

This is what's coming to all libtards around the globe.

Hang 'em high,good friends, hang 'em high!

Anonymous said...

"Kevin Rudd is a real weirdo. I remember a couple years ago he ridiculously said Australia should consider invading China"

Rudd was also alleged to have said: "Those Chinese fuckers are trying to rat-f**k us!,” This said to a throng of Australian officials and press.

Rudd speaks Mandarin so maybe he was on to something. Here he is speaking Mandarin.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Bro4mkb_VKc

I'm not sure if the Chinese find him ridiculous.

Steve Sailer said...

Rudd sounds like Raoul Duke would sound as prime minister of Australia.

Charles Laidley said...

Rudd's daughter (a stereotypical Aussie woman - big, blowsy, handsome) married a Chinese.

Anonymous said...

We like money.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZHCVyllnck

Anonymous said...

"what happened to Germany and France?"

I don't know, but I wonder if the German universities mostly educate Germans. Maybe they're not competing globally for students and like it that way.

The UK have position 3/4/5/6 in the global top 10, yet somehow that doesn't translate into exceptional living standards here.

Felix M said...

I used to think that, on losing office, politicians were thrown by the lack of respect, journalists and lobbyists vying for their attention, chauffeur driven care, etc.

But it's not so. When Caesar was and some companions passed a small village, someone commented that it no doubt had intense political struggles. And Caesar said, "I'd rather rule such a dung heap than be the second man in Rome".

I think the core anguish of most ex-politicians is the loss of power. What a sick and weird bunch!

Peter the Shark said...

Washington and Jackson were both eager to leave and return to their own affairs and estates which were in serious disarray

Yes, they were essentially aristocrats and had their own almost feudal powerbases at home. I don't imagine stepping down from the Presidency was a big deal for those men. In many ways I imagine running an estate gave you a far more direct feeling of power than the sort of abstract power in running a weak and decentralized Federal government back in the early 19th century - people actually carried out your orders, and you could see the results. That is a problem these days - most of our "leaders" now crawl their way up a political party or government bureaucracy and have no real lives outside politics. They live abstract lives of political power games and maneuvering. As a result, the best you can get is a reasonably competent bureaucrat like an Angela Merkel. In the worse case you get people like Putin or Obama - hollow narcissists for whom power is not a means to an end, it is the only end game.