At the Hadrian Hotel

At the Hadrian Hotel

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Wingles and the Wangles in the Land of Wonks (A Political Fable)

Last year, during the Frist Filibuster at Princeton University, Rush Holt came to speak and inspired me to write something. I don't claim to be a gifted writer, nor had I ever tried my had at fables before, but the following is what I came up with (mostly while I was mowing the lawn one day :-) ).

With the changing winds in Washington it may not be quite accurate any more, but I thought that I'd dust it off and trot it out anyway....

In a place not far from here, the land of Wonks was ruled by a representative form of government, not unlike our own. It had multiple branches with a system of checks and balances to keep any one group from gaining too much power, again, not unlike our own.

For quite some time, two political parties had run the government, with first one holding the majority and then the other. Naturally, the party that was in power wanted to remain in power for as long as they could, but those pesky checks and balances prevented any one party from taking complete and permanent control. Over time, power would swing back and forth, from one party to the other and back again. Their system of government had worked very well like this for hundreds of years.

Now, this being the land of Wonks, everybody had an opinion on how the government should be run and of those who ran it. Many Wonks thought that the Wangles were just a bit more clever than the Wingles, and, believe it or not, in this case the Wonks got it right!

Not so long ago, when those clever Wangles power was on the up-swing, they figured out how they could start making minor changes to the rules of government in order to further consolidate their control. Slowly, over a number of years, they would make one minor change after another, always making it sound like the change at hand could only improve the running of the government.

As I said before, in the land of Wonks, everybody had an opinion on running the government, but not many people did anything about it. One day, a small group of Wonks got together and decided that they would do something about it. They formed a new political party called the Bunglers, and despite their name, they were quite a clever bunch of smooth talkers.

In fact, the Bunglers were even a bit more clever than the Wangles, and had figured out how to take advantage of all the rule changes that the Wangles had been making. The party started out quite small, but soon grew in size and power. This being the land of Wonks, there were quite a few potential Bunglers out there.

Eventually, the Bunglers gained control of all the branches of the government, and managed to change the rules to their advantage in such a way that neither the Wingles nor the Wangles were ever able to regain control.

The moral of this story is: When things are going well, don't try to wangle yourself a better deal, or you just might bungle it.

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