There's a story I love about a leader who arrives on the first day of his new job to find two letters from his predecessor.
He is told to open the letters only when there is an emergency.
When the first emergency occurs, the leader opens up the first letter. It says--
"Blame everything on me."
So the leader blames his predecessor and everything is fine.
When the second emergency occurs, the leader opens up the second letter. It says--
"Sit down and write two letters."
The story is funny, but not all that absurd.
The Two Letter Technique has become perfected at a time when voters are fickle. In go the Democrats to fix what the Republicans have broken, and out go the same Democrats when they fail to make an impact.
All the politicians seem to agree on is one thing:
It was the fault of the person before me.
This does not exist purely on a high level of government. If anything, it seems worse the farther down you go. All the shake-ups in the last election have led to an awful lot of First Letter opening fairly early in the game.
What I find amazing, however, is that despite the blame game, nobody ever seems to be prosecuted or even investigated for their alleged indiscretions.
In the town I live in, there were allegations made by the current mayor against the former mayor that ranged from felonious incompetency to embezzlement to taking bribes. Yet the former mayor was never even questioned about any of this, and he ended up dying a few years later.
So did the current mayor not believe that his predecessor was really responsible for the mess he inherited? Is it just a mess that's been passed on from administration to administration? Was he just employing the first part of the Two Letter Technique?
Either way, nobody comes away from it looking good. The previous leader is shamed and the current leader is either a liar or too scared to prosecute his/her predecessor--and why? Because there's a sort of protection amongst politicians? A blood brotherhood that prevents them from doing anymore than smearing each other's good name?
As I said, so many people are opening up their first letter early in the game. It makes me wonder what happens once their second letter is opened and they're still less than halfway through their term?
Somehow the joke doesn't seem that funny anymore.