We like Pat Sajak, one of the few open conservatives in Hollywood. Remember that time he cried over the death of Wheel of Fortune's gay stylist? That was very nice. He's also very good at light banter and sounding sad when contestants can't solve the bonus-round puzzle. But when it comes to ideas about how to improve democracy in America, Sajak is just terrible. Here is what he wrote at the National Review yesterday:
None of my family and friends is allowed to appear on Wheel of Fortune. Same goes for my kids’ teachers or the guys who rotate my tires. If there’s not a real conflict of interest, there is, at least, the appearance of one .... In nearly all private and public endeavors, there are occasions in which it’s only fair and correct that a person or group be barred from participating because that party could directly and unevenly benefit from decisions made and policies adopted. So should state workers be able to vote in state elections on matters that would benefit them directly? The same question goes for federal workers in federal elections.
Yes ... what?
I’m not suggesting that public employees should be denied the right to vote, but that there are certain cases in which their stake in the matter may be too great. Of course we all have a stake in one way or another in most elections, and many of us tend to vote in favor of our own interests. However, if, for example, a ballot initiative appears that might cap the benefits of a certain group of state workers, should those workers be able to vote on the matter? ....
As Sajak says, "many of us tend to vote in our own interests." Since that is, in fact, pretty much the entire reason people vote, there would be nobody left to vote if you implemented this "conflict of interest" test. But even if Sajak is talking only about very direct benefits not sure who would determine when that applies, but never mind that why limit it to state or federal workers? Should gay people be allowed to vote on gay-marriage initiatives? Should people with glaucoma or cancer be permitted to vote on medical-marijuana laws? Should we let taxpayers vote on raising and lowering taxes?
We'd like to buy a vowel: "O." For "Oh God, what an outrageously bad idea."
Public Employees and Elections: A Conflict of Interest? [Corner/National Review]