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Why They Do What They Do

Why is Rumsfeld gone? Why yesterday? Why not a week or a month before?

There is a simple answer. When you want to figure out why politicians do what they do, remember the simplest of rules:

Politicians do what they do to stay in office.

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita explains it here. It’s so simple. It should be easy to remember. But we have so much romance about politics and ideology that it’s easy to forget.

The Republicans jettisoned Rumsfeld because they are getting ready for 2008. The voters don’t like how it’s going in Iraq. Once that became crystal clear as it did on Tuesday night, the Republicans acted on Wednesday morning in their eagerness to show that they are listening.

George Will explains how the Democrats, because they want to stay in office just like Republicans, chose their candidates and their issues differently this time around. It’s a superb analysis but my favorite part is this aside:

About $2.6 billion was spent on the 468 House and Senate races. (Scandalized? Don’t be. Americans spend that much on chocolate every two months .)