I can tell you what I wouldn't give them: The Art of War. If I had a nickel for every time a blowhard said a pol should read it, I'd be Warren Buffet.
Don't give them The Prince, either.
For actual gifts, see below...
Only one response in 5 hours [and that one inverse to the question] speaks volumes, I'd say.
Yeah, you're probably right, although I didn't intend my post to be a bit of anti-politics performance art. Shortly before he died, Eugene McCarthy wrote a book called No-Fault Politics that I'd give to progressive electeds gladly. I'm sure it's dated by now on the specific topics, but the spirit of the thing still stands. Maybe a subscription to The New Yorker, and force them to take the tame to read it, at least on their iPhones. Broadens minds in a congenial way.
Unlimited money! Mainly as a reprieve from fundraising. I have a difficult time putting myself in any politician's shoes, but the closest I can get to empathy is total repulsion at the amount of time they spend fundraising and the soul-crushing content of that work. Maybe someone can chime-in with a political sciencey argument about how not having to raise money would nudge incentives in a salutary way, but for me this gift is just a matter of ordinary goodwill.
Reading material: John Hershey's Hiroshima, to instill a sense of modesty.Music: Joseph Haydn's Missa in Tempore Belli.Art: A reproduction of Pablo Picasso's Gueernica.Going to war is too easy. Let's given them something to thin about...
Very good suggestions!
A month-long subway pass. And flat tires to make sure they used it.
I like it, but it only works for those few pols who live or work in places where subway systems exist...so good for DC (NYC, Chicago...) pols, not so good for most state or local pols...
Just the flat tires, but with a clause that prevents them from fixing them until they've stopped all subsidies and tax breaks to oil and coal companies.
@David, I was trying to follow the prompt and not be sarcastic. Admittedly I was only partially successful.
1. donation in her name to a charity pursuing the same goals that the politician emphasizes.2. creative as in actually creative - a doodle, a caricature, some whimsically photoshopped picture.
Then it's settled: even progs can't think of anything nice that they'd like to give to politicians ... except for more tax money and more power to dominate citizens (which are the two things that politicians most want.)
You couldn't resist being Scrooge on this one, could you? Don't lecture anyone else.
So that they could attend your meetings, you could give them a white hood.
It's hard to give presents for someone you really don't know personally, especially since the way this question is posed means that saying you'd give them a gift card isn't really good enough.
To President Obama: I'd like to give him John Podesta. Oh wait--somebody else did. Instead I'd get him Kim Stanley Robinson's Science in Washington/climate crisis trilogy.
I'd give Al Franken 15 minutes of airtime (TV and radio) each week to use as he saw fit (weekly address, let charities use it, let colleagues use it, run music videos, whatever...)
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At The Washington Post
At The American Prospect