Dan Walters

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
Published: Monday, Sep. 9, 2013 – 12:00 am | Page 3A
Last Modified: Monday, Sep. 9, 2013 – 6:37 am

Our perpetual fascination with sports reflects, consciously or otherwise, the simple fact that for most of us, life itself is a competitive game.

Games, of course, have rules, either formal or imposed by circumstances, to frame the competitive parameters.

The debate over whether Syria should be punished for using poison gas on its rebels reflects the rather odd assumption that killing people with bullets or bombs is acceptable, but using gas violates the rules.

Politics is one of our games and, not surprisingly, one aspect of its play is to change the rules not only of politics itself, but of other forms of competition – games within games, so to speak.

The dying days of this year’s legislative session feature several games to change rules of games.

Take, for example, legislation that public-employee unions had sponsored to make it more difficult for adversaries in local government to play in the political arena by changing campaign-finance rules. The two sides battled fiercely for weeks until agreeing on a compromise last week.

But as that clash faded, another arose over another bill sponsored by the state Fair Political Practices Commission aimed, it was said, at compelling shadowy interest groups with nonprofit status to reveal sources of financing when they engage in political campaigns.

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