Well, all the white house staff are appointed by the president. It’s up to him to root out the people doing wrong things and fire them, but I’m guessing the president tends to have more pressing issues to attend to. In the legislature, I think it’s purely due to the advantage of incumbency that bad politicians retain their seats. Unless their wrongdoings are brought very publicly to the light, most voters aren’t bothered enough to keep political tabs on their legislators. As a result, people generally assume their politicians are doing a decent enough job (at least relative to all the others). Plus, incumbents can use their existing political office to “report” to their constituency–basically send out pamphlets telling all about their accomplishments. So voters tend to favor those they’re familiar with rather than the challenger.
The alternative answer is that the people doing “crappy things” are typically a bit more crafty. People who feel that they are doing things from a morally righteous obligation walk into the political sphere with a huge target on their back. Ambitious little twats who cut deals all over the place do not. It’s a pretty simply and easy to understand, though rather unfortunate, phenomenon.
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