Thursday, September 15, 2011

When I Grow Up, I Want to Be a Politician

I was reading a piece by Ron Ross in the American Spectator about the dearth of Democrat Party leadership and this passage caught my attention and made me laugh:
This is not a new problem for Democrats. Although they have managed to win presidential elections over the past few decades there is usually something off kilter with their candidates. For example, there is something a bit weird about Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, Howard Dean, John Edwards, and Barack Obama. They are not what most people would consider normal. Each in his own way has at least a borderline personality disorder. All of them have difficulty being up front and honest about who they are and about their true objectives. (my italics)
This tickled me in large part because it rang so true.

I've always thought politics, in a democracy anyway, a passing strange business.  Think about it, success in politics is defined by winning and holding the good opinion of a majority of the people, a majority of the people the overwhelming share of which you don't, won't, and can't ever know.  And were it possible to know them, you're as likely as not to discover that you're not only contemptuous of their judgment, but even of their capacity for judgment.

Normally, we think of maturity as arriving at a place in one's life where the judgments of others about who and what you are, especially the judgments of those you do not respect, means less and less.  In politics, it's just the opposite.

But like most things in life, this is not an either/or proposition.  That is, it's not like there are two kinds of people, those tempted to run for political office and the rest of us.  Instead, it's a question of more and less.  Some people are more like this, others less.

Anyway, among the many reasons I'm a Republican is that insofar as our candidates are genuinely conservative ideologically, they are on balance more honest and sane than the Democrats'.  Not perfectly so, just more so.  As conservatism in America is so closely identified with the founding and its purposes, a founding most Americans still cherish and celebrate, conservative candidates needn't be secret about their ideology with the electorate.  (Although far too many professional pols think they must nevertheless and counsel GOP candidates accordingly.)

A liberal, by contrast, enjoys no such liberty.  Whether he wants to race toward socialism or just amble in its direction, he must, if he hopes to be remain electable, hide his intentions from the voting public.  That kind of routine dissembling and/or self-deception demands and attracts a certain kind of man.

Precisely the kind of man described by Ross in the list above as weird.

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