Thought Provoking Thursday ~ Do We Want A Politican In Office?

Thought Provoking Thursday ~ Do We Want A Politican In Office?

romney gingrich obama
*Photo credit: Reuters

My goal on Thursdays is to spur open discussions about controversial issues.  I know politics, along with religion and money,are taboo topics – making them perfect topics for Thought Provoking Thursday.   With a deep breath, here goes:

Newt Gingrich

Does anyone seriously think that Newt Gingrich is electable?  I know Barack has proven that names aren’t barriers to electability, but politics aside, do we really want a president named after a lizard?  A lizard that has been charged with ethics violations no less?

Numerous allegations of adultery, lying, deceit, hypocrisy, and poor judgment follow Newt.  Not only allegations, but charges have been filed and upheld against him.  The House of Representatives fined Newt $300,000 for providing false information to the ethics committee (lying) and pursuing two projects that violated federal tax laws (cheating).   This was not just a democratic push to bash Newt’s character.  The vote was nearly unanimous (395 to 28).  Republicans were equally appalled by Newt Gingrich’s behavior.

Please America, regardless of your political affiliation, there is no good that could come from electing someone with such a skewed moral compass into office.

Problem with Politics

Although Barack Obama and Mitt Romney don’t have such obvious character flaws as Newt Gingrich, I wonder if either of them are suitable to be President either.   While Newt’s track record is a slap in the face of the American people, I’m not sure that  anyone with the skills to succeed as a politician should lead our country.

Is anyone that gets to this level of politics someone we want in office?

As far as I can tell, successful politicians have some common characteristics.

  • Charismatic
  • Attractive
  • Well funded.
  • Well connected.
  • Persuasive.
  • Well liked.

Well funded:  To get the funds they need to make a bid at the Presidency, they have to make nice with a lot of different types of people.  Make nice one day with someone that wants one thing and the next day with someone that wants the opposite.  Barack spent $760 Million in the last election and plans to spend close to $1 Billion in this one.  That is a lot of money and a lot of people to placate.

Well liked:  Politicians are very good at burying their opinions.  To do so, they talk a lot without saying anything substantial.  Why?  Because they want to reach the largest number of voters.  To make sure they don’t alienate any large groups, they craft their speeches to allow flexibility in the interpretation.  And committing to any one action or stance?  Nearly unheard of in presidential races.

More than one politician has been known to change their public stance on hot button issues depending on which side of the issue they feel will get them the most votes.  If last year’s polls said more voters would support Pro-Choice they sided with Pro-Choice.  If this year’s polls say Pro-Lifers are going to vote in larger numbers, they may change their platform to be Pro-Life.  Does that make them bad people?  I would say no, they aren’t bad, they are merely following the rules of successful politics.

Successful politicians are well versed in what it takes to be elected.  To that end, their first term is almost completely devoted to positioning themselves for reelection in the subsequent term.  I truly don’t believe we see the heart of a President until his second term.  That’s when real progress is made – after the politics of election are removed from the equation.  Of course any real progress is hindered by the House and Senate members that are positioning themselves for reelection.  And so the cycle continues.

Ideal Presidential Candidate

In my ideal world, presidential candidates would say what they meant.  They wouldn’t mince words and would cut to the heart of issues directly without dancing around trying to maintain political alliances.  They would stand up for what they believed in, would lead our country with decisions made with the intention of helping the common good, and would be incentivized to make tough decisions and follow through on those decisions with action.

Is it the politicians’ fault that isn’t reality?  No.  They are only guilty of  understanding and excelling at the rules of the game that we, the voters, have allowed to be set up.

In the political game (as it currently stands), a candidate can not speak directly or bluntly without being skewered in the media.  A politician that is unwilling to bend his viewpoints and appeal to contradictory camps isn’t able to raise the type of funds necessary to compete in this arena.   A candidate that takes responsibility for his mistakes actions is pulverized by his opponents and we, the voters, gravitate to the sensational and eat up the perceived failures of our leaders.

So, I ask again,

Is anyone that gets to this level of politics someone we want in office?

If you answer no, then what can we do about it?

11 Responses to Thought Provoking Thursday ~ Do We Want A Politican In Office?

  1. I have often asked myself such questions. In previous elections, I have thought like an HR person would about the skill set required to be President, and how different that skill set is from the skill set to be a candidate. The former needs to be a leader and the latter needs to be a politician.

    The ideal leader I want would not have politician traits. I came to the conclusion that, to paraphrase Groucho Marx (“I would not want to be a member of a club that would have me”), I do not want as President the type of person who would seek to become President.”

    Quite a pickle.

    I wrote a similar thought-provoking post (well, that was my intention) during the 2008 election cycle: http://writemindopenheart.com/2008/10/forget-the-candidates-lets-talk-core-beliefs-2.html

    • You say it much more eloquently than I Lori! That is exactly my thought process – the qualifications for candidate are much different than what I believe the qualifications for President should include.

      Thanks for your comment!

  2. Actually a charismatic politician and diplomat is exactlywhat we need in office. The office of president is high vis but not legislative. U need someone who can be a world leader and yet someone that kids can aspire to become. Sadly we have not always had a good role model in the office but I think u Do want someone who can speak to the world and the world listens. We are not isolated and are part of a global economy. I like that a president can inspire and lead.

    • I want a President that can inspire and lead too Ratna – that’s what I think the political process we’ve established for elections is preventing – the actual leading part.

      I want them making decisions and taking action for the common good – not just USA good, or economic good, but global and humanitarian good. I feel like the games that need to be played to even get into the running inhibit their ability to truly make a difference.

      I agree we want someone that can speak to the world and the world listens. Does anyone seriously think the world will take Newt Gingrich seriously? How much credibility have the American people and their president lost already that Newt is even in the running? What kind of message and leadership does that give to the world?

      I’m not arguing with you – I agree with the qualifications you bring up for President – I just don’t believe our current election process allows someone with those characteristics to actually take office.

  3. Oh my gosh, some of those things I haven’t even thought of. I agree completely on what Lori said. I really wouldn’t WANT vote for anyone that had the greed and deceptiveness in their blood that it takes to even want to be a President, but I sure don’t know how to fix it. Everything today is just so trendy. It seems like choosing a President is as important as who you follow on Pinterest, except people put more thought and time into pinterest and facebook and such.
    I get so frustrated watching Obama do his speeches. If you have ever watched him without a teleprompter, it is a comlete joke. He can hardly make sense of anything and stumbles quite a bit. I would love to find someone that didn’t need a speech writer to tell them what to say.
    I also think it is quite ridiculous the amount of money they spend in their campaigns. I would be quite intriqued by a candidate that took even half that money and put his money where his mouth is and put it towards the debt (yeah I know, how would that even happen and dreaming big but still).
    In my opinion, we used to vote for the best candidate. Now we simply vote for the lesser of two evils.

  4. Isn’t it sad Vicki? But I agree with you, the thought put into voting is minimal – I personally spend more time on pinterest than I do thinking about politics. I think it’s sad.

  5. Agreed Irene. I think they should have a mandated budget too that each campaign has to stick to – plus equal air time – level the playing field a little.

    I was also thinking one 8 year term versus two 4 year terms – would eliminate that first term being used to position yourself for your next election and maybe more would get done?

  6. I agree that the political options seem limited, at best. Honestly, Obama has the least amount of personal baggage; he’s overcome enough childhood stressors to problem-solve in the moment, and has an amazing wife, so my decision will likely rest on the hope that he’s qualified to lead with a sound mind under pressure for another term.

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