There Are Only 2 Kinds of Politicians in This World
I have usually found it easy to make judgments about political candidates. I believe in certain principles and their universal application. These principles have become a part of me, and I can recognize when others share the same principles. If a candidate shares my principles, I can be fairly certain they will represent me well in office. However, in very recent years the conservative principles I hold have become popular, and many politicians have learned to talk the talk. I have found that politicians are convincing actors. They are able to sound like a conservative, libertarian, socialist, or anything else, without actually being one. That is why so many politicians who seem very good on the campaign trail go on to disappoint us in office. Perhaps we can make fewer mistakes of this nature if we understand that not all politicians are principles politicians. We cannot simply listen to a candidate’s stump speeches and assign to him a particular ideology. There is a second type of politician which does not cling to any particular set of values. I like to call them issues politicians.
An issues politician weighs the pros and cons of each new decision that comes before him and is led by various meters. A principles politician aligns each decision with what he understands to be true and right principles.
In my opinion, you can never really trust an issues politician. One can never be sure what will govern his actions. Constituents might influence him, but it also might be his political colleagues, re-election, personal gain, lobbyists—the list could go on. The point is, issues politicians weigh each issue individually without any consistent measuring device. Some people are issues people, and if you are then perhaps you are happy with this type of candidate. But when an issues politician is persuaded in a different direction from his issues constituents, those constituents often become very upset. I cannot understand why. The politician was sent without any principles to guide him. When voting, the politician has colleagues, reports, experts, and himself directly in his presence, but not his constituents. What did his voters expect would happen?
Another concern I have with an issues politician is this. If such a politician did not run for office because he believes in certain principles which he wishes to see upheld in government, then why did he run? What does he hope to accomplish? An improved resume? The best scenario is that he has an issue or 2 he is mad about and wants to fix. But government officials are called on to deal with multiple issues. Can we trust an issues politician in areas that are outside his chosen cause? Government is not the place for this kind of person. He should focus his energy on educating people, building a movement, and petitioning his government officials.
Let me be clear. A candidate with a cause is not a bad thing. Such a candidate can accomplish great things in her cause, but she must have principles to go with it. Otherwise she will likely do a poor job when called on to deal with an issue she has never before considered. No government official has adequate knowledge to judge what is best in every situation. Therefore, they all must be guided by something outside of their knowledge when making decisions.
A candidate with deeply ingrained principles can almost always be counted on to do or try to do what he says he will do. Look at Obama. He is a strongly principled politician. He told the voters who he was, what he believed and what he would do in office. There have really been no surprises with President Obama. He has been successful in many endeavors. He has held true to his principles despite strong opposition from Americans, congress, military officials, and the most popular media officials. His principles are firm.
At this time conservatives and libertarians must be careful. The principles and values they hold dear are becoming mainstream. Many issues politicians are sounding like conservatives and libertarians. We must check to see that these candidates are consistent across the board, and not attach an ideology to them after hearing their stance on only a couple of issues. A candidate may have learned through personal experience what is best in certain situations, but this does not mean he has learned a true principle, or has the ability to apply the new knowledge appropriately in any other situation.
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