Politicians must work to middle

Published 7:52 am Monday, November 29, 2010

This month’s election isn’t even over, considering the recounts, and they are already lining up for the next. At this point, I would like to lay before you for your personal consideration some observations or concepts that might help in making voting decisions.

I suggest we oversimplify to the point of nonsense when we see everything as black and white, red and blue, Democrat and Republican, liberal and conservative. Especially these latter categories are relative to specific situations and conditions rather than universal and absolute.

A genuine liberal doesn’t demand liberation of everything, and a genuine conservative doesn’t seek to conserve everything. Those who do are neither liberal nor conservative but equally radical.

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Being taken seriously is the passion of self-proclaimed liberals. One of their more difficult tasks is to convince those to be liberated that they want to be liberated.

The conservative needs to know what requires liberation so he can recognize what must yet be conserved. The liberal needs to know what deserves being conserved so he can recognize what needs to be liberated.

Liberals are adamant about the equality of all people and insist they know what’s good for people better than they do.

The constitutional requirement to defend our country against all enemies whomsoever sometimes requires defending it against the current government.

We need to resist not only the pleas of those who don’t want to change anything but the demands of those who want to change everything.

That a person has a right to his opinion does not mean his opinion is right.

While we cannot “legislate morality” in the sense of making people moral, we can and do in that almost all laws are intended to serve moral purposes.

Revolutions haven‘t been as successful as we like to remember. The governments they are credited with overthrowing were pushovers because they had operated counterproductive policies and were ultimately self-destructive.

So too with reformations. Reform is not so much the conception of reformers as it is the necessity for reform shown by the current form.

I think I recognize a relation — if not necessary, then at least possible and likely probable — between use of English language by politicians and confidence in the politician’s handling of public affairs. If a politician demonstrates skill with English grammar, it builds confidence in his competence to interpret and formulate laws. If a politician abuses English grammar and sounds like a day-laborer — whether out of his ignorance or conscious dumping-down affectation — there remains no reason to think he can understand the language of laws. Affectation is at least unnatural and often dishonest — whether affecting cultural refinement or popular culture. A politician may need to choose between being liked personally as an ignorant and incompetent dote or being respected as an informed and skillful public servant.

Politics being “the art of the possible” and the reasonable accommodations of conflicting and competing demands, effective politics uses political means to accomplishing accommodation without allowing the politics to be the end product.

A statesman differs from a politician not that he is free of politics, but that for him politics is a means and the state is the end. A thoroughgoing politician makes politics the game and forgets about statesmanship.

Politicians are also political leaders when they politic while sounding non-political, even foreswearing politics.

Political leadership succeeds by at the same time being in front of the pack and being part of it—by leading followers and following the lead of those to be led.

The person to elect to office is not so much the one who espouses good ideas but the one who takes effective action.

Our goal in elections is not merely to elect the “best qualified” candidate but the adequately qualified who will not disqualify himself in the fight to get elected.

These are my collected thoughts in an attempt to distribute them for your thinking.