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What Sort Of People Make Good Politicians? Options
Dreamy
Posted: Thursday, February 25, 2010 3:44:48 AM

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One of our highly respected Labour Prime Ministers 1972-74, Norman Kirk 1923-74, rose from "log cabin" to Government House, working as a train driver at one time, and having no formal education.

What exactly is it that makes a person a good politician?

Job 33:15 "In a dream, in a vision of the night, When deep sleep falls upon men, In slumberings upon the bed;" Theology 101 "If He doesn't know everything then He isn't God."
nooblet
Posted: Thursday, February 25, 2010 3:56:08 AM

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Clearly, someone who is great at lying and understands social cues and how to manipulate them to their advantage.
uuaschbaer
Posted: Thursday, February 25, 2010 4:01:25 AM

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Good point, perhaps 'good politician' should be defined. Though, surely, being well-informed will always help.

*
Tovarish
Posted: Thursday, February 25, 2010 4:30:05 AM

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'A show pony' generally, although I am sure there are exceptions
SnehaJain
Posted: Thursday, February 25, 2010 6:51:47 AM

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"Good Politician" seems oxymoronic.. yeah? Think
Sadly, politicians are looked down upon nowadays and rightly so. A good politician has to be morally upright if not anything more. Education, family/monetary background etc., don't mean much. and ya, the politics today is so much full of drama straight out of the daily soaps. Being a Political Science student I have realised that though its no rocket science, it takes a lot to be a good politician and remain one. Besides its the purpose that matters ..to each his own!!

Some days you are the statue ..some days, the pigeon.
DarkMoon
Posted: Thursday, February 25, 2010 6:57:35 AM

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I'm far away from politics and politicians. I just don't like them, due to their insidiousness, an innate 'political' instinct of lying and manipulating people. Sooner or later a man who enters the world of politics, becomes more focused on looking after his own interests than serving his country and nation. Furthermore, for me, politics is a field, which seems friendly for never-ending links and interests of the particular business' environments. Obviously, I don't have a favorable perception of this profession and a part of social life. ;-)

On the other side, once Aristotle announced that "man is by nature a political animal". I would joke about a politician that he/she is a member of the different human species called "Homo politicus". I'm afraid we can't avoid their presence in modern societies. ;-)
Kat
Posted: Thursday, February 25, 2010 8:17:12 AM
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nooblet wrote:
Clearly, someone who is great at lying and understands social cues and how to manipulate them to their advantage.






THAT SHOULD BE THE OFFICIAL DEFINITION IN THE DICTIONARY

Applause Applause Applause
Avatari
Posted: Thursday, February 25, 2010 9:07:02 AM
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Good politician = oxymoron
Isaac Samuel
Posted: Thursday, February 25, 2010 10:26:21 AM

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nooblet:

Isn't it what we call con-artist?

Sneha and Avatari:

Good example to define oxymoron.
pranshul gupta
Posted: Thursday, February 25, 2010 11:37:35 AM
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Good PoliticiansThink Think - Who Can Make Strangers As Their Bed FellowsWhistle
Epiphileon
Posted: Thursday, February 25, 2010 11:53:47 AM

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First qualification should be that they don't want the job and of course, if given it they have the moral fiber to do the best job they can.

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
nooblet
Posted: Thursday, February 25, 2010 1:31:51 PM

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Epiphileon wrote:
First qualification should be that they don't want the job and of course, if given it they have the moral fiber to do the best job they can.


Now that would make a great politician! Too bad all of the politicians we have go into it because they want to, which by definition means they want power.
Galad
Posted: Thursday, February 25, 2010 2:02:31 PM

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.
Perhaps a better question would be how should we pick our politicians? Right now it's purely a popularity contest, where they mold a story to attract the most votes. Perhaps we should elect our politicians like we choose juries (picked from a pool at random)and you serve for X amount of years.

The Law often allows what Honor Forbids- Bernard-Joseph Saurin
nooblet
Posted: Thursday, February 25, 2010 2:10:15 PM

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That would be an interesting system, but I think there are too many flaws in that selection method. We need capable people leading the country, and we need to filter out the power hungry ones, not just randomly selecting people who may be both power hungry and incapable.
Raparee
Posted: Thursday, February 25, 2010 2:53:15 PM

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Galad wrote:
.
Perhaps a better question would be how should we pick our politicians? Right now it's purely a popularity contest, where they mold a story to attract the most votes. Perhaps we should elect our politicians like we choose juries (picked from a pool at random)and you serve for X amount of years.

That is an absolutely terrifying idea. Do you really want Joe Blow from down the block running the country for x years? Most people, if put in a position of power and authority, will abuse it. Some will try to do the right thing and still fall to corruption.

That said, I do agree it's a popularity contest and the person who doesn't want to do it but is elected regardless, based on MERIT, is the one who is ideal.


A closed mind is like a closed book - nothing can be gained if either remains closed.
nooblet
Posted: Thursday, February 25, 2010 2:55:31 PM

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The question is: how does one measure merit?
Raparee
Posted: Thursday, February 25, 2010 3:07:24 PM

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nooblet wrote:
The question is: how does one measure merit?

I think, in general, it is the one who leads because they have followers, not one who has followers because they lead. It's semantics, yes, but it sort of works. Some people naturally find themselves being invisibly voted in charge of groups - these are natural leaders. They don't have to vie or jockey for position, they are simply given the role because the others in the group believe that person has the best chance of helping everyone accomplish the goal, whatever it may be. However, even natural leaders can be swayed by power, so really, there is no good way.

I don't like the party politics and hate that independents are run out on a rail in half the states (don't quote me on that amount). The government system is broken right now. There are too many in power who have totally lost track of where the mass amounts of people are and that needs to change. The government currently serves itself and not its people, which is how many goverments tend to go, but unless you can balance that, you will fail.


A closed mind is like a closed book - nothing can be gained if either remains closed.
nooblet
Posted: Thursday, February 25, 2010 3:14:26 PM

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Yes, whatever happened to listening to George Washington's public address?

To summarize it, I am citing wikipedia (not the best source, but all I have access to at the moment), emphasis mine:

Washington's public political address warned against foreign influence in domestic affairs and American meddling in European affairs. He warned against bitter partisanship in domestic politics and called for men to move beyond partisanship and serve the common good. He called for an America wholly free of foreign attachments, saying the United States must concentrate primarily on American interests. He counseled friendship and commerce with all nations, but warned against involvement in European wars and entering into long-term "entangling" alliances. The address quickly set American values regarding religion and foreign affairs.
Raparee
Posted: Thursday, February 25, 2010 3:27:39 PM

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nooblet wrote:
He called for an America wholly free of foreign attachments, saying the United States must concentrate primarily on American interests. He counseled friendship and commerce with all nations, but warned against involvement in European wars and entering into long-term "entangling" alliances. The address quickly set American values regarding religion and foreign affairs.

Wow. Now if we could only hook up power cables, we'd have unlimited power generation from Washington turning in his grave at warp speed over our entanglements outside America.

Funny how the guys who put us together had it right in so many ways and yet we find ourselves straying further and further. When did we lose the ability to make a difference that really mattered?


A closed mind is like a closed book - nothing can be gained if either remains closed.
nooblet
Posted: Thursday, February 25, 2010 3:36:12 PM

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Yes, many of our huge mistakes are because we directly violated what Washington had urged us to follow. I still can't believe we have a bipartisan political system, though. I believe people feel like they must take sides generally instead of simply looking at each individual issue separately, and that is why we have been making so many poor decisions recently, because the members of each party tend to stick together.
kaleem
Posted: Thursday, February 25, 2010 10:16:01 PM
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Any person with the ability of sitting on the fence and keeping both ears to the ground.
Raparee
Posted: Friday, February 26, 2010 2:28:55 PM

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nooblet wrote:
Yes, many of our huge mistakes are because we directly violated what Washington had urged us to follow. I still can't believe we have a bipartisan political system, though. I believe people feel like they must take sides generally instead of simply looking at each individual issue separately, and that is why we have been making so many poor decisions recently, because the members of each party tend to stick together.

I agree that most people feel inclined to be one or the other instead of voting on issues, but that brings me to an interesting question: what happens if we JUST voted on issues? To hell with the person dealing with the issue in office, we'd vote on the issue and how we wanted it done and the person in office would be the one in charge of making it happen. Admittedly, that idea can be terrifying with the concept of mob mentality, but would it be an improvement or no?

Right now, we vote the people based on designation and their "platforms," which are loose promises of what they want to accomplish but which are really things they think we want to hear, then they get into office and mostly do nothing of the sort. (Can you tell I have a huge bias against politics and politicians? If not, I really must work on that.) Unfortunately, there would have to be some serious education involving some issues and you would still have to present both sides for people to decide.

Feh. I hate politics. It's all a bunch of grandstanding and lying. There are a rare few who really do try to do good, but by the time they're reached a level that they CAN accomplish anything, they've been hampered and tied up in this, that, or the other, so their hands are now tied and they fall to the mass political machine. :(


A closed mind is like a closed book - nothing can be gained if either remains closed.
nooblet
Posted: Friday, February 26, 2010 2:36:41 PM

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In an ideal world, everyone would have an interest in politics, everyone would be well-educated in the matters, and people would discuss the issues academically and civilly.

Instead politics has degraded into getting the dirt on your competition and making them look bad so you can get into office and make changes in the government that are likely to benefit you or your friends.
man in black
Posted: Friday, February 26, 2010 2:56:37 PM

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Charisma, cunning, duplicty, and doublespeak vocabulary. Those are the politicians we have nowadays. Virtue should be the essence of politicians, but virtuos people seldom reach the echelons of government.

look into my eyeballs, there thy beauty lies, then why not lips on lips since eyes on eyes? William Shakespeare
kisholoy mukherjee
Posted: Sunday, February 28, 2010 12:42:47 PM

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Only mean, selfish and cruel people would make good (successful) politicians in today's world...

Gotcha, bud, again
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Sunday, February 28, 2010 12:48:53 PM

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kisholoy mukherjee wrote:
Only mean, selfish and cruel people would make good (successful) politicians in today's world...


I'd put the good and the successful politicians in different pools.


In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.
Ellenrita
Posted: Sunday, February 28, 2010 1:11:49 PM

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NELSON MANDELA (JOHANNESBURG)
Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity, it is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental right. I say to all leaders, do not look the other way. Do not hesitate. We ask our leaders to demonstrate commitment, not engage in hollow promises.
kisholoy mukherjee
Posted: Monday, March 01, 2010 7:01:06 AM

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Ellenrita wrote:
NELSON MANDELA (JOHANNESBURG)
Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity, it is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental right. I say to all leaders, do not look the other way. Do not hesitate. We ask our leaders to demonstrate commitment, not engage in hollow promises.


AwesomeApplause

Gotcha, bud, again
kisholoy mukherjee
Posted: Monday, March 01, 2010 7:02:36 AM

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Jyrkkä Jätkä wrote:
kisholoy mukherjee wrote:
Only mean, selfish and cruel people would make good (successful) politicians in today's world...


I'd put the good and the successful politicians in different pools.


Even I would want that JJ, but I don't feel too optimistic about finding any such candidate...

Gotcha, bud, again
bird's eye view
Posted: Wednesday, March 03, 2010 9:04:16 AM
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As evidenced by some of the posts on this thread, it is very tempting to be facetious about what motivates people to be politicians and what kind of people they are. I suspect that most politicians are initially motivated by very noble concerns, causes and issues of justice and they have the drive to get themselves going. Unfortunately power and greed have a way of playing havock with noble intentions. I live in a country that has been though hell(the apartheid era)and back (the democratic era). Sadly for us there don't seem to be any more Nelson Mandela's in the wings. His successor was wishy washy and out of touch and his successor, to put it mildly, is not fit for the Presidency. In the South African context, I blame the party, ie the ANC (African National Congress) who have lost the plot badly and now seem to be more concerned with their perks and power than transforming our beautiful country into a non-racial democracy. My jaundiced view is that we are not unique in the above scenario. Human beings, when given power, somehow change their priorities and head off in their own self seeking, power hungry direction.

"Although the moon is one sixth the size of the earth, it is much further away." Unknown author.
pedro
Posted: Wednesday, March 03, 2010 9:17:59 AM

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Dreamy wrote:
One of our highly respected Labour Prime Ministers 1972-74, Norman Kirk 1923-74, rose from "log cabin" to Government House, working as a train driver at one time, and having no formal education.

What exactly is it that makes a person a good politician?



A thought occurs from the tale of Sodom and Gomorrah. Could you name just 10 ? After the expenses scandal , smear campaigns, cash for honours not to mention the odd rent boy scandal, we would be hard pressed here in the UK




All good ideas arrive by chance- Max Ernst
Cass
Posted: Wednesday, March 03, 2010 11:23:51 AM

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It isn't just the politicians, is it, it's the people who vote for them. You can have a scoundrel in office but if he is also pro-life (for instance) he/she will get re-elected over a worthy opponent who is pro-choice (again this is just an example). I have heard people actually say they support a hot issue candidate over an opponent who is against a hot issue in spite of good policies supported by the opponent. This is how bad politicians get re-elected, they know who their constituents are. Yes, we need term limits and we need them now.


To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle. - George Orwell
bandllee
Posted: Sunday, March 07, 2010 3:08:27 PM
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Cass wrote:
It isn't just the politicians, is it, it's the people who vote for them. You can have a scoundrel in office but if he is also pro-life (for instance) he/she will get re-elected over a worthy opponent who is pro-choice (again this is just an example). I have heard people actually say they support a hot issue candidate over an opponent who is against a hot issue in spite of good policies supported by the opponent. This is how bad politicians get re-elected, they know who their constituents are. Yes, we need term limits and we need them now.


Or to be fair, Cass. "You can have a scoundrel in office but if he is also pro-choice (for instance) he/she will get re-elected over a worthy opponent who is pro-life (again this is just an example)."

I am also strongly in favor of term limits. IMHO, the longer a politician is in office, the more susceptible he/she is to feeling entitled and singularly more powerful than the combined voices of his/her constituents who first placed him/her in office. Also, many voters tend to cast their vote for someone whose name they recognize rather than the candidate's platform and principles (a reason why so many "bad" politicians stay in office.)
TL Hobs
Posted: Tuesday, March 09, 2010 3:40:22 PM

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I think that professional politicians are the problem. In practice, politics is a system of rewards and punishments; reward your friends and punish your enemies. This supports cronyism if the politician is in office for too long. I'll contribute and support your cause, if you support mine. It's the system that is corrupt.

My sister announced to the family that she wanted to run for office as a representative in the state legislature. She took an early retirement in order to devote full time to it. She won the election. She is financially secure and doesn't need addtional wealth. She told me she is doing it because she sees a need and feels she has the education, experience and desire to meet it. She has a 3-term limit and does not plan to pursue any other office. Her goals are to improve education, health care and transportation in her state.

Does that make her a bad person? I'm not impressed with politics, and wonder what she will say after her term is over. But, I admire her for trying.

"When you don't know where you are going, you have to stick together just in case someone gets there." - Ken Kesey
DarkMoon
Posted: Thursday, March 11, 2010 5:30:07 PM

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I would say, politics might be perceived as a field of never-ending links and 'compromises', which are extremely far-fetched. Politicians explain those agreements as the necessity made for the public good. However, I would argue if professional politicians are the only problem. Of course, like it was said, being in the office too long indicates such a possibility, for it creates favourable conditions for cronyism, nepotism, bribery and dubious links to arise. Finally, long-lasting sitting in parliament does not make people professional politicians, I believe. In my opinion, it only confirms politicians in their convictions, that they have more power in their hands.

On the other side, I can give so many samples from my country, where politicians are elected to parliament once every four years. When the previous age of socialism vanished, and finally we could bask in the dawn of democracy emerging beyond the horizon, from that moment I can point out solely few politicians, which have a class and political instinct. Polish politics is young in comparison with old European democracies, being merely a 21 years old creature. Though, I would claim, it evolved pretty fast in a wrong direction. Sometimes, I'm just afraid to turn the radio or TV on.

Of course, I admire people who are durable enough to enter the world of politics, and have a strong believe that they can do something good for society. However, most of them, after a relatively short time loses their 'innocence' and joins the company of still the same people I've been looking at for over two decades. There is nothing left like only to believe in all those humans, who really follow a call of duty and have a sense of mission to fulfil. Their yet honorable and trustworthy behavior gives us a ray of hope that maybe one day will be better. Though, I think that they are fed up with politics for ever.
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