Is it possible to be a successful politician and still have a moral compass?

Is it possible to be a successful politician and still have a moral compass?
I doubt it. But if you think it's possible, maybe you could share some stories / examples?

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  • Hmmm, let's see. Churchill. Lincoln. Washington. Roosevelt. Reagan. DeGualle. No. No. I guess not.

    Forgive me, but the argument that politicians cannot have a moral compass is both intellectually lazy and, in its way, a form of prejudice. It is judging people by what they are rather than what they do.

    Moreover, it is self-serving. It makes the non-politician feel good about himself rather than taking responsibility for their own actions and beliefs. It is how the nation got the massive budget deficits and national debt that it has.

    The American public that rants against the politicians and demands that they be responsive to the will of the people has the following profile:

    1 in 6 who works, works for government. (Federal, state and local levels.)

    1 in 7 is a Social Security recipient.

    1/3 of all families, this year, will receive some form of government transfer payment.

    55% say that they are overtaxed in the latest Rasmussen poll. Yet, more than 50% of the public pay no Federal income tax at all.

    The American public rather enjoys living beyond their means. Thus we get government by moral hazard, with the public blaming others for its failures to choose between its wants and its needs and then to prioritize its needs. It then in the same breath the public demands that politicians be absolutely responsive to its every whim because, well, the public is the font of all wisdom and goodness, don't ya know.

    The truth is that the nation's politicians run the gamut. Some are seriously impressive, some seriously unimpressive. Most fall in the middle. Having worked with them - I am a former Congressional staffer - I will say that most are remarkably public spirited and work the kinds of hours that most Americans would not tolerate. In this, I do not share the populist - and popular - prejudice against politicians.

    People get involved in politics out of any number of multiple motives - some noble, some not so much. Some out of a genuine sense of public spiritedness. Some because it satiates their ego. Some - myself included - because the policy issues and philosophical issues are just simply endlessly intellectually fascinating.

    There are as many motives for people getting into politics as there are people. The only thing that I will say - and this I say based on personal experience - most people in politics, contrary to popular belief, are genuinely public spirited, honest and want to do the right thing. Like any humans, their weaknesses get in their way and they make mistakes.

    Overall, though, they are much more impressive than those who would - with no experience of public life - criticize them. Such criticisms are mostly intellectually lazy and absent any real understanding of the complexities and inevitable compromises of politics and public life.

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  • We have had politicians with a strong moral compass, and may have some now. But it's easy to see from recent years, politicians with a moral compass are less and less common. How else can you brag about grabbing women by the pussy without permission, and have affairs with porn stars, and numerous times in just a few minutes when talking to the American people

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What Girls & Guys Said

123
  • It's possible, but very hard to do. A politician could have a good moral compass, but would have a tough time getting any legislation through, because the politicians without a moral compass would not vote for such legislation unless some kind of a beneficial 'deal' is cut.

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  • Absolutely, the problem is that in a democracy politicians have to make themselves appealing to all sects or as many as they can of the population that they can keep winning the vote and therefore they often betray their own principles in order to stay on the top.

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  • It is. Depending on the country it may be hard, but people in general are sometimes more cynical then what's justifiable of politicians. There are loads who work very hard and honestly, as there are many rotten and incompetent ones.

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  • I'm not sure any of us are qualified to say for sure, but I think we all know what answer we are leaning towards...

    They really, really probably can't. Never think that they do, let's put it that way. We are talking about the successful ones here mind you.

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  • At state level and lower, it's possible. At the federal level you will never accomplish anything of value without compromising your values.

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  • Eh.. not really. Politics is dirty business. The people who make it to the top aren't the most qualified. They're just the ones who will do anything to get there.

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  • No man rules alone. Sit upon the throne to act, and the throne acts upon you. The most good-willed of politicians must still keep his keys to power happy, less he be replaced.

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  • Yes, but most politicians especially high rankings are mostly evil people that like power to do evil and screw people over.

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  • Ron Paul? That’s the only person I can think of. But I’m no expert in the government.

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  • Yes certainly. But a broken or warped moral compass.

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  • Possible? Yes. Not that anyone has ever managed it before.

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  • Today very few politician has morals, all they care about is control.

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  • sure you just have to do the opposite of what it says

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  • Very very hard

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  • Yes it is, Tulsi Gabbard is a great example.

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  • only rich ones that don't need money

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  • I very much doubt it.

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  • yeah it is, under populism

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  • Yes. Absolutely.

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  • No I don't think so

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  • It's possible but not common

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  • not in this administration, no

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  • Maybe Abraham Lincoln. Some monarchs with political power have also been quite benevolent (or still are), but obviously they don't have to worry that much about being removed, so it's easier to avoid plotting.

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  • Maybe if you are just a local politician in your town or state but when you go up to the big time you have to be part of some secret society take secret oaths and be part of something really dark to get where you wanna be

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