123. "It is possible to identify a person's politics within a very short time of meeting him or her. Everything about people-their clothes, their friends, the way they talk, what they eat-reflects their political beliefs."
A person’s words and behavior could directly reflect his or her political beliefs.
1. What one wears and eats indicates the way of life he or she advocates.
2. We can also identify a person’s ideals, qualities and values from the type of friends he or she associates with. “Birds of a feather flock together.”
3. Of course, it is also necessary to watch a person’s deeds if we want to know for sure what he or she truly believes in.
167. "It is impossible for an effective political leader to tell the truth all the time. Complete honesty is not a useful virtue for a politician."
In order to evaluate this contention it is necessary to examine the nature of politics, and to distinguish between short-term and long-term effectiveness.
1. On the one hand are three compelling arguments that political leader must sometimes be less than truthful in order to be effective in that leadership. The first argument lies in the fact that politics is a game played among politicians—and that to succeed in the game one must use the tools that are part and parcel of it.
2. Secondly, it is crucial to distinguish between misrepresentations of fact—in other words, lies—and mere political rhetoric.
3. Thirdly, politics is a business born not only of idealism but also of pragmatism; after all, in order to be effective a politician must gain and hold onto political power, which means winning election.
4. On the other hand, although in the short term being less-than-truthful with the public might serve a political leader’s interest in preserving power, would-be political leaders who lack requisite integrity ultimately forfeit their leadership.
169. "Those who treat politics and morality as though they were separate realms fail to understand either the one or the other."
1. It is wrong-headed to equate moral behavior in politics with the simple notions of honesty and putting the other fellow’s needs ahead of one’s own—or other ways which we typically measure the morality of an individual’s private behavior.
2. In order to gain the opportunity for moral leadership politicians must engage in certain compromises along the way.
3. Successful political leadership, if it is to endure, ultimately requires a certain measure of public morality—that is serving the society with its best interests as the leader’s overriding concern.
195. "The goal of politics should not be the pursuit of an ideal, but rather the search for common ground and reasonable consensus."
1. Reasonable consensus and a political idea need not be mutually exclusive.
2. The speaker’s position flies in the face of human nature and the nature of politics.
3. A third problem with the speaker’s position is that it begs the question: What are the proper ideals for politicians? They have little to do with consensus, and everything to do with justice and fairness.
4. Finally, lacking idealism a political leader will tend to seek compromise and reasonable consensus for its own sake.
202. "Unlike great thinkers and great artists, the most effective political leaders must often yield to public opinion and abandon principle for the sake of compromise."
For political leaders, practicality should take precedence over principles.
1. Great thinkers and great artists do not have to appeal to the opinions of the public.
2. However, for political leaders, winning the favor of the public is key to effective leadership.
3. In addition, political policies are often made based on the compromise of different interest groups and the dictates of the situation.
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