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iamthemob's avatar

Who are the good politicians?

Asked by iamthemob (17123 points ) February 3rd, 2011

There is a lot of frustration surrounding politics. But more often we’re pointing out what we think is wrong, who we think is crooked, why politics is just inherently corrupt.

What politicians do you think have actually done a good job, and why? What has been done, on a state or federal level, that you think is a result of “good politics”? When have you seen a good politician fail, and why do you think they did?

As much as possible, please do not criticize or question the politicians that others say are good. If you believe there is a counter-example that supports an opposite viewpoint or another, put forward that as a good example.

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45 Answers

YoBob's avatar

I somewhat suspect that the words “politician” and “good” are mutually exclusive.

I think there are plenty of politicians who get into the game because they want to do good in the world. However, politics is a dirty business and they soon find that in order to get anything done they have to play “let’s make a deal”, and by the time they get to a position where they have enough clout to really make things happen they find that they are bound and gagged by all of the deals they have had to cut along the way.

wilma's avatar

I think @YoBob has it correct.
They might start out with all good intentions, but then reality hits and they are caught up in all the nastiness. I think that there can be very good people at the local level. They don’t have as much to gain from the “deals” and are more apt to be kept in line by being neighbors with their constituents.

submariner's avatar

Bart Stupak (D—MI) stuck to his principles even though it ended his career.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Congressman Ron Paul. I don’t say this about many people, but I trust what he says.

SmashTheState's avatar

The dead ones.

WasCy's avatar

H.L. Mencken (I think) once said that “a good Senator is one who, when bought, stays bought.” I don’t buy that, but I like it.

iamthemob's avatar

Thank you to @submariner and @CaptainHarley for answering the question.

To you two – can you flesh it out a bit – why do you trust them, and why was it right for them to stand by their principles? More details would be greatly appreciated.

bkcunningham's avatar

Just to name a few off the top of my head. Recently defeated US Rep. Rick Boucher, D, from the 9th Congressional District of Virginia. A good friend of mine who is one of those people who you can have a strong, intelligent disagreement with and still respect. He served 28 years, too long in my opinion, but he spent tax money to build up regional infrastructure. Rick is honest, hard working and believes he is doing what is right. I respect that.
Mark Warner, also from Virginia. I have a hell of a lot of respect for Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell for having a full appreciation of state’s rights. Another Gov. I really like is Rick Perry in Texas. I’m hoping Marco Rubio is as good as he appears. The jury is still out on new Florida Governor Rick Scott. I like Michelle Bachmann and don’t understand why she gets a bad rap. I don’t always agree with Mitch Mcconnell, and like Boucher, too long in office, but I like him.

iamthemob's avatar

@bkcunningham – Interesting – so do you think that part of what makes a good politician is leaving office after a certain amount of time?

I tend to agree – I feel like many in office tend to stay too long at the party.

bkcunningham's avatar

I’m sort of torn on that for some obvious reasons. But, in the long run, I say yes to term limits.

bkcunningham's avatar

I was watching C-Span yesterday. As the Congressional Hearing on the Constitutionality of ObamaCare was getting ready to begin, I watched a few of the politicians fake talking and gesturing long enough for a group of press photographers to get their shot. I felt myself becoming angry and to be honest more than a little disgusted for some reason.

JLeslie's avatar

@submariner I agree, I give that guy a lot of credit. I don’t live in MI anymore, so I don’t know much about his entire career, but he really impressed me. That crap during the Obamacare debate and abortion was horrible.

iamthemob's avatar

@JLeslie – What did you find impressive?

zenvelo's avatar

George Miller has done a tremendous amount for the environment despite having multiple oil refineries in his district. So have Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein.

I always admired Pete McCloskey. He stood up to Richard Nixon in ‘72.

TexasDude's avatar

Jimmy Duncan is the rep from my district. In my mind, he is what Republicans should be. I don’t agree with him on everything, obviously, but having spoken with him in person a number of times, I’d say he is one of very, very few politicians I have any respect for.

submariner's avatar

Stupak is a pro-life Democrat, which by itself is enough to show that he doesn’t take the easy path. He led a small group of like-minded Dems to withhold support of Obama’s healthcare plan until their concerns about abortion funding were addressed. He was strongly in favor of healthcare reform, but would not back it if it funded abortions at public expense. Finally, Obama offered a compromise: Obama issued an executive order that prohibited the use of federal funds for abortions, and the Stupak’s group voted for the healthcare bill, allowing it to pass.

Stupak’s strong pro-life stance alienated liberals, and his voting for the bill alienated cultural conservatives, including many who had voted for him in the past. The leadership of the major national pro-life organizations are GOP shills who were counting on Stupak to kill Obamacare and cripple the Obama presidency. They called him a sellout when he voted for the bill, even though Stupak had forced Obama to make a major pro-life concession.

In the face of a primary challenge from a pro-choice Dem, vituperation from erstwhile pro-life supporters, general increased rancor in politics, and death threats, Stupak elected not to run for a 9th(?) congressional term.

But I first noticed Stupak years earlier, when he voted against authorizing G.W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq. Stupak is a “seamless garment” pro-lifer, as opposed to the kind of pro-lifer who is pro-life only when it fits in with the GOP’s broader neocon agenda.

iamthemob's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard, @submariner – Stop me if I’m wrong…but it seems like your support for these candidates is based on what can generally be described as a critique of a neo-con, big-government Republican ideology.

TexasDude's avatar

@iamthemob, yeah pretty much. The way I see it, neo-cons are just one of many threats to personal liberty.

josie's avatar

I am not aware of any at this moment

bkcunningham's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard where you are is very near my old stomping grounds.

iamthemob's avatar

@JLeslie, @bkcunningham, @zenvelo, @Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard – Thank you all, again, for answering the question.

TexasDude's avatar

@iamthemob, no problemo.

bkcunningham's avatar

@iamthemob great question. The responses have been interesting.

JLeslie's avatar

@iamthemob He seems to stick to his convictions, and by his pro-life stance while also being a Democrat is refreshing in that he is not controlled by his party. I am pro-abortion, so I don’t agree with his view on that issue, but it is not about agreeing to answer this question in my opinon, it is about do you feel a certain politiciam is good, and for me that means has integrity, and feeling he thinks for himself and votes his conscience. He strikes me as that kind of man. I think he represents many Michiganders in that most of my friends up there are Catholic, pro-life, or at minimum would never consider an abortion for themselves, but are very liberal on many other social issues. Most of my friends there are registered Republicans, just a few Democrats, but I could see how all of them would feel comfortable with Stupak. During the Obamacare he did what he felt necessary to ensure there would not be government funded abortions (which I personally wish they were funded) and the pro-lifer right wingers kept the lies and bullshit going. Stupak seems to care about the truth, not the spin.

bkcunningham's avatar

@cockswain I’M FIRED UP NOW!! BRING IT ON!! Man, the Browns should have hired him instead of Shurmer. I bet he would have been cheaper.

cockswain's avatar

My favorite line”(pauses)...and a Masters in COMMUNICATION!”

WasCy's avatar

I didn’t answer the question as it was intended, and I never will. The reason is that politicians are all, each and every one of them, “nice guys” (or gals). It’s their stock in trade. It’s what gets them elected. They all love Mom, apple pie, the flag, baseball, and “our boys (and gals) ‘over there’”. They’re all just swell folks, and if they didn’t all come from humble origins, then they try mightily to pretend that they can get ‘back to their roots’ despite their untold wealth.

They have great intentions, wear clothes nicely, smile when the cameras are pointed their way, and they can deliberate and pontificate so seriously when that’s called for. They all work tirelessly “for us, the little people” from dawn until well after dusk, 400 days a year or more. At the very least. They all care so very, so awfully much. Even the damn-them Republicans I’ll bet.

But they never take their feet off of our goddamn throats, either. So piss on the lot of ‘em, I say. It’s the bloody system that’s to blame, and all of the silly voters who think that “my guy” (or gal) isn’t one of the “bad ones”.

YARNLADY's avatar

90% of the politicians at every single level of government do the job they are elected to do.

YARNLADY's avatar

@4m6in3 Great link – thank you GA

4m6in3's avatar

Thank you. I’m sure you will like this too. Politics Cannot Be Fixed

SmashTheState's avatar

This question is sure making the Kool-Aid drinkers pretty obvious anyway.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Even the best conductor, with the best of intentions, can’t take the train off of the tracks it was designed to run on.

iamthemob's avatar

@cockswain – Thanks for answering the question!

cockswain's avatar

Are you also familiar with Jimmy McMillan as well?

iamthemob's avatar

Oh my god – that guy needs to be president.

mattbrowne's avatar

The ones who forgive bad citizens (who are too lazy to become politicians themselves) for thinking that most politicians are bad.

Well, perhaps these bad citizens should live a year in Zimbabwe.

augustlan's avatar

Former senate minority leader, Allan Kittleman (R – MD). For this.

As a republican and a christian, you might expect him to be opposed to same-sex marriage. He had this to say by way of explaining why he’s voting for it, instead:

I see this issue as a civil rights issue. I was raised by a gentleman who joined with others in fighting racial discrimination in the 1950s and 1960s. Watching him fight for civil rights instilled in me the belief that everyone, regardless of race, sex, national origin or sexual orientation, is entitled to equal rights.

I know that some may contend that since the Bible teaches that marriage is between a man and a woman, Maryland should continue to prohibit same sex marriage. ... However, while my faith may teach that marriage is between a man and a woman, our government is not a theocracy. As the state senator from District 9, I represent everyone in my district, regardless of their faith. Therefore, while my spiritual life is extremely important to me, it cannot be the sole basis for my decisions as a state senator.
Emphasis mine.

iamthemob's avatar

@augustlan – That is the most lucid political response that I’ve ever seen to the issue. Thank you.

JLeslie's avatar

@iamthemob @augustlan That politcian gives me hope. Actually, all of my Catholic friends in MI feel this way. I would guess many of the politicians up there do also. Stupak, the politician mentioned above who is staunchly pro-life has voted in favor of gay rights and gay marriage. But, Kittleman is not a Catholic I would guess, since he uses Christian to identify himself, and they seem to be the hardest nuts to crack. Or, it feels that way since there are so many of them here in the US. I think maybe the Catholics have been hated enough that they understand the incredible grace given to the American people by its founders to respect individual rights and keep religion out of government.

iamthemob's avatar

This is actually my favorite part:

Kittleman attempted to put forward civil union legislation. He met resistance, and had this to say:

…despite the support by a strong majority of Maryland voters, I did not receive any support from my Republican and Democrat senate colleagues. In fact, the Republican senate caucus yesterday voted to take a “caucus position” against same-sex marriage. My Republican colleagues have also made it very clear to me that they would not be supportive of my civil union legislation. I also did not receive any support from Republicans or Democrats in the House of Delegates.

Consequently, with the civil union legislation no longer being a viable option, I was put in the position of deciding whether to support same-sex marriage or voting to continue the prohibition against same-sex marriage. As a strong proponent of personal and economic liberty/freedom, I simply could not, in good conscience, vote against SB 116.

This is such a subtle and terrific “eff you” to the opposition. It is drawing a line in the sand and it’s terrific. He’s telling those playing to (nominally) traditionalist views: Hey, I didn’t want to do gay marriage. I wanted to give them legal rights equal to straight married couples, but still feel like my beliefs about marriage, as well as those of people like me, were respected. But you made it clear that my legislation wouldn’t surface. So, since this marriage bill is all that there is to vote on to ensure equal civil rights, I cannot vote against it. You all gave me no choice – so you may have just fucked yourselves.”

JLeslie's avatar

@iamthemob Interesting. I guess maybe the Dems did not think civil union is good enough. I am actually surprised the Republicans did not go for civil union.

iamthemob's avatar

@JLeslie – it was a timing thing – the civil union bill wasn’t on the floor yet and the marriage one was heading there for a vote, so it was going to get there regardless. Knowing this, and that the Senator wanted to put out a civil union bill, the Republicans stated that they were doing an across the board rejection. The civil union bill wasn’t getting Democrat support either.

So, he could have (1) pushed a bill he knew would fail, or (2) vote on the marriage bill, which was ready to go.

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