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ETpro's avatar

What are the worst character faults for politicians to have?

Asked by ETpro (34543points) February 4th, 2011

Personally, I can’t stand these 2:
1—The flip-floppers, who change their minds when new evidence comes along.
2—The intransigent, who won’t change their minds when new evidence comes along.

What are your pet peeves?

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18 Answers

troubleinharlem's avatar

Greedy and inconsiderate ones.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Um, being a politician?

cockswain's avatar

Greed, deceptiveness, inadequate compassion

KhiaKarma's avatar

Focusing on campaign implications rather than actual issues and solutions. I hate hate hate that!

Austinlad's avatar

Hubris. John Edwards comes to mind,

Bellatrix's avatar

Those that are just obviously reacting to polls and focus group informaton rather than doing what should be done.

Those who are driven by their own agenda rather than the needs of their constituents or the real focus of their jobs.

Those who don’t have the balls to stand up for what is right because it might upset some of their constituents.

Those who are just not real. Who obviously are presenting an image and come across as phonies.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I’ll second @cockswain‘s inadequate compassion. Other than that, a politician who is overly vehement about his/her religious beliefs. I don’t mind a religious politician but someone who brings their faith to the job is not for me. Just to clarify, I would feel the same about an atheist who was militant about his/her lack of belief.

bkcunningham's avatar

Dishonest, unintelligent, immoral, unpatriotic, unreaonable and having no experience with managing money.

Tuesdays_Child's avatar

Just being a career politician is a serious character flaw…

thorninmud's avatar

Being cock-sure- Anyone in a position of power should be keenly aware of their fallibility and limitations, consult freely with expert counselors of widely diverging points of view, and should be their own most unsparing critic. Power plus unwavering certainty is a scary thing.

Over-fondness of power- We accord power to politicians because it’s necessary to accomplish the big tasks we ask of them. But when power stops being the necessary means and becomes the end in itself—when they acquire a taste for it—then things have gone too far. It’s a terrible temptation, for sure. It takes a person of extraordinary character to not fall in love with the power. I keep thinking of Golem and the Ring.

Part of the problem with our political process is that it favors those who’ll go to almost any lengths to get their hands on the power of the office. I’d rather see candidates who show some reluctance to wield power; are wary of its danger; only use it as necessary for the public good, but inwardly find it somewhat distasteful. But that guy would get eaten alive in our electoral process.

ETpro's avatar

@troubleinharlem Right. And we have a fair share of those.

@incendiary_dan & @Tuesdays_Child Ha! If you parse my answer in the details above carefully, I pretty much said the same thing..I just used a whole lot more words, like a politician might do.

@cockswain How true. It is impossible to honestly serve constituents when those character flaws get in the way.

@KhiaKarma There is way too much of that these days. I suppose it is no surprise. They want to get reelected. But it constantly leads to short-sighted, bad decisions.

@Austinlad How come so few people saw that in Edwards? It jumped out at me the first time I saw him on TV.

@Mz_Lizzy Absolutely. But there aren’t many like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

@KatawaGrey Amen. The vehement, Joe McCarthy types are downright dangerous. Ditto on those who seek to use a national platform to push their views on religion onto others, be it any particular sect, or belief in no belief.

@bkcunningham Who’d be left in Congress if we tossed out all that had any of those characteristics? :-)

@thorninmud Very good points. And Tolkien captured the seductive nature of power beautifully in his story, The Lord of the Rings. I particularly like your last paragraph. When the Federal Government acts even for the greater good, it almost always harms some. Legislators should always be mindful of the awesome responsibility vested in them by the people, and the harm even the most careful use of their power can bring.

TexasDude's avatar

Unwarranted self-importance
The quality/state of being a whiny bitch
Oh, and whatever the word to describe someone who is sure they know what’s best for other people would be.

ETpro's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard Self importance is always unwarranted. The definition of the irreplaceable person is that person who, when they dunk their face into a bucket of water then pull their face out, the water is incapable of replacing. Seen many facial impressions dented into the surface of water in your lifetime?

TexasDude's avatar

@ETpro, haha, I like that analogy. I’m going to have to use that at some point.

ETpro's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard I heard it and borrowed it, so you feel free to do so as well.

4m6in3's avatar


Flip-flopping is not a negative character trait. Failure to flip-flop in the face of contradictory evidence is irrational and dangerous behavior. Flip-flop is positive as it indicates new learning’s and breakthroughs.

ETpro's avatar

@4m6in3 I agree. Changing positions based on new evidence shouldn’t be labled flip-flopping. Switching “views” based on the latest public opinion polls, the demographics of the group being addressed, or just for political expediency is what I label as flip-flopping.

mattbrowne's avatar

Scolding voters to have voted for the wrong party.

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