Tuesday, November 17, 2009

When Personalities Overcome Issues

At some point in their climb up the ladder, many would-be leaders and leaders learn how to say what appears to be something without saying anything. Their weasel word vocabulary expands and their natural tendency is to avoid candor. Candor is glue and they want wax because for these individuals, principles are flexible in the extreme. As an old folk song went, "And this be a law that I'll maintain until my dying day sir, that whatsoever king may reign, I will be the Vicar of Bray, sir."

Note the number of issues in which certain political figures couch their language so they can go in either direction - and I mean exactly opposite ones - and then observe how many of their supporters will continue to support them no matter which direction they choose. This is a dangerous development. Personality trumps substance. A form of tribalism defeats analysis. We move away from the egalitarianism of merit and toward an aristocracy of style.

Clearly we've had this before, but I don't recall it being to this degree. Very troubling.


John said...

Excellent observations.
We already know the president is an Olympic-class "personality over issues" type.
So is Palin, in your view, a new Reagan?
And to what extent, if any, does credibility come into play?

Michael Wade said...


I don't think Palin is anywhere close to being a new Reagan. As for the president, your description is apt. Credibility is hard to find when double standards are routinely applied.