Psychoanalyzing conservative elected officials

Yesterday I wrote about the continuing frustration of conservative activists with those elected conservatives that fail to genuinely lead. There are so many issues still waiting to be addressed at both the state and national level. So why aren’t these issues being addressed by our leaders?

A little arm chair psychology can be useful—especially in politics—where human nature is constantly on display for all to analyze.

The founders even made an observation about human psychology in the Declaration of Independence:

“Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”

That passage, in a nutshell, sums up American voters. Too many of our countrymen now seem to have a built-in disposition to suffer. The complaints of the founding generation about taxation without representation are dwarfed by the taxes due with representation.

The tea parties taking place across the country tomorrow may well be a sign that a little abolishing might soon take place.

Of course there are many more issues on the table today than just taxation – and our state and national Republican Party Platforms do a decent job of summing those other issues. Comparing the principles outlined in those documents—with what passes for the agenda of our Republican delegations in Springfield and Washington is where it gets complicated.

Why is there is such a divergence from the ideal and the actual? I theorized with these categories:

There seems to be at least six kinds of Republican elected officials occupying seats in state legislatures and in the U.S. Congress.

  • Those who are doing what they can but aren’t able to win the necessary support of their colleagues.
  • Those who would like to do something to advance real Republican principles but don’t know what to do.
  • Those who mistakenly think they’re doing what they need to.
  • Those who aren’t up to the task.
  • Those who don’t agree with and thus want to change the principles of the Republican Party.
  • Those who are lazy and biding time until retirement.
  • Those who are corrupted by perks, privileges, or profits.
  • Those who think the battle is lost and it’s all hopeless.

What follows might actually help explain a lot about the mental state of some of those who we elect.

Earlier this year Jay Nordlinger, Senior Editor at National Review wrote about the media distortion of the characters of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin:

“It seems to me that the Left has won: utterly and decisively. What I mean is, the Saturday Night Live, Jon Stewart, Bill Maher mentality has prevailed. They decide what a person’s image is, and those images stick. They are the ones who say that Cheney’s a monster, W.’s stupid, and Palin’s a bimbo. And the country, apparently, follows.”

Writer Andrew Klavan answered this in a piece titled “Why We Fight“:

“What the right is experiencing at the moment is a phenomenon called ‘cultural para-stimuli.’ You can read all about it in Tom Wolfe’s wonderful novel ‘I Am Charlotte Simmons.’ It’s sort of like peer pressure on steroids. It was discovered by [the fictional] Nobel Laureate Victor Ransome Starling, who found that when he surrounded normal cats with cats whose behavior had been bizarrely altered by brain surgery, the normal cats began acting like the crazy cats all around them.”

Click here to continue reading Klavan’s article.

Peer pressure on steroids. Bad company corrupting good character as the Bible noted. Because of the nature of the political arena, conservatives are stuck where we are until this reality is addressed head-on.

©2009 John Francis Biver

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