From time to time this country has had idealistic leaders. Some known for their successes and others their failures.
One of the most recent idealistic leaders hase been the current President, George Bush Jr..(originally written in 2008)
He sticks to his guns. He goes it alone and believes strongly in what he does.
He has a set of principles he doesn't compromise.
He doesn't do well with other's ideas.
All attributes of an idealist and in this case good reasons why many of us consider him as a failed leader.
There was another strongly idealistic President with many of the same attributes. In him they also led to poor decision making when leadership demanded he place his people's needs ahead of his chosen faith.
Idealism is generally not a good trait for a country's leader even though they be Christian ideals like they were in Carter and Bush's examples.
Abraham Lincoln is considered an idealist by many yet his pragmatism becomes evident with only a little effort in researching what is beyond the simple lessons taught to us in school.
A wartime president cant afford the luxury of idealism if the price is losing the war he is entrusted by his people to win.
Used in the right way and more superficially, idealism can be effective.
Ronald Reagan seemed by most to have a strong set of ideals yet had the wisdom to realize that sometimes compromise was the practical choice.
His skill was in not making that obvious.
A good example I always use is Reagan's public stance on abortion yet in his eight years its actual legal status remained the same. Does anyone really believe he could not have helped the Hard Right advance it's anti-abortion agenda?
Nancy almost let the cat out of the bag a few times. They both circulated well in Hollywood Liberal social circles yet Reagan's public face was one of an arch-conservative.
For a good example of a President without that reputation of idealism, BILL Clinton is probably one of the best examples; Very Machievellan
His successes in the economy (does anyone doubt this?) or keeping the country out of any major war is indisputable.
Although even I don't like the results of his NAFTA accomplishment, it's a good example of something a Democratic idealist would not do.
In my opinion, and note that well,only my opinion, Barack Obama is a pragmatist with a strong public aura of idealism. (Note the results of my poll) People hear and sense that in his speaking style while seeing past what he actually accomplishes.
Given the times and circumstances perhaps just what is needed to correct problems of the past while inspiring people to take on the future is a pragmatist masquerading as an idealist.
I have now voted for Obama twice based upon more than 'hope' I did not expect him to wave a magic wand and accomplish everything that some voters expected him to in a few months or even his first full term I wanted the tax cutoff level that defined the middle class to be at 250K but am pragmatically satisfied with the 400K level he has accomplished.
Rochester N.Y. Mayoral candidate Lovely Warren will probably win the election in November due to the overwhelming balance of City Democratic voters.
I must admit to having little knowledge of her political style but hope whatever it is that she governs as a pragmatist rather than an idealist.
Idealism in her primary campaign was probably utilized as a positive issue and undoubtedly won favor for her among potential voters. There is a seldom mentioned negative aspect of idealism that can be a major hinderance to the actual management process.
It tends to blind the idealist and distort judgement regardless of what the actual facts of a situation might consist of.
Jimmy Carter lives his life as an idealist and governed accordingly. His idealism affected his ability to make some tough decision when they clashed with his sense of Christianity.
Contrast his style with Lyndon Johnson who governed pragmatically , making deals to get things done.
Lovely Warren will be struggling with the need to get changes made. Will she govern to get results or will she refuse to compromise,long cherished ideals that prior to this time in her life have been an inseparable part of her?
© 2008 albert vallone (albert 1) - 9/13/13