Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Belief Contract

Regarding the attempts of Romney, McCain, and Giuliani to hide some of their less than conservative moments, I say we just do away with the charade and have politicians tell us up front what they’re going to stand for each election.  Like a contract they sign beforehand, pledging to fight against Roe, balance budgets, support infinite wars, or whatever.  It could be as simple as a checklist, showing all the different issues of the day; so we could compare each politician and know what we’re getting each time.

But this isn’t some cynical ruse.  This really is how it should be.  I don’t care if a politician agrees with me.  In fact, I think they often use their “beliefs” to hide behind what they’re really planning to do; giving us empty platitudes of agreement rather than a real policy.  And that goes for Democrats as well as Republicans.  So by laying it all out for us, it gives us a better way of judging what we can expect from them each term.

So we could see a pro-choice politician promising to nominate pro-life judges (eg, Giuliani), and it would be all there in the contract for people to see.  And sure, the contract wouldn’t be enforceable, other than through the normal methods of removing politicians; though it would certainly make recall efforts a bit easier.  And this would be better than what we have now.  

Plus, it would take into account changing attitudes and allow us to pick the best politicians, regardless of where they stood on the issues in prior campaigns.  And it would do away with the fence-sitting politician who remains purposefully vague on important issues, as a way of avoiding damage to their future political career.  Instead, they could come right out on whatever issues they needed to win, and then feel free to change course when they needed to.  And while the “needed to win” thing sounds cynical, I like it.  I want politicians who are responsive to my needs and who want to please the voters.  That’s the essence of democracy.  We the People, and all that jazz.

And so this wouldn’t be about competing belief-systems duking it out under a cloud of meaningless rhetoric.   This would be about who could come up with the best contract, and give us a firm basis for deciding what we’re really voting for and how to judge their effectiveness.  And sure, I have absolutely no hope that this would ever happen, especially as it would completely destroy the Republican Party, which bases its entire platform on the wonderful personality of the people we’re choosing.  But it really is much more logical and effective for picking our leaders.  

But I guess that’s why we’ll never see it.  Not that I thought we would, but it sure does make for a nice snarky post ridiculing conservative flip-floppers.


whig said...

Yes, it could be like a Contract With America. It would be a beautiful thing!

Irony is so dangerous, though.

whig said...

What we need is character, and not the kind of platitudes that people speak but the actions which demonstrate it. We need people willing to commit to their principles, but the problem is deciding what principles are to be respected.

We need not just skepticism, but zeteticism, a desire to seek the truth and question one's own position.