View Poll Results: Should a politicians personal life be taken into account?

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  • Yes, a politician's personal life reveals important things about their ability to lead

    13 33.33%
  • Yes, but it should only be weighed as one of many factors

    18 46.15%
  • It depends entirely on the individual transgression

    15 38.46%
  • No, those things might say something about the man, but not necessarily how effective he is.

    7 17.95%
  • No, what matters are results

    4 10.26%
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Thread: Should Personal Lives Matter?

  1. #41
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    Re: Should Personal Lives Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Mark View Post
    I said "can indicate", not "indicates".

    It's a bit of data that is added to the pile.
    So, you mean that because it could potentially affect their in-post performance (although you offer no evidence for believing it so) it would be better to pass over a candidate with a less-than-squeaky-clean private life, even if they're otherwise the best person for the post? That brings to mind the old saw that you get the politicians you deserve. No wonder parliaments all over the western world are nowadays populated by the mediocre, the bland and the carefully mendacious.
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    Re: Should Personal Lives Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andalublue View Post
    So, you mean that because it could potentially affect their in-post performance (although you offer no evidence for believing it so) it would be better to pass over a candidate with a less-than-squeaky-clean private life, even if they're otherwise the best person for the post? That brings to mind the old saw that you get the politicians you deserve. No wonder parliaments all over the western world are nowadays populated by the mediocre, the bland and the carefully mendacious.
    Actually, that might in part be why politicians are so politicianish.

    But no, I was saying that, on a personal level, a candidates personal life was info I would include in my decision. Not that what was in that personal life would be the determining factor in my decision.
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  3. #43
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    Re: Should Personal Lives Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by phildozer9121 View Post
    I was listening to NPR today at work and an interview came on that I thought was very interesting.

    Here's what's going on:


    The gist of it is, this guy, Narendra Modi, is running for prime minister in India with the persuasive platform that because he is living the bachelor life, he will have more time and ability to devote himself to the job. It turns out he actually still has a wife, although he contends that the marriage was loveless and purely a business relationship, which based on the limited evidence presented, seems reasonably likely to be true. What really got me thinking was when the interviewer was speaking with a supporter of Modi, and asking her about how this recent revelation might affect his chances or anyone's opinion of him.

    I can't find the transcript of the interview, but basically she was saying, 'why would his personal life matter when we have so many other problems at hand?' The interviewer countered with something like, 'well, shouldn't it matter?'

    And that's the question, should it matter?

    It seems to me that when these politicians get busted in the US, your anthony weiners, your john edwardssss, your kissing congressmen etc. they aren't kicked out because they're bad politicians (partisan feelings aside) but simply because of a misstep in their personal lives. I'd also point out that there are probably plenty of politicians, good and bad, that probably did these things and got away with it. Look at Thomas Jefferson and all his slave babies.
    And, I think with the advent of social media these kinds of things will only become more prevalent when the younger people start getting into office and the things they put on facebook/twitter/DP fourms ten years ago will come back to haunt them.

    Bill Clinton was president during one of the most prosperous times in US history, and he was almost removed from office for getting a BJ. The current president of France, Francois Hollande is in the middle of some serious soap opera business right now as well, yet few french consider that something revealing about his effectiveness. Do Americans put too much stock into it, assuming that it is some non-criminal aspect of their personal lives?


    Well, a number of premises are at odds with the facts.

    Beginning with Modi and his marriage. One first has to allow for the fact that in India, family is everything. It is a land where arranged marriages are still an accepted and sometimes desired practice, and Indian leaders have traditionally been strong on family. If I am not mistaken they are the first democracy to have a woman head of state, so some of the "western" ideas have to be set aside.

    Modi was countering criticism about his unique marriage arrangement and put that spin on it.

    Yes, many politicians of the past did bad things, Kennedy especially, he used prostitutes.

    But let's start with Clinton and the spun doctored myth he was persecuted over a blow job. No, he was impeached by congress because he LIED under oath, a high crime of obstruction of justice.

    Now THAT matters. It's about trust. Do I want a president open to blackmail?

    You see, morality in public life is based on precedent, Kennedy got away with spying on Nixon, but Nixon got caught spying on the DNC, so they had to find a better way to spy. Clinton almost lost the gig, so the moral of that is don't get caught.....with an intern, hookers I guess are still cool.

    In France, it is completely acceptable for a man to have a mistress, wives lovers etc. so what's going on there has no relevance whatsoever.

    But, here's the point. these people have sworn at least two oaths, one a lifetime commitment of marriage, the other terms of service. When you break one vow, are you not likely to break the second? And if you lie to cover it up, to protect yourself, is that not the opposite of what that politician has sworn to uphold?

    You see, in the end, it becomes a matter of trust. Will this person do what he says? Or will he stoop to self pleasuring activities that might expose him to secondary crime, blackmail, extortion....? If he lies to cover it up, what else is he lying about? What is he really telling our allies?

    Then there is this. Politicians write and pass laws, expecting people to obey them, they fund massive budgets for enforcement, but seek to escape it themselves when their careers are at stake.

    In any office I've ever worked in, if the head guy had gotten a blow job from an intern he would be out of a job. Because they have to raise money and campaign to get the job why should they be any different?
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    Re: Should Personal Lives Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by nota bene View Post
    In JFK's time, the press kept a "respectful distance." Ordinary people had no idea about his philanderings, and I really doubt that most ordinary people knew about Washington or Jefferson's sexual activities either.
    That is assuming that there WERE improper sexual activities going on. None of us were there and we depend on salacious curiosity and speculation and purely made up because nobody can disprove it stuff to inform us. But one thing is for sure: in Washington and Jefferson's day, a man's reputation was golden and something considered so precious they would go to almost any lengths not to soil it in any way. Now too many of the rich and famous don't seem to give a damn about their reputations--being irresponsible or 'bad boys' or 'bad girls' seems to be just one more way to get rich and famous.
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  5. #45
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    Re: Should Personal Lives Matter?

    Personal life matters, as it can be an indicator of overall integrity, but... like most other things political... we the voting public tend to allow ourselves to get bogged down in absurd and irrelevant minutiae.
    If you claim sexual harassment to be wrong, yet you defend anyone on your side for any reason,
    then you are a hypocrite and everything you say on the matter is just babble.

  6. #46
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    Re: Should Personal Lives Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Redress View Post
    I do not give a **** who a politician sleeps with, how many times they have been divorced, or any worthless crap like that. I want to know what a politician stands for, and how they are going to accomplish their goals, and what those goals are. However, certain things do matter. Drug use can affect judgement and performance. Corruption is a deal breaker for me, no matter what the corrupt politician stands for. But most of what people make a big deal about, I just do not care. Some married guy is caught on camera kissing some one not his wife? Don't care. Going out with a rentboy? Don't care.
    I agree with you on divorce but not adultery. As for who he sleeps with, if he is married, I do. If a person is willing to betray the trust of a person they love just to get off then why believe they won't betray the trust of people they don't know? If I am going to vote for a person, I should trust that person. A person with integrity is important part of that.
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  8. #48
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    Re: Should Personal Lives Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andalublue View Post
    Or be less trustworthy towards the needs and interests of his constituents? That's what I want to ask.
    I'd say the obvious answer to that is yes. It seems very reasonable to me to suspect that one who has shown a proclivity for betraying trust in the past is more likely to do it again than one who hasn't.

    In fact, I'd say it's naive not to believe that - to trust someone who's demonstrated a lack of trustworthiness in the past.

  9. #49
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    Re: Should Personal Lives Matter?

    I don't think anyone should be telling others how to judge their representatives. People should judge their representatives on whatever grounds they see fit. If that includes personal lives, fine.

  10. #50
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    Re: Should Personal Lives Matter?

    I think it matters with some vices being more severe than others.

    Leading the nation and having positions of power has great impact upon citizens, I'd rather have those who have that power be in good moral character. Someone that is willing to cheat on their spouse, commit crimes, commit fraud or unethically/illegally acquire money would be a tip to me that this person shouldn't have a position of power and likely is or is more likely to be corrupt and dealing with ulterior motives among other things.
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