Monday, July 31, 2006

Walk By...Ben

So, I can sum up the most important skill of any politician. You've gotta like people and be good at/eager to talk with them. If you don't, then you shouldn't run for office. Now I know that's harsh, but thems the breaks.

I've got a friend who is an excellent policy analyst and advocate, who has spent years lobbying, working with legislators, understanding laws, and basically getting all of the skills you'd need to serve in a legislature. And he'd love to serve Maryland. But he's not eager to get out and press the flesh every night of the week. To have his trips to the grocery interrupted by people with opinions or questions. Now I understand where he's coming from and wish he could be my delegate, but he'd better get much more sociable or get on with his career.

I bring this up because this morning Ben Cardin walked right by me (leaving the Metro station, not in a rush) and didn't smile or greet me. Now Cardin doesn't know me and I'm not a bigwig. But I can kind of imagine (given the sticker, the aide in tow, and the lack of a tie/jacket) that he'd been hanging out in front of the Metro giving out flyers and shaking hands. Then I imagine that Ben, when he'd done the required amount of being nice to strangers, stalked off and went back to thinking about all of the things that really entertain him. I wouldn't bring this up, but this isn't the first time that he or another reasonably successful pol has seemed to be a bit less than a man-of-the-people.

So what am I saying? Am I saying that our leaders should be the Bill Clintons with magnetic personalities and the ability to really make you feel important? Am I saying they should be the George W's of this world, the kind of folks you'd like to spend time with (and who'd like to spend time with you), even if they're not necessarily the best leaders or thinkers? Nah. I think that our leaders' most important quality is brains and the ability to lead. But if you want to get elected...


Blogger The League: Reassembled said...

The League thinks the opposite is the unfortunate truth: our leaders are great at politicking but not at legislating. Officials spend so much time obsessing over election and re-election that they forget why they decided to run in the first place. We'd rather have a hermit fixing Social Security than a charasmatic politician failing to tackle important challenges.

7/31/2006 06:39:00 PM  

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