Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Potential Australian Prime Minister's Chances at Winning - Do They Wane or...Wax?

(Watch the gentleman to the left of the speaker)

I honestly don't think that this will harm Kevin Rudd's chance of becoming Prime Minister. If anything, it humanizes him in such a way that will endear him to the Australian people. Bear in mind that I know nothing of Australian politics or - more importantly - Australian voters, but in that eating things that one has picked out or off of one's body is universal, so too are certain sentiments held by voters.

Therein lies the dualistic hypocrisy of the political process.

People always lament how they want our elected officials to be "a regular gal/guy." Then when that gal or guy does something wrong - regardless of how benign or unrelated to their professional duties - they are judged against a higher standard than any regular person would be. The reason for such a dualistic application of 'justice?' They're the ___________ (insert their official title here)!"

Meaning that of course they should be held to a higher standard.

There are a few reasons why this might be reasonable.

I read a book in college - and I'll try to find it and post the title and author - in which the author argued that elected officials should be held accountable for indiscretions that are unrelated to their official duties for a couple of reasons. First is that in so far as an office is imbued with any symbolic importance - as is certainly the case with the Presidency but to a lesser extent other offices as well - any actions taken by the person in that office reflect upon the office's symbolism.

The phrase, "The Presidency is bigger than any one man" (which is a hackneyed phrase whose knees might be replaced if Hillary wins next year) highlights the validity of holding the President to a higher standard. For example, if the President is an alcohol-abusing-coke-head, that reflects poorly upon the office. Furthermore, because the President is the national figurehead, such behavior also reflects poorly upon everyone in the country - whether they voted for him or not.

Engaging in illegal or embarrassing acts also makes elected officials susceptible to being blackmailed. This is a more logically compelling reason.

There was a third reason but I've forgotten it.

Anyways, like I said originally, I don't think that this is going to harm Rudd's chances of being elected.

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