A President Who Didn’t Want the Job…

Posted: 19 Feb 2013 in Government, History, Politics
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…this is an interesting read.

A President Who Didn’t Want the Job

When Revolutionary War patriot Thomas Paine wrote these words in 1776, he was aiming at kings with a warning that applies in any age to politicians who think too highly of themselves or their work:

Men who look upon themselves born to reign, and others to obey, soon grow insolent; . . . their minds are early poisoned by importance; and the world they act in differs so materially from the world at large, that they have but little opportunity of knowing its true interests, and when they succeed to the government are frequently the most ignorant and unfit of any throughout the dominions.

Why is it that the people who don’t lust for public office tend to make better public servants if they attain it? That’s my impression at least, which is admittedly not a carefully studied perspective. I feel more confident in suggesting that those who do lust for office ought to be summarily rejected. If you truly enjoy wielding power over others, then I don’t want you near it.

Politics is a magnet for the superficial, the corrupt, the slick but incompetent, the snake-oil salesmen, the unprincipled and the power-hungry. The bigger the government, the more that truly good people don’t want to dirty their hands with it unless they think they can whack it down to size.

In the private sector, you’d almost never want to hire somebody who doesn’t earnestly want the job. It says something unflattering about the public sector that many of us are turned off by those who really do.

It’s refreshing, isn’t it, when someone runs for office and really doesn’t care so much to have it that he’ll do or say whatever it takes. Grover Cleveland was just such a man. He became a sheriff, a mayor, a governor and then a President because he was a man of character and principle. He had other things he could do, and enjoy doing, if he lost. He didn’t cut corners or prevaricate or dishonor himself to win. Such behavior was beneath him—in other words, he was the kind of person you’d want in a public office if you have to fill it at all.

via A President Who Didn’t Want the Job : The Freeman : Foundation for Economic Education.

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