Friday, December 12, 2003

Niceness in Politics?

A relative once told me about his sixth grade campaign to become class president. He and another student were in close competition. When voting, my relative decided that it would not be gracious to vote for himself, and thus voted for his opponent. His opponent did not share that sentiment, and voted for himself. The opponent won - by one vote.

There's no room for graciousness in politics, it seems, if your opponent doesn't share your sensitivities. Even in junior high. (And if I were to guess at the candidates' eventual party affiliations....)

The other day I met with some political types of the Democratic persuasion who were expressing that, in today's political climate, there's no room for being "Mr. Nice Guy" - you need to back your party's candidates and go for the win, even if your party's candidate is running against a "nice person" or a personal friend. It was noted that the Republicans have been following that strategy for quite some time, while Democrats sometimes abstain from endorsing opponents to Republican incumbents - or even endorse the Republican incumbent - to the detriment of their own party's candidate.

I guess some things never change, save perhaps that after sixth grade you can only write so much off to naivete.


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