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In Defense Of Politicians: Stephen Medvic

1938 words - 8 pages

Stephen Medvic, In Defense of Politicians, discusses why Americans feel that politicians are dishonest. In 2007, a Gallup poll about honesty and ethical standards for occupations, showed that only 12 and 9 percent of people felt that Congressmen and State office holders held high standards, (Medvic p. 2). In addition, Americans tend to like their representatives more than the members of Congress because they view them as actual people. Americans view Congress as a group of politicians who are greedy and not representing their interests, (Medvic p. 4).
Popular culture also plays a role in why Americans do not trust politicians. Late-night television shows use politicians in their comedy ...view middle of the document...

Therefore, the public wants politicians who share their beliefs, but when they do not, they should compromise, (Medvic 13). The last trap that the public falls into is “The Ordinary-and-Exceptional Trap.” The public wants politicians who are ordinary, but the traits and standards they hold are above average. The public does not want politicians who are not normal, but they reward people who hold an enormous amount of integrity, warmth, and competence. The public states that only 31% of people have integrity, which is supported by a 2010 Pew Poll. Therefore, the public would not want “ordinary” citizens in office because they would not be honest, (Medvic p. 18).
Medvic defends politicians from the perception of the public. In Medvic’s view, the public feels that politicians only care about winning elections and they are too partisan and ideological. However, Medvic argues it is just a motive. Medvic believes that people enters politics because they want to make a difference or to correct a specific problem that no one has addressed. In reference to self-interest, Medvic argues that it takes more to inspire someone to run for office. Salaries are low, status is minimal, and they exercise little power, (Medvic p. 56). John Kingdon, Acting Chair of Political Science at the University of Michigan, stated that politicians use ideas to get themselves elected and once voted for, advance them. In a study, Mark Franklin, a political scientist who teaches at Trinity College, wrote that the reason that the public feels politicians’ only care about winning is because how frequently the United States holds election. In reference to the public feeling, that politicians are too partisan and ideological, Medvic argues that the two-party systems that we have today is very close to what the Committee on Political Parties wanted. The Committee on Political Parties of the 1950s argued that “a healthy democracy requires parties that present real policy alternatives to the public. When there are two parties identifiable by the kinds of action they propose, the voters have an actual choice,” (Medvic p.63-64). They wanted two parties to be ideologically distinct, but polarity is just the result of the distinctness.
Medvic also defends politicians on the public’s charges about how they are liars and cheats. Medvic contends that we do not know how many liars and cheaters there are in politics. However, politicians are under more scrutiny and would more than likely be caught. In addition, politicians are consistent in what they say and attempt to keep their promises, as supported by Tracy Sulkin study, (Medvic p. 112).
J. Patrick Dobel, in Public Integrity, argues that political prudence provides a basic ethical resource for public officials. Prudence means to see ahead and the ability to think clearly before one acts. An individual needs to think about the short and long-term consequences of their actions. Political prudence is attached to excellent achievement in...

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