A few months ago, a crew from New Jersey was recording a college campus video in my office. I am a Constitutionally Conservative Republican; so when the interviewer asked me a question that seemed like it would have a self-evident answer, she was surprised when I threw her a curveball.
She asked, “Commissioner Rothschild, would you encourage young college Republicans to consider running for public office?”
No, I responded, unless they answer the following questions correctly:
First, are they committed to upholding the Constitution?
Second, can they handle not being liked?
“What do you mean?” she asked.
Well… People who are amiable and have a strong need to be liked do not necessarily make good conservative elected officials.
You see, everyone who comes before a governing body inevitably wants money for something that they deem important: Money for social programs; Money for infrastructure; Money for Public Safety; Money for Veterans; Money for Libraries; Money for Schools, etc.
Furthermore, in the world of government, special interests judge you based on whether or not you “support” their mission. And, unfortunately, “support” is not measured by principles; nor is it measured by empathy. In the stark world of government, it is measured in dollars.
Akin to rats in a cage that learn to push a lever for a pellet of food, most newly elected officials quickly learn they can buy accolades from members of various groups or unions simply by giving them what they want: Money.
They also learn they can buy support from the liberal media by supporting the same liberal causes embraced by the liberal media.
In my three short years in office, I’ve witnessed this anomaly in action. “Commissioner John Doe cares about education…[he gives us money]. “Commissioner John Doe cares about our hard working employees… [he gives us money].
Never mind the fact that increased spending levels today could force us to layoff fifty people next year if revenues fall short.
Never mind the fact that salary increases we give today could force us to raise taxes on struggling taxpayers next year.
So here’s the rub… People with a compulsive need to be liked do not know how to say “NO.” They inevitably allow spending and the size of government to trend upward.
Here’s another rub. The media is overwhelmingly liberal. People with a compulsive need to be admired inevitably start fine-tuning their decisions in an effort to be praised by the liberal media. Once this happens, the official is no longer leading with principles. Instead, he/she is being led by an unprincipled liberal editor.
I’ve asked my wife, “I wonder how long a principled man or woman can stay in office before they are eventually corrupted by political pressures?”
After months of reflecting on this, I’ve come to realize that, like most difficult issues, the answer is readily available within the bible.
Matthew 6:24: “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
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