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Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game

June 19, 2012

Much speculation has been made over whether or not President Obama’s recent immigration policy decision is the result of conviction or political calculus. Similar albeit less wrangling occured after the President’ came out in support of gay marriage. Many people are asking: is the President sincere, or is he not?

Either way, does it really matter?

Pretty much every decision a politician makes is the result of some degree of political calculus (that’s why they’re called politicians). It is somewhat naïve to believe that elected officials make decisions based on conviction alone, or even most of the time. Even Rick Santorum, who is probably the most convicted presidential candidate of the past ten years (other than Ron Paul) has admitted to making political decisions. As long as your desired policy goals are being met, do you really care if the person you voted for believes the same things as you?

No one wants an elected official to rely purely on political motives, but the desire for political conviction has more to do with achieving policy goals than personal integrity.  How do you think Mitt Romney locked up the Republican presidential nomination. Most (if not all) of his base knows that he is not convicted by conservative principles, yet he’s on his way to Tampa despite generating tepid enthusiasm among GOP voters.

Or take Sen. John Kerry when he ran for president in 2004. He locked up the Democratic nomination even though Howard Dean “represented the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.” Ironically Dean himself was known as a moderate when he was governor of Vermont. His apparently liberal convictions catapulted him to rock star status in the 2004 campaign, but it didn’t win him Iowa.

Politics is the name of the game, and everyone – including voters – plays to win. As a black man, I’m sure President Obama has some personal convictions about race, yet he’s had to measure his comments since he’s been in office. “But he’s not the president of Black America” you might say. True. But he’s not the president of gay America or Latino America either, but he sho’ nuff acted on DOMA, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and gay marriage in addition to his recent immigration decision. My point is that conviction alone is not a recipe for success in politics. Like or not, there is a game to be played, and those who deny the game’s existence will find themselves on the losing end. The players won’t change tactics as long as the rules of the game are the same.

If you want real change, don’t hate the player, hate the game.


From → Commentary

One Comment
  1. Leonardo Jackosn permalink

    Politics is a messy stuff. I really hate politics and everything related to it but hey, sometimes you can also get something out of it. `”,**

    Enjoy your weekend!“>

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