Originally posted by twhitehead
[b]The political system must be terrible if it is based on polls.
Surely its just a matter of an atheist getting into politics and getting elected?
Did Obama have to get approval from polls before entering politics? Did Hillary?
Now you are getting the bigger picture. That is part of what is awry with politics.
As for Obama, he had to have political success in order to get to the position he has attained today. In effect, he had to be popular to a certain degree for others within the Democratic party to want to take a chance on him in the Presidential race. Hillary was to a lesser degree because she has her husbands popularity to help maneuver her where she is today which helped land her a job as Senator of New York. In fact, perhaps this is one of the reasons Obama beat her in this years race?
"W" is another example of what I am talking about. How did he get to where he is today? It all came about because of Reagan. Because of the popularity of Reagan, Bush Senior became politically significant which was passed down through his son.
Popularity is essentially born from charisma and the ability to communicate well. This can be seen with Reagan, Clinton, and Obama. Then those around them can often ride the wave of their popularity through their recent memory. In fact, you see McCain try to ride this wave as well with political adds showing his talking to former President Reagan. In addition, he has formed an alliance with someone who appears for the time being to be charismatic and a good communicator in the form of Sarah Palin. Will it be enough, who knows? All I know is that McCain has a much better chance with Palin than without her no matter the objections from the left no matter if they have merit or otherwise.
Now as far as taking political positions based on polls, Clinton was often criticized for doing so. That is one of the things that seems interesting to me about McCain. He defended the support of the ongoing effort to rebuild Iraq into a democracy even though the polls told him he was insane for doing so. I believe his quote was, "I would rather loose and election than the war." Inexplicably, however, he has overcome the odds to this point with a great deal of support from the American people despite what the polls tell us his position should have been. What can I say, it was a gamble that till this point has paid dividends for him.
If you question this view of the need to be popular to be successful in modern day politics, what is it then based upon? I think the closest argument would be that one has to be wealthy and/or have political connections. Then again, this is partly dependent upon ones popularity in the higher social circles is it not?