Our Constitution's framers understood that pure democracy was not conducive to good government, so they structured the government as a constitutional republic. Nothing better illustrates the wisdom of their decision than our current national turmoil concerning the war in Iraq.
Understanding human nature and the potential volatility of the people, they designed the government to insulate elected representatives from the fluctuating passions of the people whose unbridled, unchecked sentiments could otherwise lead to a self-destructive mobocracy.
Once elected, the representatives were not to govern by ever-changing polls but would be guided by their best judgment, subject to the deterrents of impeachment and the next election. There were also the institutional safeguards built into the Constitution, such as federalism, the separation of powers, narrow grants of power to and express limitations on government. These would naturally retard the pace of government and militate against the mischief of renegade politicians.
As prescient as the Framers were, it's unlikely they could have foreseen the coming technological advances and information explosion that would arm a hostile media and opposition party with selective bad news and polling data with which to badger a president into submission.
It takes a strong person as president to withstand the temptation to sacrifice the long-term best interests of the nation by succumbing to the seduction of daily polls and their promise of immediate popularity upon obedience to the whimsical popular will.
We need look no further back in history than the Clinton years to see what happens when a president tends to govern by polls rather than principle. It was a formula for putting off serious problems -- such as Al Qaeda and Social Security -- when tackling them might bring you into disfavor.
By contrast, we can study the present Bush administration to see what happens when a president governs by principles and goals to which he has consistently pledged fidelity. It's a formula for occasionally disastrous polling results, as we witnessed this week with reports of the president's lowest-yet approval ratings.
The mainstream media are gloating about the president's popularity free-fall, apparently oblivious to the damage they are inflicting on the nation with their ceaseless one-sided news coverage.
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