Would you run for public office?
Thu, 01 Dec 2011 00:34:17 GMT —
The leader in the race for the GOP presidential nomination often depends on the day. The candidates rise and fall as they make gaffes and fend off allegations of inappropriate behavior. With the beating, they take in the press and the public arena, it makes you wonder why anyone would put themselves out there as a candidate.
Liz Gilland is the former Chairman for Horry County Council. She joined the political arena nearly 20 years ago because she thought she could do a better job than those in office at the time.
"I often have thought that I probably was one of the most naive politicians to ever be elected, because I really thought that if you were honest and you meant well and you tried to do your best that everybody would like you and that was just not the case," says Gilland. "I feel like I went into office with a really good reputation, and by the time I came out, I'd been so beaten up and maligned and everything else and done some stupid things and now it's kind of iffy I guess."
Gilland dealt with an ethics violation fine and highly publicized traffic violations.
"It's ugly. It's mean spirited, there are a lot of negatives to it, and I think that's why you don't see particularly more women involved," she adds.
Dr Paul Peterson with Coastal Carolina University says most people seek office with good intentions. "This is maybe going to sound naive on my part, most get in there because they want to serve the country. Their place in history maybe tied with that, sense of ambition."
The campaign trail can be brutal. Texas Governor Rick Perry's infamous forgetful moment at a recent debate was played countless times because of the 24-hour news cycle.
"Nowadays we're looking for perfection in our politicians, maybe in part because we've seen such a great deal of imperfection, but the truth is there's not a one of us that's perfect and so you're going to have to evaluate. I hope it's not the lesser of the evils, but I do think we have to be a little more forgiving whether it's in policy, whether it's in personal life," says Gilland.
And now with modern technology, someone's past history will likely surface.
"It is kind of amazing particularly the (John) Edwards thing, that he's out there running for president while all of this is going on, that he thinks somehow he can escape scrutiny," says Dr. Peterson.
Dr. Peterson hopes voters aren't looking for perfection and points out former President Jimmy Carter was a well-polished candidate, but after serving in the nation's top position "many saw him as a woefully inadequate leader."