The cover story of Time (2013, November 18) examined Chris Christie. Christie, according to the article, is a self-proclaimed pragmatic non-ideologue. He seems to have little use for politicians who would rather stand on principles and lose than bend a little on principles, win elections, and govern.
It is possible to lead and not be elected or even occupy a position of leadership. It is also possible to be elected to office or to occupy a position of leadership and not lead. The other possibility is to not lead, and not be elected to office or occupy a position of leadership, which is the path for most people. Most people are not leaders. Many people who get elected to office or occupy positions normally associated with leadership seem to either not lead at the new level or to not be effective in their attempts to lead.
A surprisingly low number of people who get elected to so-called higher office or find themselves through appointment or other means to be in positions of leadership actually seem to stand out as leaders. One reason for that is that few positions provide the opportunity to stand out uniquely as a leader. People elected to serve in a legislative body, whether a town or city council or the US House of Representatives, have several peers who probably also have aspirations to be seen as a leader. Mayors, sheriffs, governors, and presidents are unique in the opportunity to demonstrate leadership as a consequence of their actions by virtue of their lack of peers at their specific level of governance.
In the United States, people get elected to legislative office because the electorate hopes or believes that their vision and ideology has merit, which perhaps they can, once elected, champion that agenda so that it becomes policy. The US electorate has voted few ideologues into the presidency of the republic. Ideologues seem rarely to be effective in governing. Even when elected, the reality of having to share governance with others who do not embrace the same ideology.
Scherer, M. (2013, November 18). Born to run. He coasted to re-election in New Jersey with a campaign designed for higher office. Why Chris Christie is the GOP’s most serious 2016 contender. Time, 182(21), 24-28.