American politics is evolving into a religon… a far thing from the practice of the science, or even the art of government. And, accordingly, people are demanding that their spokesmen act, not merely as administrators or leaders, but as priests and votaries of the political dogmas and liturgy that are the fashion.
–William F. Buckley, Jr., October 17, 1964
WFB, writing in the final days of the ’64 election campaign, was prodded to make the above observation by an obeisance Barry Goldwater was forced to make — against his own stated positions — on several articles of faith among the country club blueblood Republicans. But the observation could be made as well in the case of Sarah Palin. Or any candidate for office.
This strikes me as backward. The parties ought to be making accomodations to suit the principles of the candidates, not the other way around. A clear case of an abuse of power.
And, of course, as Buckley observes, Goldwater was running for President, not for Congress, and would have next to no power over — say — Social Security. Just as, today, the President really has no power over the Federal, domestic treatment of abortion, yet must nevertheless bend over backward and kiss the stone in order to receive unction.