"I'm inclined to think elections are overrated. If you vote for a candidate once every four years but don't get involved in the meantime, it doesn't really matter much *who* you vote for. Once politicians get inside the Bubble, it's impossible to keep any kind of perspective without ongoing, substantive interaction with 'regular voters' for grounding.
As for what makes a good politician, I think it comes down more to temperament and broad intellectual framework than to a specific set of political beliefs.
A smart, patient, well-educated, open-minded, intellectually humble councillor will generally follow a sensible process of getting informed and land on a sensible policy that does a good job of leveraging the facts of an issue and bridging the hopes, fears and contradictions of the electorate and the various interest parties.
Here are some of the pitfalls that render councillors incompetent:
* Ambition - voting to maximize upward political mobility
* Megalomania - voting from an over-inflated sense of self
* Anger - voting to punish enemies
* Fear - voting to avoid risks
* Partisanship - voting along party lines
* Dogmatism - voting along ideological lines
* Laziness - phoning in votes instead of engaging the issues
* Stubbornness - refusing to cooperate with others or compromise
Left isolated from the outside world, just about anyone will fall prey to one or more of these pitfalls, which is why it's so important for citizens to: a) elect councillors who will allow themselves to be engaged, and b) keep up their end of that engagement between elections."