Seeking ‘truth’ in our candidates

A recent Rasmussen Poll found that an astounding 70 percent of U.S. voters now say the country is heading down the wrong track. What will it take to be a successful candidate for public office in 2014 and 2016?

As I see it, the simple truth is: people are yearning for a “culture of truth” no mater how uncomfortable the truth may be. They want uncompromising integrity, transparency and accountability on the part of a candidate and will settle for nothing less. This is true of candidates at the municipal , county, state and federal level. The voters will decide and they will make elective decisions based upon a simple principle, “Belief in integrity at its very best.”

Reliable, competent, believable … these three qualities are what the electorate is looking for in their candidates. People want someone they can trust. Uncertainty and waffling will not stand. Economic growth, policies that promote job creation, constitutionality, energy independence and security … at all levels … are uppermost in the minds of the public. The electorate is looking for governing decisions based upon solid fundamental principles of ethics, virtue, and valor.

If ever we needed integrity in public service, that time is now. People are disappointed. Americans are hardworking, family-oriented, issue-minded individuals. They are determined to do the best for their family, their country and their community. They are not interested in fabrications, self-centeredness, subterfuge or indecisiveness. Heavy in political style and little in virtuous substance will no longer carry the day. The American people are aware that there are serious economic, foreign and social issues. And the voters want and need profound proposed solutions, not rhetorical listing of the problems. They are calling for candidates to speak the truth and to be representatives of trust. In short, the voters want to believe again.

Americans want honesty with real-life experiences as a foundational base. There is no place for hegemony in American life. We believe that a candidate must possess a mental construct based upon stoic fundamental principles and beliefs. Presenting and voicing only a litany of problems and pointing to the flaws of others is not sufficient and will not do. A campaign of “personal destruction” is abhorrent to the American voters. The voters recognize the ineptness of candidates when those candidates lack creative problem-solving approaches. The voters want an optimistic, experienced leader who speaks from the heart. They are hungry for the truth. Arrogance and conceitedness are abhorrent to those of us who are just plain ordinary folks.

In the next election cycle, the voters will vote for candidates who possess qualities of credibility, people-centeredness, boldness and passion. The people are calling for candidates who have the ability to prioritize the kitchen-table issues of the day. They want accountability in problem solving based upon solid constitutional principles. These noble qualities will be the traits upon which candidates will be judged by a fair-minded electorate.

The American voters are seeking candidates who will be up front with the American people. They have had enough of eloquent but vacuous rhetoric. Americans believe in better. The voters are optimistic, and they want optimistic statesmanlike decisiveness in leadership. That is what it will take for a candidate to win as a representative of the people. And that is how I see it FROM THIS PERSPECTIVE.

Dr. Robert L. Heichberger is professor emeritus at the State University of New York at Fredonia and distinguished professor at Capella University. He is an award winning author. All of the past columns can be viewed on Send comments to: