And, how to report?
I think Rosen is, clearly, wrong here, for the simple reason that character – especially and obviously sincerity – can help assess the strength of a politician’s commitment to the positions they propound in public. Romney’s opposition to Obamacare, for instance, given his own work as Governor of MA, helps shed ample light on his motivations, and to say this should be ignored as somehow irrelevant is blatantly absurd.
And character also, surely, helps one judge to what extent a potential President could get the results he wants; one cannot judge efficacy from policy alone. What’s more, on foreign affairs where reactions are necessarily ad hoc by virtue of unforeseen unfolding events, temperament can be everything when put along vague stances in debates.
At the end of the day, I could never vote for the Liberal Democrats after they violated their pledge on tuition fees. Not because I strongly supported their original stance and subsequently felt betrayed, but because it speaks volumes about their attitude to the electorate. And that matters because of the very thing Rosen says we should be focusing on: it sheds light on the policies they really support.