Politics with Principle: 10 Characters with Character

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Article Reviews
Politics with Principle: 10 Characters with Character by Michael Kerrigan (Wheatmark, 2010)

 

It’s not often that one hears a rational discussion of virtue in politics. 

When the two subjects do collide, it is almost exclusively in the form of a scandal—yet another politician whose private life is found to be in shocking discord with his public stance; yet another extramarital affair; yet another broken promise. For those of us who vote our values, there is nothing more disheartening than seeing an official we elected betray the very values that made up his or her campaign platform. The stories that come out of Washington are enough to make you want to cancel your newspaper subscription and turn off your computer. Luckily, a new book, Michael Kerrigan’s Politics with Principle: 10 Characters with Character offers an alternative.

In the book, Kerrigan, a devout Catholic and former lobbyist, argues that there are still people of morals and character on Capitol Hill, and their success in employing virtue versus vitriol is proof that politics of hypocrisy need not be what we teach the next generation.

To make his argument, Kerrigan has assembled a cast of t10 public figures—five Democrats and five Republicans—who have exhibited a unique and extraordinary dedication to virtue and morality throughout their careers. 

Some of the “characters” featured in the book include former Senator Rick Santorum, former Congressman Tom Bliley, former Assistant Attorney General Anne Bingaman, and Massachusetts State Senate William Bulger.

In a collection of in-depth, probing interviews, each individual reveals the principles that guide them, the people that have influenced them, and the various tests and temptations they have faced in their years in public life.

As a Catholic, it’s refreshing to read a book that discusses the importance of faith in politics. Each and every character emphasizes the importance of family and faith in helping them weather the storms of a political career. And each speaks to the challenge—and importance—of staying true to your morals in a profession that constantly challenges them. 

As an added bonus, the book’s question-and-answer format makes it an ideal choice for a church group or book club. Politics with Principle offers a refreshing and unique view of American politics, one that will be welcomed by anyone seeking to find virtue in our political leaders—and in ourselves.