Legislators are politicians, not statesmen.

On Saturday I attended a town hall meeting given by my Congressman, Rep. Tom Davis. I’ve written in the past about how much I despise his service in Congress. On every political issue, he’s been wrong, choosing party over country. Throw in a dose of moral posturing on steroids in baseball and there’s little to redeem years of wasted opportunities to stand for what is right rather than what is right-wing. It’s been a frustrating mess living in Virginia’s 11th district.

That said, I would consider voting for not despising the man I encountered Saturday. He was honest, explaining the politics of different situations facing the nation. Some of them I already knew, like the stimulus package. Some of them I hadn’t thought about in as much depth, such as whether or not anyone running for president will pull troops out of Iraq. (I’d assumed no, given the current inaction from Democrats. Rep. Davis said as much.) He had smart comments on the false hope of the economic stimulus package, as well as an honest assessment of the (non-)viability of our entitlements regime. He was thoughtful on immigration, if ultimately misguided, in my opinion. But he had an intellectual depth that I respect.

I just wish he’d shown this when it mattered, not after he had nothing to lose because he’s retiring. The time to act occurs before deepening the problem you wish to address, not after.