In response to my post about Montana House Education Chairman Rick Jore, Kurtis writes in to comment that Jore has won praise for being upfront, fair, straightforward and good to work with. I heard the same sort of thing in my own reporting about him.
People who find his political convictions abhorrent says he's personally agreeable and a straight shooter. Several people told me, like the legislator Kurtis quotes, that they'd rather deal with him than with someone who has a hidden agenda.
I read recently that people in offices would rather have coworkers who are agreeable if not professional stars than highly capable jerks. I'm sure the same is true for people who deal with legislators. It's certainly preferable to live in a world where people are straightforward and treat each other decently.
But despite the way we've personalized politics over the last 20 years and made character issues central, I would still argue that ideology counts for a lot in this particular job. It's easier to deal with nice people, but there are clear results in legislative life that affect lots of people -- including people who don't know who their own legislators are.
So, good for Jore for sticking to his guns and being upfront about what he seeks to accomplish. If voters like or dislike it, they'll let him know. Still, legislatures are bound to have some crafty bastards and that's not always entirely a bad thing.