First two paragraphs, references in actual text:
Do we want our politicians to be anxious? The answer may seem obvious: no. Consider, for instance, what it would have been like to see John F. Kennedy in the grip of anxiety during the Cuban missile crisis. Clearly, that’s not what we want—not only does anxiety signal weakness in a leader, but it also tends to bring vicious cycles of worry, disengagement, and motivated reasoning that undermine one’s decision making. Instead, what it seems we want in our politicians is strength and resoluteness—the “Iron Lady,” Margaret Thatcher, not a Woody Allen-like hapless mess.
But recent research on the upside of anxiety suggests that this condemnation comes too quickly. For instance, experimental work in political science indicates that anxiety about public policy matters spurs voters to become more informed, open-minded, and engaged. Similarly, work in philosophy suggests that anxiety has an important role to play in promoting virtuous thought and action. So, initial appearances to the contrary, anxiety may be a good thing. Perhaps what we want, then, is appropriately anxious politicians.
WMU ScholarWorks Citation
Kurth, Charlie, "Politicians, Policy, and Anxiety" (2019). Center for the Study of Ethics in Society Papers. 111.