Sobriety cannot be overlooked as an essential leadership quality. This is fairly universal common sense. It is expected that politicians will enjoy a glass of wine or beer on occasion, but the thought of our politicians having a substance abuse or addiction problem offends us to our core. Anyone who understands anything about addiction knows that it distracts a person from the life they should be living, which is why a substance abusing leader is consistently an incompetent one.
Politicians and other elected officials need to stay sober in order to have foresight. Foresight is what enables a person to intelligently predict upcoming circumstances. This is a necessary quality in a leader because it is their job to steer their constituents out of harm’s way. Foresight can only be achieved through focus, and focus cannot be achieved under the influence of a mind altering substance. Politicians who are not sober may still be able to do parts of their job well, but in their altered state, they will miss signals that indicate what is on the horizon.
It is nearly impossible for a substance abusing or addicted politician to make good decisions. Firstly, if the public knows about their problem, they are already making bad decisions because they brought their problem into the public sphere. Secondly, regardless of how much the public knows, substance abuse causes all professionals, and people in general, to make bad decisions. No one can be properly focused on their work when the substance they abuse or are addicted to is consuming their thoughts. A politician needs sobriety in order to carefully think through all the factors that inform their decisions and come to logical conclusions.
It is also very important that politicians stay sober so that they can react intelligently, not emotionally, in difficult situations. Politicians face more difficult situations than most professionals do, and how they respond to them is critical. Sobriety is more than just helpful to the career of a politician. It is mandatory, and the public will be reproachful toward politicians who do not take their sobriety seriously.