As this article in the American Prospect documents, Americans seem to like conviction in a politician more than what that politican actually is convicted to. This, however is a dangerous standard as it leads to the approval of political movements that exhibit a fundamental dedication to ideals to which one is diametrically opposed. For instance, if one opposes Bush's positions, why vote for him at all? His dedication to what is in your view a disrepectable view point should be a detriment to his electability, not a complement. Similarly, someone who you largely agree with should not be instantly disqualified from consideration because he or she is not strong of conviction... certianally, they will not be as preferred as someone who is both strongly dedicated and with whom you agree, but the weaker candidate is most certianally perferrable to someone who is dedicated to the betrayal of what you hold dear. At least if the weaker candidate does this, he or she will not pursue this ends to an extreme, right?
So, with this in mind, why praise conviction? It is not a virtue in its own right, but rather part of a person's traits which when considered as a whole can be either virtuous or destructive. As an example, consider Hitler (fuck Godwin). He was one of the most dedicated and convicted persons that history has yet recorded, and by modern American standards, thus the best qualified for a position as president! Obviously something is amiss here. It is thus that once again, I revisit one of most tired themes: American need to rethink their priorities, and soon.