From the Claremont Review of Books, Spring 2018, Charles Kesler writes, Thinking About Trump:
As it happens, the U.S. Constitution famously set up a series of institutional checks and balances to encourage ambitious men to vie against other ambitious men to serve the public good. The framers intended to enable men of good character to have the powers and duties they needed in office to put their virtues and talents to work, consciously pursuing justice and the common good; and at the same time, the framers intended to compel bad men to serve the public even if they would prefer not to. When working properly, the Constitution’s incentives would, by repetition, help to make such service habitual, and thus improve the character of some, at least, of the imperfect human beings who would get elected in this democratic republic.
It’s not uncommon, however, for bad men in this and similar senses to do good by the public. Gouverneur Morris, “the rake who wrote the Constitution,” as Richard Brookhiser calls him in his excellent biography, felt a kind of calling to sleep with other men’s wives. Martin Luther King, Jr., was a serial adulterer, as the tireless public servants in the FBI of his day knew well. These sins, which were habitual enough to be called vices, did not prevent—and detracted from, if at all, only slightly—the enormous public good they did.