Idealism can have great power in that it can distance people from actual action. For example, we all want to love someone ideally and we would give our life for this imaginary (or actual) person, and sell all things for this great love and care about nothing but them. And when we are done sharing the greatness of our hearts, we snap at our spouse because she did not put the hand towel back on the hook, and complain that her stuff is strewn about the living room. I am not suggesting that we should not have ideals, because we have to have standards by which we gauge actual behavior, but when the actual behavior is secondary to the ideal, then we have trumped reality for a false belief that, "When the big action is needed, I will do it, but don't trouble me with the day to day decisions." But I am talking politics, not philosophy.
Integrity is what you do when no one is watching, and idealism can fall into what you want everyone to think that you do when no one is watching. Now, let me clarify, that I understand that ALL politicians are throwing Ideals around every time they open their mouths, but I guess these thoughts have been on my mind because of the way many seem to think that Ron Paul "Gets it." Nobody gets it, but Ron Paul seems to not be getting the one thing that most do...we are connected irreversibly.