Does a Good Campaign Make a Good President?Obama and McCain both had excellent campaigns. However, with the current structure of the presidential election, the voices of qualified candidates are...

Does a Good Campaign Make a Good President?

Obama and McCain both had excellent campaigns. However, with the current structure of the presidential election, the voices of qualified candidates are often silenced by the candidates adept at raising money and structuring a persuasive campaign. If someone can execute a well-managed campaign, does that mean that he can run a country?

Asked on by renkins44

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brettd's profile pic

brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Not necessarily.  Nixon was a great campaigner, but I sure wouldn't want him as President.  Bill Clinton also ranks up there with the campaign greats of his day, having risen from unknown Governor of Arkansas to President for two terms.  Unfortunately, he showed colossally bad judgment as out President.  So while the two things are sometimes connected, I don't see it as a cause effect relationship.

dbello's profile pic

dbello | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

The answer is 'no' plain and simple, however the role of 'the campaign' has drastically altered the perception of the American voter. I think it is a fair to say the 1960 Presidential debate forever changed the dynamics of Presidential elections. Of course campaign strategies always existed, the difference lies is in the scale of 'impressionable impact'. By today's standards impressionable impact costs $$$$$$, the media plays a tremendous role in the everyday lives of Americans, therefore the $$$ will go towards the media, especially television. It might even be argued that the television media has a political agenda, whether or not intentional it presents yet another layer of complexity upon the discussion. The bottom line is this, are campaign's designed to inform voters of a candidate's platform and to win the election, or are they designed to prey on  individuals who might lack or just might not be interested in politics but watch television. Something to think about...

renkins44's profile pic

renkins44 | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

I do not beleive a good campaign makes a good president but, unfortunately, that is a major compnent on which our president is elected every four years. Granted (or at least in most cases), the candidate must have an outstanding resume with exemplary qualifications to considered as a potential nominee, but there are about 18 candidates, the race somes down to the deepest pockets and the most crafty campaign strategy. Sadly, this is the most tragic flaw of our presidential election system.

kwoo1213's profile pic

kwoo1213 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

I believe it helps, but it is not a given that a person will be a good president because he or she can run a good campaign.  There are so many different people involved in running a campaign, as well, so there are too many others who do the "dirty work" to say definitively that a good campaign = a good presidency.

alohaspirit's profile pic

alohaspirit | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted on

It can help, but many would consider President Bush's campaigns as successful, and look at what we have been through in the last eight years.  Campaigns are really propaganda, and a lot of the time the average citizen has to dig to find the true person behind all the advertising.  Obama ran a almost flawless and just campaign, and I have hope in him as a successful president, but that doesn't mean he will be one.  Let's see what happens in the next four years, hopefully his presidency is as flawless and just as his campaign, we can only pray for that.

alexb2's profile pic

alexb2 | eNotes Employee

Posted on

The campaign is not the presidency and while there are some overlapping skills, the total picture is very different. That being said, today's campaigns are marathons and involve so many people and money, that they are a decent way of judging a person's abilities. A person incapable of running a good campaign is not capable of running the country, however just because someone is a good campaigner does not mean they will be a great president.
timbrady's profile pic

timbrady | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

I would disagree about the McCain campaign; I think it was poorly handled.  That being said, I am not sure there is any real connection between the skills needed to run a campaign (does the candidate actually run it?) and the skills needed after the election.  In addition, governing is a complicated relationship between the three branches of government ... remember what the Supreme Court did to Roosevelt's "New Deal" --- and what he tried to do with the Supreme Court. 

We'll have to wait to see if the communication skills that made Obama's campaign so successful translate into the skills needed to govern ....

linda-allen's profile pic

linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

I'm reminded of the old Robert Redford movie "The Candidate." You should rent it. Redford is the golden boy, the fair-haired kid. Everybody loves him. He gives great speeches. Looks terrific on camera. Wins the election by a landslide. The problem is that there is no substance behind the pretty-boy image. After making his acceptance speech, he looks at his advisers and says, "What do we do now?"

A great campaigner is a great campaigner. We're all very blessed if he or she is also a good president.

amy-lepore's profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

A good campaign equals an excellent team of advisors, style coaches, speech writers, and marketing agents.  It remains to be seen that a great campaigner will prove to be a great president...especially if the Senate and Congress have a majority of the opposite party and work against him/her.  Yes, I have hopes that one day a woman will be elected president.

santari's profile pic

santari | eNotes Employee

Posted on

Running a good campaign doesn't necessarily mean the candidate will be a good president, but I think it bodes well.  Many of the same skills and management qualities that you need to lead a campaign will be useful as president.  Namely, you need to be able to set the tone as a leader and make sure your message is understood and carried out effectively by those working under you. You need to set an example of professionalism and competence if you want others to follow your lead.

Remember also that raising money during a campaign can be a result of effective grass roots campaigning -- communicating with and persuading constituents at all levels.  Good government requires that leaders communicate effectively with the people they govern.  One reason for this is because your government is more likely to appear transparent, something which is essential to instilling confidence in your leadership.

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