Meadville Tribune

Opinion

September 28, 2012

Slate: 4 crucial qualities a president needs

WASHINGTON — It's hard to say what the Founding Fathers would think of the modern presidency. But there's no doubt they'd be horrified by the modern presidential campaign. In their day, no man worthy of the presidency would ever stoop to campaigning for it. George Washington was asked to serve. Decades later his successors were also expected to sit by the phone. "The Presidency is not an office to be either solicited or declined," wrote Rep. William Lowndes of South Carolina in 1821. Rutherford B. Hayes wanted to be so free of the taint of self-interest he didn't even vote for himself in the election of 1876. As late as 1916, President Woodrow Wilson called campaigning "a great interruption to the rational consideration of public questions."

Not so today. Mitt Romney has been running for president for six years. Barack Obama has arguably never stopped since he took the oath of office. Today campaigning isn't an "interruption" but a permanent condition. Indeed, if you are a successful campaigner it's expected you'll be a successful president. In 1992, after Bill Clinton beat George Bush, Dan Quayle said, "If he governs as well as he campaigned, the country will be all right." Republicans had argued Clinton's character faults disqualified him from office. Quayle was articulating the common modern view — ratified by voters — that being a gifted campaigner was the more important quality. When Barack Obama was asked about his lack of executive experience in 2008, he pointed to his successful campaign as proof he could manage the presidency. Bill Clinton testified on his behalf: "If you have any doubt about Senator Obama's ability to be the chief executive," Clinton said at one of Obama's vast rallies in October 2008, "just look at all of you. . . . He has executed this campaign."

Text Only
Opinion
Business Marquee
AP Video
Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks