Monday, July 11, 2011

And Never The Twain Shall Meet

At The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf makes an astute observation about voters and the presidency.  When voters go to the polls,
[t]hey're choosing the person who'll preside over the Armed Forces, negotiate with foreign leaders, manage the bureaucracy, shepherd legislation through Congress, execute the nation's laws, and otherwise fulfill the many obligations of the presidency.
One TV talking head--I believe it was George Will--has said that Americans take the measure of a candidate and determine whether to trust the person with nuclear weapons.  Give the responsibilities of the office, that response would be reasonable.

Friedersdorf, however, argues that voters and the media focus on candidates who
. . . [are] qualified to run a good campaign. . . . .telegenic, charismatic, . . . quick-witted at times, . . .wily in  . . attacks and counterattacks, [raise] a lot of money, and [have] mastered the dog-whistle. . . [and rise] to prominence by adeptly leveraging media appearances.
If Friedersdorf's brief analysis is accurate, and I'm pretty sure it is; campaigning and governing require totally different skill sets.  During the coming months that are guaranteed to produce election fatigue, voters should remember to look for the person best able to govern, not the person best able to campaign.

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