Monday, December 5, 2011

Presdential Elections Are Not American Idol Contest

With the first Republican primary only weeks away, many people are complaining that candidates like Mitt Romney aren't just "exciting" enough: 
Talk to any Republican leaders or strategists and they will quickly point to the enthusiasm gap between their voters and President Obama’s as one reason they believe they will prevail next November. Listen to any Republican voters and a different enthusiasm gap appears. They are not truly excited about any of their likeliest nominees, least of all Mitt Romney.
The former Massachusetts governor is rapidly becoming a one-man political experiment, testing the theory that empathy and the ability to connect with voters are prerequisites for a winning campaign. He has many attributes, but firing up a Republican crowd isn’t one of them.
When it comes to selecting a person who will hold the most powerful office in the world, excitability should be on the bottom of the list of list qualities we want in a President. Yet, everyone, including conservatives, think that "excitability" should be top quality a candidate should posses.

John Schroeder, in an article for Article IV blog, writes that the conservative desire for an exciting candidate is a serious problem for the GOP party and America:
There are a couple of troubling aspects to this trend.  Firstly, it seems to say that we are not impressed with ourselves.  We are the party of competence, not “sex appeal” – the grown-ups in the room.  When we go chasing stuff like this we seem to forget that fundamental aspect of what it means to be a conservative Republican.  There is no question that image and media matter in electoral politics, but it is up to us to shape them to our goals, not to be shaped by them.
Which brings me to the second and more troubling issue.  There simply is no greater evidence of where chasing image gets you than the current administration.  Incompetent and petulant on levels previously incomprehensible for the office of POTUS, we are witnessing a triumph of charisma over substance.  Charisma may help get you elected, but it is not worth the electrons it is transmitted by when it comes to actually governing. 
There is a huge difference between a candidate and a president. People seem to forget that being a candidate is not a job or a position. Yet, the Presidency is.

A candidate is just a temporary label we use for someone who is seeking the office of President. Some candidates drop out of the race. Many don't get the job. Only a few men have been successful in becoming President of the United States.

Its important to remember that there are skills and qualifications that may make a person an exciting candidate but they're not necessary for being a President. In fact, many of those skills are not in the job description for being a President.

It is a tough and very demanding job that requires a extremely high level of experience and competency.   Presidents have to make tough decisions on a wide variety of subjects, both domestic and foreign, such as the economy, national security, immigration and education. The President is also the Commander In Chief who oversees the armed forces.

Does America really want an exciting yet incompetent President? That’s what we got with Obama and look how that is going. Do we really want another four years of Obama as President?

I want a candidate with experience and ideas, not a rock star politician. Yet, we're looking for the "American Idol" President. We’re a fickle society with a very short attention span. Look at current crop of conservative candidates. Bachmann, Perry and Cain were all flashes in the pan. They were the Republican flavor of the month. Newt is the current pick of these American idol conservatives.

Mitt Romney may be boring but he's extremely qualified for the job of President. He's not a rock star candidate. He's the serious and mature candidate America needs.

I don’t want the Republican party to nominate someone based on their rock star appeal and not on substance, ideas or positions. Yet, that is what the Republican party appears to have become. The only consistency that the American idol conservatives, also known as the Anybody But Romney crowd, is how quickly they betray and flip flop on the core issues and values they claim to cherish and hold dear.

I don't want an exciting President. If a president is boring, I'm ok with that just as long as he is extremely qualified and competent to be the President of the United States.

America needs to grow up and take the election seriously by focusing on the candidate's resume rather how exciting he is.

Presidential elections are NOT American Idol contest. Lets not turn it into one.

This article was cross posted from Conservative Samizdat.

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Terrye said...

It would be nice to have someone in there who knows what he or she is doing. For a change. And charisma has nothing to do with that.

Anonymous said...

J, great post. I read that article about how rare a breed we Romney supporters are, and I would simply ask them this question.

If Romney is only liked by a small handful of GOP voters, then how is it that he has had the most solid support of any of them for the longest time?

Everyone talks about Romney's low ceiling, but at least he has consistent support--the most consistent support. And, once the primary really gets into gear, I think we'll come to understand that his so-called ceiling is really is floor.

Most people don't pay attention like we us. They haven't got a clue about who they will vote for. I'm quite certain that when Republicans get serious, they will choose the serious candidates. Cooler heads will prevail over the ones making all the noise.


Nancy said...

You are so dead on! Thanks for voicing wisdom in a frenetic race to the White House. I'm done with the charismatic which cost us a lot with Clinton (no example of virtue) and cost us with Obama (no example of hard work and competence). Mitt Romney is the perfect choice. He will fill in the blanks and more for the things we lack in a president today! He will make a great president!

Paul said...

I think that Romney has the right kind of charisma. One of competence and confidence. He exudes confidence and inspires confidence. We can trust that he has no skeletons. He is not about snake oil. I do sometimes question the intelligence of those who demand to be "excited." It is like a movie goer that can't sit through a good story, but requires constant action scenes to be entertained. This criticism of not being able to emotionally connect with people is just another one of those vaporous accusations that by nature, can not be proven or disproven. It only comes up because Romney's detractors can not find anything of substance to use against him. I'll declare what is truly exciting, and that is beating Obama and displacing Obama and his party from power. Mitt Romney is best suited for that job, which should be enough excitement for any REAL conservative.

Anonymous said...

You're right Paul.