“Be not afraid of greatness; some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them. ” As playwright and poet William Shakespeare states, greatness is something that comes naturally to some, while others must put much effort in to achieve it, and others are forced into it. When examining the United States presidency, much effort must be put into identifying if a president was great and how the president rates compared to previous presidents.
For example, political scientist Fred Greenstein (2005) describes six qualities that shape a president’s performance, such as emotional intelligence and political skill, and Joseph A. Pika and John Maltese (2004) add other elements, such as personal character and career, that shape a president’s performance. Besides examining the president on his personal strengths and weaknesses, Stephen Skowroneck (2003) states that it is also vital to evaluate what time period the president held office in, if the country was resilient or not at that time, and if the president supported the previous presidency.
When evaluating if our current president, Barack Obama, will be remembered as a great president, using the above criteria and observation methods as well as comparing him to past presidents is vital. President Obama’s approval rating is currently 42% (Gallup. com), with citizens mostly angry about the country’s economic situation. However, with his use of new media and strong interpersonal skills, President Obama’s 2008 campaign and subsequent presidency has given Americans the most personal experience of any campaign and presidency to date.
The modern presidential campaign covers every issue in and out of the platform from cranberries to creation. But the public is rarely alerted to a candidate's views about the central issue on which all the rest turn. That central issue-and the point of my comments this noon- is not the farm problem or defense or India. It is the presidency itself. Of course a candidate's views on specific policies ...
In addition, as the first African American president to hold the office, the historical significance of his presidency is enormous. Ultimately, despite the failures president Obama has experienced thus far in his presidency, President Obama’s campaign and presidency was so revolutionary that it will be remembered as great. Barack Obama’s campaign for the 2008 presidential election brought citizens into the election process in a more personal and accessible way than ever before using new media. One of Fred Greenstein’s (2005) characteristics in determining a successful presidency is the ability for the president to be a public communicator.
This means that the president must communicate with the public on what is happening in the country and what decisions are being made. The media has been involved in the presidency since our first president, George Washington. When leaving office, Washington published his Farewell Address in the newspaper. Later, Franklin Delano Roosevelt became famous for his fireside chats during his presidency. Fireside chats were talks given over the radio, with FDR speaking directly to the citizens discussing various issues during his presidency (Milikis, Nelson 2011).
Later, Presidents John F.
Kennedy and Bill Clinton used the emergence of television in their presidential campaigns, and the Clinton era made the first White House Web site with the emergence of the internet. The 2008 presidential election was so groundbreaking since the historically used means of communication such as newspapers, radios, and television, were completely overshadowed by new media– texting, the internet, and social media communication. The Web site for the Obama campaign organized over one hundred fifty thousand events, created more than thirty-five thousand groups, had over 1. million accounts, and raised over $600 million from three million donors.
The campaign used YouTube for free advertising, sending the Web addresses of ads to supporters, and encouraging them to pass the addresses along to their family and friends. Using YouTube instead of broadcast television saved the Obama campaign $47 million dollars. The Obama campaign had over three million Facebook friends, a site populated mostly by college-aged kids at the time, and brought on a gigantic wave of support from young college students supporting the Obama campaign (Hendricks, Denton 2010).
Obamacare is a huge topic being discussed between many politicians and regular people across the country. Obamacare is the major “accomplishment” of President Obamas Presidency. While democrats generally are in favor of Obamacare, the republicans are against it. The arguments against Obamacare are the effects on Medicaid, whether it is constitutional or not, and costs of running it. I personally ...
To illustrate how new media can have a fast impact on a large number of people, communication must be compared from Obama’s time to the first presidency. During George Washington’s time, it took between four and six days for a letter to be delivered from New York to Boston, and six months to communicate with Europe (Greenstein 2006).
In contrast, one Obama campaign text read “Please reply to this message with your five-digit zip code to receive local Obama campaign news and periodic updates. By sending text messages asking for a supporter’s zip code, the Obama campaign made the campaign experience extremely personalized to each supporter. Such methods allowed young citizens who constantly follow social media sites to be involved and interested in the campaign His campaign Web site, my. barackobama. com, allowed citizens to follow Obama’s campaign easily.
The website encouraged communication among supporters, allowing website followers to organize and share events. The website also enabled users to create their own pages, which made the experience highly personalized, and ade users feel connected (Hendricks, Denton 2010).
Obama’s 2008 campaign was so groundbreaking that it even received recognition from Republican candidate John McCain. In his concession speech, he offered his admiration of Obama’s “inspiring the hopes of so many millions of Americans who had once wrongly believed that they had so little at stake or little influence in the election of an American president”. Furthermore, once elected, Obama again utilized new media to allow citizens to be involved in the presidency like never before.
In the early era of the American presidency, politics were not followed by the average person, but followed closely only by the rich and elite. Those involved in the political world were mostly the local white, male elites and those whose families were involved in politics. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt broke the barriers of connecting the public to the presidency with his fireside chats. After the chats, letters would pour in to legislators, urging them to pass the measures Roosevelt had proposed. (Milkis, Nelson).
The American Election 1800 is one of the most controversial elections in U. S. history, when Federalist John Adams and his former vice president and Democrat-Republican Thomas Jefferson run for U. S. Presidency. During 1800, the country was led by Federalist, and Jefferson as Republican opposed to their policies such as their higher taxes and tariffs. Federalist attacked Jefferson into different ...
Fireside chats made the public’s voice stronger than ever before.
Today, with the abilities of modern technology and the extremely fast speed that news can be communicated over the internet, President Obama is taking full advantage of these methods of communication. Similar to FDR’s Fireside Chats over the radio prompting many letters to legislators, Obama has used technology to hear the voice of the people. For example, in 2010, the Obama administration released a website called We The People, which allows citizens to sign petitions online, and therefore have an easy and convenient outlet to let their voices be heard.
Moreover, the name “fireside chat” implies that they were conducted at the fireside — the president was speaking to the people in their homes, where they could be comfortable from by their fireplaces. Similarly, the Obama administration puts out a weekly video called The Weekly Address, in which Obama speaks to the nation about topical issues that occurred that week. In addition, a weekly video called The West Wing is put out, which lets citizens get a look into the happenings at the White House.
With these weekly videos, Americans can see the happenings of the White House conveniently from their homes. These methods can help influence public opinion positively. Public opinion is largely based on how the public asses the quality of the president’s job performance. Public opinion is affected by the public’s need to to see the president in a light that they feel is appropriate. Citizens decide if the president’s convictions and actions comport with their own values. (Greenstein 2005).
Since the earliest presidents, being relatable and personal was an aspect that helped a president to be seen as great. For example, Thomas Jefferson was known for practicing “personal politics”, meaning his personality had power that strengthened his leadership. For example, Jefferson would host regular dinners when Congress was in session. Both Federalists and Republicans coveted to get invitations to these dinners (Greenstein 2006).
Like Jefferson, Obama is known for being personal and relatable. Interestingly, Obama’s campaign also uses coveted dinners to lure in supporters.
When President Obama was elected, he came to office with a mandate to resolve a number of ongoing problems in the United States. The path of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a deepening economic crisis were major issues with which Obama was asked to contend. In the short time he has served as president, Barack Obama has shown excellent leadership in addressing the problems the nation faces. ( ...
The current Obama 2012 election website had a feature called “Win Dinner with Barack and Michelle”, which could be won by donating just $3 to the campaign and being entered into a drawing. Currently, a feature on the website allows the public to add their names to a New Year’s greeting card for the Obama family, after providing an email address and zip code. Tactics such as these shape the public opinion positively, so that people feel that the president is a relatable individual. Moreover, Jeffrey Tulis distinguishes between how much power the public had in the two different types of constitutional presidencies in American history.
In the first constitutional presidency (which was invented at the Constitutional Convention in 1787), presidents looked to be judged by the public after they acted. Woodrow Wilson set a precedent for all presidents after him; power being directed by the public (2010).
This current type of constitutional presidency has been followed by presidents of the past century. President Obama’s connection to the public is taking the second constitutional presidency to a new level, seeking constant public opinion and involvement through new media methods.
Besides his use of new media in both his election and presidency, Barack Obama’s election in 2008 was historically significant in American history as the first ever African American president was elected. Barack Obama’s election inspired much support from voters who had never voted before, but felt that they could connect to Obama, and therefore chose to vote in the 2008 election. Scholar Russel M. Charles stated that President Obama owed many of his votes to people of color, including blacks, Asians, and Latinos.
He cited exit polls that showed that 43 percent of whites voted for Obama, while 95 percent of blacks, 67 percent of Latinos, and 62 percent of Asians supported him (Mathews 2008).
The racial barriers that were broken were not only historically significant, but also inspirational to the American people. After winning the election, President Obama stated “If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.
The War against American Public Schools by Gerald Bracey In his book The War against American Public Schools Gerald W. Bracey, a famous educational psychologist and research analyst, makes an attempt to broadly examine the system of American public education schools and functioning of alternative institutions like vouchers, charters, private schools, etc. He studies and summarizes a variety of ...
Obama’s election was empowering for the African American community across the country. After Obama’s election, Hillary O. Shelton, the vice president for Advocacy at the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) stated, “There’s a new sense of optimism, and a breaking down of many of the stereotypes that have been so profound in this country against African-American males” (Montopli 2009).
In his current campaign for the 2012 elections, Obama has been doing a “grassroots” style of campaigning by visiting African American families across America to hear their stories and try to ensure their support (Cottman 2012).
Although only time will tell if the voters of the 2008 elections will be the supporters of 2012, the historical significance of the 2008 elections, the amount of people who voted for the first time, and the empowerment felt by the African American community will make Obama’s presidency be remembered as a great time for American history.
Despite President Obama changing the presidency forever with his use of new media, as well as the historical significance of his presidency, President Obama still faces great public dissatisfaction, especially in the issues of the economy and job creation. For example, the Occupy Wall Street movement, a movement of protestors fighting against social and economic inequality in America, exemplifies Americans’ dissatisfaction with the economic situation and the corporate world, especially Wall Street, which played a large part in the economic regression.
How the president deals with issues like these are extremely important in determining if the president will be remembered as great. If Obama is granted a second term of office, he will have the opportunity to finish the economic stimulus that he started after his 2008 campaign. There is a precedent for second chances in politics; for example, former President Bill Clinton. He was elected governor of Arkansas in 1978, and became the nation’s youngest state chief executive in four decades.
Life on the Spokane Indian Reservation is filled with shattered dreams and lost Indian souls drowning the sorrows of their people in alcohol. Reservation Blues, a novel by Sherman Alexie, depicts the story of an unlikely group of Indians coming together to chase their dreams with the help of a magic guitar, Big Mom, and their Indian blood as they struggle with the realities of being Indian in a ...
Two years later, he was defeated by a little known Republican and was shocked by this result. Political analysts said that he was defeated because he brought on to much policy with little regard to political feasibility. In addition, Clinton instituted high fees for automobile licenses, which left the citizens of Arkansas unhappy and unimpressed. Clinton was determined to regain his governorship, and taped a commercial apologizing for his shortcomings as a governor. Clinton went on to be re-elected as governor of Arkansas three times (Greenstein 2005).
Furthermore, political scientist Richard Neustadt is a forceful advocate of electing experienced politicians to the presidency. Neustadt feels that experience enhances a president’s self-confidence, which enables the president to make the choices about power which are crucial to success. However, Nesdtadt admits that former presidents Lydon Johnson and Richard Nixon were very experienced but seemed to fail in office. Therefore, Neustadt ultimately concludes that a president’s experience cannot accurately be applied in every case (Pika, Maltese 2004).
Political scientist Bert Rockman points out that when examining presidential rankings, the bottom ten actually had greater government experience, and that the top ten actually had less prior government experience (Rockman 1992).
Whether or not President Obama is re-elected in November, his election and presidency has been so ground breaking and significant that it will be remembered as a great presidency. A testament to his presidency can be seen in the websites of the politicians running for the GOP spot in the 2012 election.
Although many of these websites still trail behind Obama’s in design, creativity, and features, each politician has a functioning website of a much higher caliber than has been seen in the past, thanks to the precedent set by President Obama in the 2008 election. In addition, as the first African American president, African American voters are more likely to vote in the 2012 election than in previous elections before the 2008 election (Cottman 2012).
Although Obama’s current approval rating is 42%, the precedents his election and presidency set affects 100% of future presidencies.