There exists a popular adage that argues that ‘leaders are born, not made.’ This adage, though used extensively by civilizations across the world, has been proved wrong by systematic studies, which have generated a body of knowledge and evidence indicating to the contrary. Today, more than ever before, the standards or criteria of what constitutes a successful presidency are within our realms, and we now know that many of these qualities are instilled through socialization and life experiences (Thomas & Crawford 11). It is the purpose of this paper to critically evaluate the criteria for a successful presidency from a citizen’s standpoint. A successful presidency must have a strong and clear mandate to govern the electorate (Steuerle para. 1).
President George W. Bush’ second term at the helm of the US presidency is a stark reminder that a clear mandate is needed for one to enjoy a successful presidency. The president had just lost the popular vote to his competitor, Al Gore, but went on to win the Electoral College votes in an election that was largely viewed as controversial. Bush failed to achieve noteworthy policy changes during the last four years he was at the helm despite having all the state resources at his command since he couldn’t be described as a president for all American people. A successful presidency must be able to lead the citizens in all important facets of life. We have witnessed administrations, especially in Africa, that have ascended to power as a result of being politically correct, but without any leadership qualities whatsoever (Thomas &Crawford 25). For example, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, President Kabira transferred the presidency to his first son, who had no previous record of leading at any level.
Several years on, the result of this irresponsible decision can be clearly witnessed as the rule of law has been eroded and replaced by despotic leadership. It is, therefore, imperative that the presidency is led by an individual who is a leader in his or her own right if any meaningful success is to be achieved. A successful presidency must be led by a strong-willed and charismatic president. Here, President Obama seems to capture the mood for this particular criterion.
People will trust you more if they know that they can confide in you all their fears and anxieties, and keep their trust in you as their leader that you’ll help them achieve their stated objectives (Thomas & Crawford 127). This is what Obama used to win the presidency – strong will and charisma. Whether he leaves behind a successful presidency is subject to debate, but all indications suggest that he will be much more successful than many other former presidents. He has already succeeded in rallying American lawmakers to support the Health Bill, an immeasurable achievement that had eroded other U.S. presidents. The president must always have a strong will, that is, he must be an individual who can never be swayed by money, influence, or power.
A successful presidency must be led by an individual with strong oratory prowess. Again, President Obama provides a good example about the power of speaking. The president must be someone with an immense capacity to convince other lawmakers and stakeholders about his intentions, and why such moves are important for the country (Thomas & Crawford 18). This particular characteristic is particularly important for aspiring presidential candidates in the U.S.
as they have to convince the Congress into signing important bills for the prosperity of the nation. This particular criterion goes hand in hand with the standards of image and ethics. An individual aspiring to have a successful presidency must cut across a smart public image, and must always tell the truth no matter the consequences. Another criterion used to evaluate a successful presidency is knowledge and understanding of international relations, including affiliations with other countries.
An individual aiming to have a successful presidency must have a very clear and sharp understanding on international relations. He must be viewed as a peacemaker within and outside his country, and at no time should he be viewed as a war monger since such a title seriously compromises credibility and authority of the presidency (Thomas & Crawford 70). A successful presidency must be led by an individual who employs diplomacy when dealing with international conflicts to the last ounce; one who would only go to war with other countries when all other avenues have been exhausted. George W Bush was not particularly at home with this standard as he made more international enemies during his tenure than he made friends. All in all, there appears to be a huge barrage of criteria that could possibly be used to evaluate the presidency. An informed vision for fellow countrymen and excellent listening skills are also key ingredients towards a successful presidency.
An informed vision is particularly important if the country is to make any headway in terms of social-economic and political development (Thomas & Crawford, 72). Admittedly, from a citizen’s point of view, the standards stated above appear to be most fundamental for a successful presidency.
Steuerle, C.E. Steps towards a Successful Presidency. 2001. Retrieved 6 April 2010http://www.
taxpolicycenter.org/publications/url.cfm?ID=1000127 Thomas, H., & Crawford, C. Listen up, Mr. President: Everything you always wanted your President to know and Do. New York, NY: Scribner. 2009.