When Paul Ryan was named as the Vice-Presidential nominee by Republican Mitt Romney, I was asked about his impact on the Presidential race. I said many times that the Ryan pick would finally energize the conservative base of the Republican Party who were skeptical of their nominee in Ryan. Ryan’s youthful enthusiasm coupled with his wonkish policy appeal was just what the Romney campaign needed. The bland Romney campaign searched for its voice throughout the primary season and through the early stages of the general campaign. Ryan would be that shot in the arm. For a short time, the Ryan pick did help pull even with President Barack Obama in the polls. That momentum seems to have been lost in the last week, as recent reports from the Romney front have stated that Ryan has been muzzled by his Romney’s staffers. Romney’s team wants Ryan to speak less on his “bread and butter” topic, the budget, and more on how badly Obama has run the country. Conservative pundits and grassroots supporters wonder why this is so? Without Ryan’s budget appeal, the Romney campaign was back to where it started, in search of a voice.
How much of a factor should a Vice Presidential pick be for a Presidential ticket? What criteria would you look for when choosing a VP nominee?
Recently, C-Span, the cable channel devoted to covering federal government affairs, began covering the 2016 Presidential race for its Sunday evening series entitled, “Road to the White House.” For political junkies, this could not have started soon enough. To casual political observers, the race for the White House does not begin in 2013, but in 2016. However, imagine yourself as a political insider for either the Democratic or Republican Parties (or for that matter, the Green Party, the Libertarian Party, or other third parties/Independents). What would you be looking for in a candidate at this time in 2013?
How important is the character of a President when studying the governing styles of the nation’s chief executive? For political scientist James David Barber, it is very salient in trying to understand how a President governs. Presidential character, as Barber defines it, can be divided into four parts.
1. Active-Positive: Presidents who fall under this category are very active in their job, have high levels of self-esteem, and work hard towards accomplishing goals.
2. Active-Negative: Those who fall under this category tend to be aggressive in their work, but act as if “they were trying to make up for something or to escape from anxiety into hard work.”
3. Passive-Positive: In this category, Presidents tend to lack self-esteem but have a positive outlook on the results of political decisions. They look for rewards from others because of their positive outlook on life, not because of the work that they do.
4. Passive-Negative: This is someone who believes that they have place in the political system, but a.) does little in his work and b.) does not enjoy the work that he has to do. These individuals believe “that they ought to be in politics” despite their sour nature.
In short, Barber goes on to say, “Active-positive Presidents want to achieve results (George Washington, for example). Active-negatives aim to get and keep power (John Adams). Passive-positives are after love (Thomas Jefferson). Passive-negatives (James Madison) emphasize their civic virtue.”