Political Relationship Marketers and Managers-Presidential Candidates
I was not disappointed in terms of dynamics. Both Senator Kerry and President Bush continued their positions and demeanor, which leads to discussion of the differences between the candidates; one who embraces relationship marketing, and the other, relationship management.
In my last post, I commented that I thought SenatorEdwards was more an effective relationship marketer and Cheney, a more effective relationship manager. For Senator John Kerry and President George W. Bush, they are opposite of their running mates. It's well-known that John Kerry has always been a bit more reserved, and you can see his energy level can only sustain so long in front of people. Senator Kerry is an excellent podium debater, and he has maintained many good relationships over the years, or else he would not be one of the candidates today. On the other hand, George W. Bush was a cheerleader at Yale, but had little interest in developing close relationships with his fellow Cross & Bones members, who are more intellectual (and I don't think I want to know what else they engaged in either), but I don't know if that is completely true. President Bush absorbs energy from being around people who seem to be empathetic; I observed his fervor when engaging one-on-one in front of an audience, and had the ability to move around. John Kerry appears more deliberate in his pace, but he requires a little more time to respond to get his thoughts in order, as seen in debate #2, when reaching for words on the "pro-life" queries from the audience.
The Economist had a very interesting comment this week about the differences of the candidates in how they intend to handle the situation in Iraq. Here is a quote about they see Kerry:
For several months, Mr Kerry made little effort to show how his Iraq policy would differ from Mr Bush's. The most striking difference seemed to be his commitment to multilateral engagement, and his belief in the use of soft (ie, persuasive) power. In a speech on September 20th, however, he put a calculated distance between himself and the president, calling Mr Bush's mistakes in Iraq "colossal failures of judgment" and arguing that "if we do not change course, there is the prospect of a war with no end in sight." He argued for more international collaboration, more support in training Iraqi security forces and clearer priorities for reconstruction efforts; he also claimed that the most important foreign-policy choice in November was between continued failure of the current admistration, but posited his proposed change of direction.
President Bush may be a good relationship marketer with the American people, but how well has he managed his relationships with our global partners? Last night he said he believed we can continue to depend on the UK, Poland, Australia, and South Korea for support, but essentially, we will spend all of the money it takes to win, and he thinks we can afford it. Good relationship marketers can promise, but they have to know what they can deliver. I'm not certain our president has a true grasp on how to manage expectations, other than it will cost a lot of money, trust him, and it will take a long time. Financiers who invest in companies or countries do not buy into this, other than the long term. It's my perception Kerry is looking at the longer term, but important not to promise too much, such as the "read my lips" he was put on the spot to do. Short term and long term goals should be planned and managed well. Unfortunately, many of the US populus think short-term when they have lost their jobs, have a new job, lost a child in the war, or perhaps, they have children going to war soon, if the current adminstration continues "to stay the course."
Although I identify at times with the President's gregariousness and his ability to make people like him through humor (I often do that myself in times of stress), the war and our lackluster economic conditions at home are no laughing matter, and I don't think humor can make up for the lack of information we need to make an informed decision. I perceive Senator Kerry can manage relationships better. He displayed more gravitas than his opponent (see how the President interrupted Charles Gibson during debate #2 in frustration). Senator Kerry and Senator Edwards, I place my trust in you in smoothing out a lot of ruffled feathers at home and abroad.