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Trouble With Bill Clinton

’s Character Essay, Research Paper Trouble With Bill Clinton’s Character In the article, “The Trouble With Character” from Time magazine , writer Richard Stengel describes Bob Dole’s attacks on President Bill Clinton’s

’s Character Essay, Research Paper

Trouble With Bill Clinton’s Character

In the article, “The Trouble With Character” from Time magazine , writer

Richard Stengel describes Bob Dole’s attacks on President Bill Clinton’s

character during the second Presidential debate and explains why Dole’s

criticisms did not affect Clinton.

Stengel begins the article by discussing how American parents do not

want their children to aspire to become President as much as they used to. Most

Americans feel that someone else should do the job, and this person is no

moralistic model. Stengel says that the people’s negative portrait of the

President is demonstrated in the roles the President plays in various movies and

novels.

Stengel then discusses the second Presidential debate in which Dole said

that Clinton “single-handedly contaminated the highest office in the land” and

is the leading cause of the public’s distrust of the government. The focus of

Dole’s campaign was not Clinton’s issues, but his moral pertinence. The press

were surprised by the fact that most people think that Dole has a better

character than Clinton, but they still prefer Clinton as President. This notion

comes from the reasoning that most Americans are only concerned with whether or

not the country and its citizens are taken care of, and so disregard the

President’s moral imperfections which, in the people’s opinion, have very little

to do with the issues. So the President can cheat on his taxes or even his wife

and the Americans will overlook it as long as he is getting the job done.

Claims such as these lead some to believe that Americans’ standards of

acceptable moral behavior are going down.

Stengel mentions examples of different presidents and the issues that

gave them a bad reputation to demonstrate the fact that the people’s

expectations of the President have fallen. When it comes to politics, Americans

are becoming more European ? that is, they are becoming more and more tolerant

of the flaws in their leaders. This is why Dole’s complaints are ineffective in

convincing voters.

In my opinion, I think that Stengel is correct in saying that the reason

why Dole’s attacks are not working is voters are not concerned with the

President’s personal shortcomings, but rather his capability of running the

country, and the two are not always closely related. I think that Bob Dole is

going about the whole issue all wrong, and his tactics are not practical and may

even backfire. He is trying to make Clinton look bad by insulting his character,

but in doing so, Dole is revealing a lot about his own.

Take for instance the issue of Clinton and his playful attitude

regarding his use of drugs. Dole is using a personal attack on Bill Clinton to

make the constituents think that Clinton is a drug user saying that he used

drugs during the ’70s. I think the real issue here is not Bill Clinton’s

problem, but the question of what we are going to do to stop drugs. Dole made

such an effort to attack Clinton, but I never heard what Dole had to say about

the issue, and what he is planning to do about it. Looking from his family’s

point of view and taking into consideration the negative impact drugs has had in

his family, I think that Clinton is definitely concerned about drug use in

America.

I agree with Stengel’s belief that this is the way a majority of the

voters feel about Clinton. The lack of conviction that Dole claims is Clinton’s

character flaw is actually his personal strength. Voters see his being

indecisive as “still searching for the answer.” Instead of clinging to the same

traditional values and principles, Clinton is flexible and can adapt to new

concepts and vary along with the times. Like Stengel said, the citizens’

expectations of the President are changing and I think the country needs a

leader who can keep up with a changing world.

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