4

It seems to me that every US president who spends the last year of his presidency campaigning to be re-elected must have much less time to do the current job.

Has the extent to which it is true ever been evaluated? Has any prominent politician ever expressed concerns that the main job is not being done properly if the president is occupied with being re-elected?

7
  • 5
    The same can be said about every political office and for some of them with short terms they have to worry about getting reelected the entire time they are in office.
    – Joe W
    Commented Jul 7 at 18:06
  • @JoeW Okay, you can answer about any elected US political office if you can. Not fixated on POTUS. It's just that if it ever was evaluated/spoken about, it'll likely be about POTUS before any other office.
    – Greendrake
    Commented Jul 7 at 18:24
  • 4
    I am not sure what exactly you are looking for here, every elected official is distracted by the next election even if they are not running again. It tends to be a rare situation where a politician doesn't care about who gets elected next and doesn't want the successor to be someone from their own party. No matter how you look at it this isn't a unique situation for the president and some have it even worse such as members of the house of representatives who have a large focus on fundraising that impacts what roles they get the entire time they are in office.
    – Joe W
    Commented Jul 7 at 18:32
  • I think case is similar also for the presidents in their second term, they are campaigning with/for their successor candidate. I think it is clearly a disadvantage for the USA. A lot of things can not be done this year, like sending the next package in Ukraine. Careful planning can handle it, probably Biden has the team running the business until he is flying USA-wide, but it is still not a real president.
    – Gray Sheep
    Commented Jul 7 at 22:24
  • 2
    I've heard numerous Congress members say in interviews that it's annoying that they spend a great deal of their time calling campaign donors rather than legislating.
    – Barmar
    Commented Jul 8 at 16:03

2 Answers 2

6

You ask:

Has any prominent politician ever expressed concerns that the main job is not being done properly if the president is occupied with being re-elected?

And you clarify:

you can answer about any elected US political office if you can. Not fixated on POTUS.

The answer is yes. In Senator McCain suspended his presidential campaign to focus on the financial crisis and asked then Senator Obama to do the same:

"I cannot carry on a campaign as though this dangerous situation had not occurred, or as though a solution were at hand, which it clearly is not," he says. "As of this morning I suspended my political campaign. With so much on the line, for America and the world, the debate that matters most right now is taking place in the United States Capitol."

1
  • 2
    That looks a little bit campaign-ish for me :-)
    – Gray Sheep
    Commented Jul 8 at 0:08
4

In a democracy, getting elected is part of the job!

By analogy you could ask if preparing for the test distracts students from learning. Perhaps there is something to be said for that point of view, but being a student means not only studying new skills and learning, but also developing the ability to present and apply those skills in a formal assessment.

For a politician, in a democracy, the job is not just "running the country", but also demonstrating to the electorate that they have run the country effectively and competently enough to justify remaining in power. The alternative: a leader who governs without the "distraction" of having to justify themselves to the electorate is a far worse option! (See Russia 1917, Germany 1933 and any other number of examples)

6
  • Not buying this at all. If getting elected was part of the job, how come newbie candidates would be allowed to do job they haven't yet been elected for? Also, no need to conflate not being distracted with being a dictator.
    – Greendrake
    Commented Jul 9 at 16:35
  • "ow come newbie candidates would be allowed to do job" Because they get elected... Really that is the only requirement
    – James K
    Commented Jul 9 at 17:15
  • "but also demonstrating to the electorate that they have run the country effectively and competently enough to justify remaining in power." Shouldn’t this be achieved by running the country effectively and competently instead of by campaigning? Commented Jul 9 at 19:04
  • 1
    AFAIK the last Russian czar did do a lot of campaigning as well via public appearances, big donations, etc, even if he wasn't up for election. Commented Jul 9 at 19:05
  • @MisterMiyagi The problem is if you are running the country effectively and competently there are a lot of things that the people will never hear of. There is a reason why you hear many political commentators state that politicians needs to the people what they did and how it helped them.
    – Joe W
    Commented Jul 9 at 19:28

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .