Reaction to an article on Dole and Clinton's campaign

Essay by marniHigh School, 12th gradeF, November 1996

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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...