The Character Factor: How We Judge America's Presidents
WATERGATE. MONICA LEWINSKY. PAINKILLERS IN THE OVAL OFFICE. IRAN-CONTRA. READ MY LIPS. THE CHARACTER FACTOR.
The American president’s character matters. To most Americans, it matters deeply. But how do we define what character means, and why can’t we agree?
In this sober, probing consideration of “the character factor” and the presidency, veteran political analyst James P. Pfiffner leads us through a survey of three aspects of presidential character that have proved problematic for recent chief executives: lies, promise-keeping, and sexual probity. His goal is not to tell us which presidents have been “good” and which “bad.” Rather, he helps us think critically and impartially about complex character issues and invites us to reach our own conclusions.
The Character Factor avoids both the abyss of moral relativism and the desert of political cynicism. It helps us look at our presidents (and our presidential candidates) without illusions, knowing that flawed men can still be great leaders but that some flaws deserve defeat at the polls—or even the ultimate presidential sanction, impeachment.
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Judging Presidential Character
The Nature of Presidential Lies
Serious Presidential Lies
Sexual Probity and Presidential Character
Character Consistency and Campaign Promises
Three Presidents in Crisis
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