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Politicians keep their promises

2012 article: contrary to popular cynicism, politicians try to keep their campaign promises, whether out of genuine belief or fear of the voters. Campaign mood and rhetoric can be quite indicative of leadership style, too:

"established that about 75 percent of the promises made by presidents from Woodrow Wilson through Jimmy Carter were kept. In Presidents and Promises: From Campaign Pledge to Presidential Performance (1985), Jeff Fishel looked at campaigns from John F. Kennedy through Ronald Reagan. What he found was that presidents invariably attempt to carry out their promises; the main reason some pledges are not redeemed is congressional opposition, not presidential flip-flopping."

'"What we need to do is lead the world to peace. And that’s exactly the kind of president I intend to be.” And it was exactly the kind of president he [Bush II] turned out to be, with regard to foreign policy—never worrying about what other nations thought, considering any type of accommodation or compromise an unacceptable “retreat,” and imagining the most bellicose actions, including, in this case, withdrawing from a treaty and building a new generation of weapons, to be “lead[ing] the world to peace.” '

'Let’s return to George H. W. Bush’s “kinder, gentler” speech, the one in which he made his (later broken) tax pledge. The first thing that’s notable about that speech is how few policy promises are contained in it; all candidates feature a lot of rhetorical flourishes in their convention speeches, but Bush’s was almost entirely composed of them. That in itself was a good predictor of his presidency, especially on the domestic side, in that Bush’s presidency was marked by passivity in domestic policy'

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/january_february_2012/features/campaign_promises034471.php?page=all

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