Little by little, one travels far.
Popularity or Policy?
Exploring what makes an effective President
While leadership has been written about and exemplified in our community in a variety of ways throughout the years, we have recently gone through a few executive terms that have not been as well received by the public by their closure. This is not to say that our Presidents have not been hard working or capable, quite the opposite. However, we as Europeian’s are noted across NationStates for having incredibly high standards in our elections, and for our presidential candidates, often providing multiple critical reviews and assessments of candidate platforms, rigorous debates, and are certainly not shy from having our opinion heard throughout the term. The mark of a good leader here though, is the ability to pick both an effective and energetic team, to gear them towards success for seventy days, and to execute and achieve the initial promised goals. The crux of this investigation, however, is to see how our Presidents can or cannot marry the two beasts of both charisma, and vision.
President Kazaman comes to mind as one of the visionaries in the last year, with the end of term approval polling released from the Europeian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC) comments noting his “very intense leading style with the passing of treaties and two successful events.” Yet, the approval here for Kazaman at the end of the term was only 38.4 percent. This is noting that there was a Senate inquiry into the Europeian Republican Navy during the term, but most comments were positive in the reception of him as a leader – however, despite a foreign affairs summit, a reorganisation of our dispatch system, and more, he was not able to win the public with a level of communication or engagement that they had desired.
On March 1, 2021 the EBC reported that President Pichtonia had received high praise for his work as President, achieving a satisfaction rating of 79.9 percent, with many comments reporting that Pichtonia’s term was an incredible success. Pichtonia has been well received by the public for his excellent interpersonal communication, shrewd diplomatic style, and broad ability, evinced by having stepped up to multiple leadership roles in the executive, the senate, and the judiciary. The final tipping point for him not receiving a higher rating and a more successful report was the backlash and difficulties after The Embassy incident that drew wide criticism of its handling. If not for this, Pichtonia likely would have been the most popular and well received president of the last year, although, his energy and ability persist in his current role as vice president, and it is clear that Pichtonia retains the public favour, while maintaining his political power.
The end of term satisfaction polling from the EBC in September of 2021 rated Calvin Coolidge as the most well received President of the year, with his personal approval rating sitting at 92 percent, a whole ten points higher than his earlier term, according to the report from April 2021. One commenter from the September polling seems to have given a fair account of the public reception of Calvin’s term, saying: “Calvin did a good job as president – he set out with an agenda and accomplished it.”
The president with the most criticism received, the most controversial, and yet arguably most interesting for this analysis, was President Lime, who was reported to have a 5.7 percent approval rating, yet earlier battled one of the most intense elections, with both the Lime/SkyGreen24 ticket and Lloenflys/HEM tickets receiving 33 votes each, and the Senate then deciding the election result with then-Senator Sincluda being the “kingmaker” for Lime’s victory. However, this election proved Lime’s tenacity and charisma. He had the fight of an underdog battling his way into power, and clearly impressed many with a determined attitude, platform and policy aims, all backed up by his longstanding and successful legacy as a minister in a multitude of roles, as senate speaker, and senator.
The most recent presidential term has received a 46.6 percent approval rating, according to Euroweekly’s mid-term polling, with the biggest criticism being the president's communication. One commenter said: “Darcness has not really shared anything that has been happening in Europeia and we have not saw much being done by Darcness as the public as well. I am not sure what to say about Darcness's term so far, because we are not getting any signs that Darcness is doing anything.” And while Darcness has certainly faced some internal struggles, such as the resignation of his vice president, forcing him to conduct a re-shuffling of his cabinet, the biggest criticism seems to be his lack of providing insight to the public, and visibility on what he and his staff are doing behind the scenes.
So what do we gain from reviewing the presidents of the last year? Well, we can see that what a president lacks or is criticised for isn’t always the defining feature of their term. Both President Kazaman and President Pichtonia had what many in the public viewed as widely successful terms, they had the administrative skill and policy finesse to back up their decision making throughout their terms, and yet, both suffered foreign affairs nightmares that impacted the overall public perception. Calvin Coolidge, while not always facing an easy road throughout his two terms, was able to build his Cabinet into a strong unit to overcome the difficulties that he faced, such as multiple resignations, the Balder and Osiris tensions, and the initial barrage of the Frontier/Stronghold nightmare. However, he endeared himself to the public with his firmness in decision making, and raw communication and accountability in both a written and radio format, boosted by publicly tracking the promises from his campaign, and earning himself a second term in the Goldenblock that was arguably even better than his first in 2021.
But now at election time again, we are faced with two tickets promising a better Europeia. History tells us that the popular leaders are often followed by leaders committed to the restoration of policy and order, and the less popular leaders are followed by those fighting to ensure their administration has healthy morale, and a successful and stable term. But what we want as the electorate is an executive that can achieve an overarching vision with substance, a president that has the excellence of character and values that we expect of a Europeian, the ability to see through the goals that we elected them to accomplish, and most importantly, a president that will communicate with us, the community, so that we are heard, and we know what our politicians are doing on our behalf. Now all that’s left is for us to decide on who can do that best.