Wednesday, July 31, 2013

How to Win Your Campaign For Political Office: Campaign Finance

"How to Win Your Campaign For Political Office: Campaign Finance" is the second part to "How To Run For - And Win - Political Office," the last of our "How To" posts this month that started with, "How To Take Over A Political Precinct," "How To Organize Boycotts, Protests, And Demonstrations," Charisma," and "How To Give A Charismatic Speech."

"Campaign Finance," from Wikipedia is a useful start:

"Campaign finance refers to all funds raised in order to promote candidates, political parties, or policies in elections, referendums, initiatives, party activities, and party organizations. The funds could also detract from the opponents of the above. Campaign funds is the subject heading under which all books dealing with money in politics are catalogued by the Library of Congress. Other nations use other terms for the subject and offer a broader perspective. Cross-national comparisons prefer the more comprehensive 'political finance', researchers in continental Europe use 'party finance'. All of them deal with 'the costs of democracy', a term coined by G. Alexander Heard for his famous analysis of campaign finance in the U.S.[1]

"Political campaigns have many expenditures, such as the cost of travel of candidates and staff, political consulting, and/or the direct costs of communicating with voters. The types and purposes of campaign spending depends on the region. For instance, in the United Kingdom, television advertising is provided to campaigning parties for free, while in the United States, it is one of the biggest expenses in the campaign budget, especially for statewide and national campaigns.

"In the U.S. the campaign, political action committee (PAC), and super PAC are adequate terms to identify the units that raise and spend money for political purposes. For most other democracies (including the European countries, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Israel) the political party is a useful concept to identify and aggregate the multitude of entities that raise and spend political funds. Parties run national headquarters, constituency associations, regional branches and local chapters as well as offices in the field. Each of these units collects revenue and incurs expenses that are used to fund political competition.

"Private financing

"Some countries rely heavily on private donors to finance political campaigns. In these countries, fundraising is often a significant activity for the campaign staff and the candidate, especially in larger and more prominent campaigns. For example, one survey in the United States found that 23% of candidates for statewide office surveyed say that they spent more than half of their scheduled time raising money. Over half of all candidates surveyed spent at least 1/4 of their time on fundraising.[6] The tactics used can include direct mail solicitation, attempts to encourage supporters to contribute via the Internet, direct solicitation from the candidate, and events specifically for the purpose of fundraising, or other activities.

"Most countries that rely on private donations to fund campaigns require extensive disclosure of donations, frequently including information such as the name, employer and address of donors. This is intended to allow for policing of undue donor influence by other campaigns or by good government groups, while preserving most benefits of private financing, including the right to make donations and to spend money for political speech, saving government the expense of funding campaigns, and keeping government from funding partisan speech that some citizens may find odious (see [1]). Supporters of private financing systems believe that, in addition to avoiding government limitations on speech, private financing fosters civic involvement, ensures that a diversity of views are heard, and prevents government from tilting the scales to favor those in power or with political influence.

"These kind of donations can come from private individuals, as well as groups such as trade unions and for-profit corporations.

"However, critics of this system claim that it leads to votes being 'bought' and to large gaps between different parties in the money they have to campaign with."

Even though you'll be hiring a campaign treasurer, it pays to know a bit about it yourself, and Wikipedia has a surprisingly comprehensive entry to help you stay out of legal trouble called, "Campaign finance in the United States," (

We also recommend's audio files on money and campaigns, "Take The Money And Run For Office," at  The description of the Prologue: "Host Ira Glass plays a voicemail containing something very common but very rare to hear: an elected official directly asking a lobbyist for money. (4 minutes).

"Practical Tips for Political Careers" is a non-partisan site containing a lot of information for anyone who wants to become a candidate or campaign manager, and in their article, "Raising Money," they briefly cover the two ways to raise campaign money, using your own money or getting it from others:

"Most candidates hate raising money, but the fact is that there are only two ways to get the money you need for your campaign. Either give it yourself or solicit contributions from other people. The self-funded campaign isn’t an option for most candidates so most campaigns need to put together a fund-raising strategy.

"The most helpful tip I can give you is to keep the overhead for your fund-raising operation as low as possible. Almost every campaign has someone who will immediately want to start planning really nice events as fundraisers.  Unfortunately, your supporters can only give a certain amount of money and you really don’t want to have it all go for overpriced boneless breast of chicken and expensive centerpieces. And, in reality, most of your supporters will be quite happy to forgo the fancy dinner and just write the check.

"A tremendous amount of energy goes into making a successful event and, unless you are running for a high level office or you are famous in some other way you will have to work very hard to sell enough tickets to fill up the room with donors. If the room is half empty, word will get around that turnout at your fund-raiser was disappointing and that could hurt your campaign in other ways.

"The one advantage to having an event is that it does give a specific deadline for money to come in. And, some donors do want to make their donation in a way that the candidate knows they are supporting him.

"One option for those contributors is to have breakfast fundraisers with a small group of attendees. Many restaurants and even coffee shops have private rooms that will comfortably fit a group of 10-15 attendees. Generally, the cost is simply the menu price of a breakfast which is usually pretty modest, especially when compared to the cost of a banquet dinner.

"This size group is also ideal for individual supporters to get a group of their friends together to contribute to your campaign."

Next, from their article, "Campaign Treasurer: The Most Important Job on a Political Campaign,":

"The media often quotes campaign managers and consultants. These campaign leadership roles get lots of attention and they are key players in any campaign. However, it would be a mistake to consider your choice of a manager or consultant as the most important personnel decision for your campaign. The position that often gets shuffled off to some well-meaning volunteer with a little accounting or bookkeeping knowledge, the campaign treasurer, is really the most critical role you have to fill.

"Generally speaking, the worst your campaign consultant or manager can do is lose an election. If your campaign treasurer is incompetent or dishonest, he can net you a huge fine or even a possible criminal conviction.  Campaign law violations also look very bad to the voters who may not understand anything about the law you are accused of violating, but who do assume you are a dishonest politician if your campaign breaks the law.

"Larger campaigns generally hire professional campaign treasurers who are well-versed in campaign finance law. A professional treasurer is a reasonable possibility for a smaller campaign. Most of their work is done through campaign software and they have pretty efficient processes set up for filing forms and tracking donations and expenses. If you can find an experienced professional treasurer who has worked with the laws of the jurisdiction where you are running, it is worth getting a cost estimate from them. You may find that they are fairly affordable.

"Before you hire a treasurer be sure that you have all costs and terms in writing so there is no misunderstanding later. Check her references and also check to see if any of her clients have been cited for campaign law violations. Remember that the candidate is held responsible for any errors or omissions even if someone else is doing all the bookkeeping. So, it is vital that you have someone with a great deal of professional integrity as your treasurer.

"If you can’t afford to hire someone or if you can’t find a professional you feel will do a satisfactory job, you need to find a volunteer to fill that role. In the jurisdictions I am familiar with, you can’t even form a campaign committee or raise money without a treasurer. However, don’t just sign up the first willing volunteer you can find to be your treasurer.

"Here are some traits to look for in a volunteer campaign treasurer:
  • Honesty and integrity
  • Attention to detail
  • A willingness to spend time in study to understand the rules
  • A strong supporter of your campaign
  • Someone who doesn’t travel a lot and will be available when you need them at critical times in the campaign
  • Organized and good at setting up systems
  • Computer savvy, preferably with experience using bookkeeping or financial software
"Most jurisdictions have either voluntary or mandatory training sessions for campaign treasurers. Those that don’t have training classes have written training material. Training from the agencies that enforce the rules is usually free or low-priced. Even if the training is optional, you should take whatever sessions are available. And, I would highly recommend that the candidate take the training along with the treasurer. You both need to understand the rules."

And finally, take some time and read an article from The New York Times, "From $25 to $10,000,000: A Guide to Political Donations," at

We'll cover Campaign Strategies tomorrow!


"Let's hang the last king with the guts of the last priest."



Tuesday, July 30, 2013

How To Run For Political Office

We've had a few "How To" posts this month, "How To Take Over A Political Precinct," "How To Organize Boycotts, Protests, And Demonstrations," Charisma," and "How To Give A Charismatic Speech," and we end the month by presenting another political activist lesson, "How To Run For - And Win - Political Office."

A common way to enter the political arena is to start at the bottom by becoming a prosecutor, or winning seats on the local school board or planning committee, running for a local city office, followed by a state seat, and then off and running in the larger world of national politics.  Some are able to jump right into national office by running first for a Congressional or Senate seat, although this is rare.  But all campaigns carry some common features, even though laws regarding elections vary from state to state.

In any event, some knowledge of politics in general is helpful, as we see in the article at, "How To Understand Politics," edited by Desuiseiseki, Teresa, Garshepp, RMunsonNJ, and "17 others.":

"Politics is a broad, complicated subject. It involves issues like diplomacy, war, government finance, and such. It also is a significant part of your life, since it's what dictates how you're allowed to live, so it's a good idea to understand it.


"1.  Learn about all the types of government and how they work. It's important to learn about the governments of other countries, as well as your own, in order to understand how and why your country interacts with others. Learn the pros and cons of all the governments as well.

"2.  Learn specifically about how your country is run. This goes from national government all the way down to city government. Voting and lawmaking is also included in this.

"3.  Find out what rights you are guaranteed and where their limits are. In America, for example, people are guaranteed free speech. However, free speech ends where another person's rights begin. Threatening to kill someone, for example, is not covered under the freedom of speech. Learn what your rights are and how you can exercise them.

"4.  Watch and read political news to find out about current events. There will no doubt be issues in the paper and media that are of political nature. This could include elections, social issues, the economy, other countries, or government-related problems.

"5.  Research current events in depth. Look at how the event came to be, what the effects of the event are, and what people's opinions on the event are. Research all sides, not just one, and discuss it with your peers in order to gain better insight on it.

"6.  Look up words you don't understand. Expanding your vocabulary is a good way to understand what politicians are talking about.

"7.  Ask someone that you trust about issues you don't understand. If there's something you just can't find out by research, ask someone what the issue is about and what the background is.

"8.  Learn about all the different economies as well as the pros/cons of each. The economy is a hot issue in many countries, and effects your life. Politicians all have their own ideas and solutions about the economy and the struggles their countries face with it.

"9.  Look into politicians' backgrounds and political records. There are usually websites that have a record of politicians and what they vote for. Google their names and see what kind of opinions they have and how they're voting. This is especially useful for when you begin voting for representative

"10. Write to your representatives or officials but be very sure to give your city, county, state and mailing zone/code or they will almost always treat your email or letter as spam or junk mail. This is because the government officials often get letters from people whom they do neither represent nor have authority over their issues. Junk mail (propaganda or advertising) is a waste of time and effort for them as with anyone...

"11. Try to acquire a better understanding about how power works (not just political, but also economic). Understand that democracy isn't perfect so there is much more to take into account you you really want to take politics seriously, i.e., if you really want to contribute to change the world. Read Marx, Rousseau, and so on.

There are exceptions to the rules above as we have seen with the meteoric rise of individuals like Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann, but their careers tend to be shorter than the informed candidates - and if they could do it, as an even more knowledgeable person, so can you!

The basics of running for office are outlined first in a short post, "How To Run For Political Office," at, Edited by Linda Rogers, Ben Rubenstein, Jen, Flickety and "23 others":

"So you want to run for office--'get into the world of politics?' Many qualified candidates fail to reach their goals because they make the same mistakes. Major problems can be solved by drawing up a plan to follow during the campaign, in effect, a 'road map to victory.' A campaign plan allows you to know where the pitfalls and strengths lie. It can even give a healthy estimate on funds needed to achieve victory and where to find it. These are some tips and guides to help candidates run a more effective campaign. Check into how to get started in local politics there are several options and steps.


(We'll interject here to note that candidacies often start with a coffee klatche, an informal meeting at a friend's house with people invited over that might be interested in your candidacy - Joyce, Jnr.)

"1.  Make sure you really want to run for political office and that your family is willing. If you have younger kids, make sure they understand that mom or dad may be a little more busy in the near future.

"2.  Figure out your budget. Talk to officials within your political party to see to what extent (if at all) the local or national party will provide financial assistance. Determine what you'll be able to contribute out of your own pocket.

"3.  Find a capable core of individuals to build your campaign around. This will likely consist of people like a chief of staff, a fundraising director, a public relations director, and the such.
The exact scope and makeup of your staff will depend on many factors, including your hiring budget and the level of office you're running for.

"4.  Research issues in the district you're running in and brainstorm with your core.

"5.  Research your opponent(s).

"6.  Develop your message, your logo and a simple memorable campaign slogan.

"7.  Get access to your party's database. In addition, any other consumer demographics you can find or buy. Database, database, database. Everything always goes back to the database.

"8.  Develop a fund-raising plan about mailings, speaking, etc.

"9.  Send out requests, telephone and meet with major party contributors for initial contributions to fuel the beginning campaign.

"10. Generate an initial campaign literature print piece with your background and picture.

"11. Order stacks of donor envelopes with a volunteer form printed right on them.

"12. Have your Web site set up and ready with ability to collect money and gather voter data before you formally announce.

"13. Make your announcement at an event with the maximum press coverage possible.

"14. Get petitions signed and delivered on time.

"15. Develop additional graphics, posters, print materials, etc.

"16. Investigate multi-media video, TV, Web, etc.

"17. Coordinate letter writing campaigns to the editors.

"18. Prepare for debates and interviews (practice seriously).

"19. Organize and motivate volunteers: Phone banking addressing envelopes, house parties, door-to-door etc. Most campaigns are won on the ground.

These are the "basics," and we will move on to "How to Win Your Campaign For Political Office," next.


"Persuade thyself that imperfection and inconvenience are the lot of natural mortals,
and there will be no room for discontent, neither for despair."
Tokugawa Ieyasu ("Toranaga" in the novel and film, Shogun.)


Monday, July 29, 2013

8 Reasons Why Ronald Reagan Was The Worst President In Our Lifetime

Unless they're among themselves Conservatives hate talking about two of the worst presidents in U.S. history, Nixon and Bush 43, but they're shameless when it comes to trumpeting the aura of that demented, vicious, ignorant, old man, that "B" Hollywood actor - Ronald Reagan.

Talk about putting lipstick on a pig.

We've covered the mean old man in several pieces, "Reagan: Worst President of Our Lifetime (," "Shocking New Evidence of Reagan's Treason (," "Reagan: Worst President Than Bush 43? (," and "Reagan: Demented, Vicious - or Both? (," and because of a canard by a Sheeplet that we saw yesterday about "Reagan the tax-cutter," we must repeat an essay we copied last year by Robert Sobel at the, "8 reasons why Ronald Reagan was the worst president of our lifetime.":

"If you ever happen to come across a Republican on television these days, chances are that you will hear the name Ronald Reagan. Recent Republican debates are the perfect example of the love fest that the current Republican party has for Reagan as each candidate name drops the former president at every turn. If you only listened to conservatives you would think that Jesus Christ was the only person above Reagan on the totem pole of conservative love. They talk about his love of low taxes, less government and conservative family values. The problem is that when you step out of the conservative dream and come back to reality, you find that not only was Ronald Reagan a bad president, but he was one of the worst presidents we've seen in modern times. Reagan's policies have destroyed the United States for three decades, and for the eight years he was in office, here are eight reasons why Ronald Reagan was the worst president of our lifetime.

"1. Reagan cut taxes for the Rich, increased taxes on the Middle Class -

Ronald Reagan is loved by conservatives and was loved by big business throughout his presidency and there's a reason for it. When Reagan came into office in January of 1981, the top tax rate was 70%, but when he left office in 1989 the top tax rate was down to only 28%. As Reagan gave the breaks to all his rich friends, there was a lack of revenue coming into the federal government. In order to bring money back into the government, Reagan was forced to raise taxes eleven times throughout his time in office. One example was when he signed into law the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982. Reagan raised taxes seven of the eight years he was in office and the tax increases were felt hardest by the lower and middle class.

"2. Tripling the National Debt -

"As Reagan cut taxes for the wealthy, the government was left with less money to spend. When Reagan came into office the national debt was $900 billion, by the time he left the national debt had tripled to $2.8 trillion.

"3. Iran/Contra -

"In 1986, a group of Americans were being held hostage by a terrorist group with ties to Iran. In an attempt to free the hostages, Ronald Reagan secretly sold arms and money to Iran. Much of the money that was received from the trade went to fund the Nicaragua Contra rebels who were in a war with the Sandinista government of Nicaragua. When the scandal broke in the Untied States it became the biggest story in the country, Reagan tried to down play what happened, but never fully recovered.

"4. Reagan funded Terrorists -

The attacks on 9/11 by al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden brought new attention to international terrorism. All of a sudden, Americans coast to coast wore their American flag pins, ate their freedom fries and couldn't wait to go to war with anyone who looked like a Muslim. What Americans didn't realize was that the same group that attacked the United States on 9/11 was funded by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. Prepping for a possible war with the Soviet Union, Ronald Reagan spent billions of dollars funding the Islamist mujahidin Freedom Fighters in Afghanistan. With billions of American dollars, weapons and training coming their way, the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden took everything they were given and gave it back to the United States over a decade later in the worst possible way imaginable.

"5. Unemployment issues -

When Ronald Reagan came into office 1981, unemployment was at 7.5%. After Reagan cut taxes for the wealthy, he began raising taxes on the middle and lower class. Corporations started to ship more jobs out of the United States while hiring cheap foreign labor in order to make a bigger profit. While corporations made billions, Americans across the country lost their jobs. As 1982 came to a close, unemployment was nearly 11%. Unemployment began to drop as the years went on, but the jobs that were created were low paying and barely helped people make ends meet. The middle and lower class had their wages nearly frozen as the top earners saw dramatic increases in salary.

"6. Ignoring AIDS -

"By the time the 1980s came around, AIDS had become one of the most frightening things to happen to the country in recent memory. No one understood what AIDS and HIV really was and when people don't understand something, they become scared of it. The fear of the unknown was sweeping across the country and Americans needed a leader to speak out about this horrible virus, that leader never came. Instead of grabbing the bull by the horns and taking charge, Reagan kept quiet. Reagan couldn't say the words AIDS or HIV until seven years into his presidency, a leader not so much.

"7. Reagan gave amnesty to 3 million Undocumented Immigrants -

"In today's GOP, the idea of any immigrant staying in the United States whether they are legal or illegal isn't something that conservatives embrace. What might shock them is that in 1982 Ronald Reagan gave nearly 3 million undocumented workers amnesty. The biggest reason for undocumented workers coming to the United States is because corporations hire them at a cheaper rate than they would an American citizen. All the laws that would have cracked down on companies who hire undocumented workers were, of course, removed from the bill.

"8. His attack on Unions and the Middle Class -

"The Republican war on unions and the middle class has been heating up in states like Wisconsin and Ohio, but it has been going on for a long time. Unions are formed to give a united voice to the workers in an attempt to create fairness between the corporations and their employees. On August 3rd, 1981, PATCO (Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization) went on strike in an effort to get better pay and safer working conditions. Two days later, taking the side of business, Ronald Reagan fired 11,345 workers for not returning to work."

It wasn't hard to believe that Reagan suffered from Alzheimer's when the Nation watched while he fumbled his way through explaining his role in the Iran-Contra scandal on television,  managing as the "Teflon President" to lie his way out of culpability by showcasing his dementia, but the fact that voters actually elected him with a record-breaking margin after watching him fumble his way through the debate with Walter Mondale is totally stupefying and will remain an embarrassment to the country forever.

(See The New "October Surprise" series from at, and be sure to search that remarkable site for more on how Reagan stole the Presidency.)

When Reagan was incapacitated with Alzheimer's disease for so many years before finally expiring, many took delight in imagining him looking up at his shoe-fetishish second wife Nancy, crying out for his first wife, crying out in delight, " that you?"  Schadenfreude.

As the attack on labor unions and trickle-down economics helped bring the country to its present state and California to its current shaky state since he was its Governor, the effect of Reagan's presidency on the country still lingers on, just as the effect of laws passed by Congresses controlled by the GOP lingers on to benefit the upper class to the detriment of the 98 percent of the rest of the country.

A major action of criminalizing Conservatism will be to repeal any and all laws promulgated by those Congresses, by all of the Conservative-controlled Supreme Courts, as well as by GOP Presidents like one of the most vicious of them all - Ronald Wilson Reagan.


"I'm not afraid to die. I just don't want to be there when it happens."

Woody Allen


Sunday, July 28, 2013

How To Be A Charismatic Political Leader

In his article at Psychology Today, Ronald E. Riggio, Phd. wonders, "Are Charismatic Leaders Born or Made?  Can anyone become a charismatic leader?":

"The question of whether leaders are born or made is an old one. Recent research has provided a good answer: about one third consists of inborn qualities (e.g., temperament, personality), with two-thirds being 'made' - developed over time through parenting, schooling, and experience.

"But what about charismatic leaders? There is a strong belief that charisma is some innate quality or characteristic. You either have it or you don't. Truly charismatic leaders, such as Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, and FDR seemed to possess some 'magical' qualities. Likewise, everyday charismatic leaders seem to have some sort of gift (after all, charisma is defined as a "divine gift of grace"). But there is growing evidence that people can become more charismatic.

"Research has determined some of the key elements of charisma. Some are related to style (and personality), and may represent the 'born' part of charisma, while other elements are behaviors that are acquired, developed, and honed over time. Some recent dissertations sought to train people to be more charismatic, and there was some success in doing this. Of course, individuals in these training programs were not transformed overnight. Developing the qualities associated with charisma requires a lot of effort and energy, and some people are better at developing charisma than others.

"However, charisma is not something magical or mysterious. It is deeply rooted in ability to communicate emotionally (related to the notion of 'emotional intelligence') and relationship skills that allow charismatic individuals to make deep connections with others. Oratorical skills, being positive and optimistic, and being emotionally expressive are also part of the building blocks of charisma.

"Years ago, I wrote about our research with charisma and our early efforts to train people to be more charismatic. We are continuing this research, but focusing more broadly on developing emotional and interpersonal skills and helping leaders to become more skilled communicators in general. Of course, as one becomes a more skilled communicator, he or she is more likely to be perceived as "charismatic" by others.

"So, the answer to the question is this: Yes! Charismatic leaders are both born and made. No doubt there are 'naturally' charismatic individuals, but leadership, like charisma, can be developed and trained.


"Avolio, Bruce J. (2005). Leadership Development in Balance: Made/Born. Lawrence Erlbaum Publishers.

"Riggio, Ronald E. (1988). The Charisma Quotient: What It Is, How to Get It, How to Use It. Dodd Mead.

"Test your personal charisma here."

Now that we know Charisma can be learned, let's learn how...from, a few (.pdf) paragraphs on "Charisma: The Key To Hitler's Rhetoric," an essay that gives us the flavor of Charisma:

"Hitler as a Charismatic Leader

"Hitler once declared, 'everything I have accomplished resulted from persuasion.' Rhetoric was the key to
Hitler’s success. Charisma was the key to Hitler’s rhetoric. I will describe several topics relevant to his ethos, illustrate Hitler’s acknowledged skill as an orator, and, using German sociologist/economist Max Weber’s definition and description of charisma, focus on four main characteristics of 'the Hitler Myth':
"• Hitler as a man of conviction
• Hitler as a successful leader
• Hitler as a man of destiny
• Hitler asChrist’s disciple"
Rhetoric was the key to Hitler’s success. Ethos/charisma was the key to Hitler’s rhetoric. Aristotle describes ethos as one of three means of persuasion, along with emotional appeal (pathos) and logical argument (logos). Writes Aristotle, 'the character of the speaker is a cause of persuasion when the speech is so uttered as to make the speaker worthy of belief.' For Aristotle, 'the speaker’s character [as perceived by the
audience] is the most potent of all the means of persuasion.'

"Several assumptions underlie charismatic leadership. First, it is based on perception not necessarily on
realty. Weber explains, “what is alone important is how the individual is actually regarded by those subject
to charismatic authority, by his ‘followers’ or ‘disciples’. The validity of charismatic authority rests entirely on
recognition by the ruled, on ‘proof ’ before their eyes.” Adds Willner, “it is not what the leader is but what people see the leader as that counts in generating the charismatic relationship.” Secondly, charismatic rhetoric is amoral. Aristotle explains, 'If it is urged that an abuse of the rhetorical faculty can work great mischief, the same charge can be brought against all good things (save virtue itself), and especially against the most
useful things such as strength, health, wealth, and military skill. Rightly employed, they work the greatest blessings; wrongly employed they work the utmost harm.”  Declares Willner, charismatic leadership is 'inherently neither moral nor immoral, neither virtuous nor wicked. Such questions arise only when we wish to evaluate whether a particular charismatic leader has used the relationship in the service of good or evil.' 

"Finally, because it rests in the eye of the beholder, charismatic leadership defies a standard profile.  Nyomarky explains that confirmation to a 'definable pattern of traits' is unnecessary for charismatic leadership.

"Hitler’s charismatic appeal was not limited to the German public. Close associates also succumbed to his ethos. Hitler’s secretary, Christa Schroder, writes in her memoirs, 'He possessed a gift of a rare magnetic power to reach people, a sixth sense and a clairvoyant intuition. He could in some mysterious way foretell the subconscious reactions of the masses and in some inexplicable manner mesmerize his audience.' Erwin Rommel, Hitler’s greatest general who was involved in the 1944 plot to assassinate Hitler, wrote to his wife in 1943, 'what power he radiates. What faith and confidence he inspires in his people.' Albert Speer, Hitler’s architect and munitions minister asks rhetorically in his memoirs, 'How is it possible that he captivated me so – and for more than a decade.'  Leni Reifenstahl, an award winning film director/producer and actress before Hitler came to power in 1933, recalls hearing Hitler speak for the first time in 1932: 'It seemed as if the earth’s surface was spreading out in front of me, like a hemisphere that suddenly splits apart in the middle, spewing out an enormous jet of water so powerful that it shook the earth. I felt quite paralyzed.'  After this experience Reifenstahl wrote to Hitler offering to produce movies for the Third Reich.

"Success Vital to Charisma
“'The Hitler Myth' portrayed a leader who possessed numerous charismatic characteristics including: courage, intelligence, goodwill, aloofness, benevolence, asceticism, even sex appeal. Most importantly 'the Hitler Myth' projected Hitler’s 'exceptional, supernatural, and extraordinary powers' by emphasizing his success and strength of character. He was perceived by millions of Germans to be providential – even messianic.

"Germans were not alone in lauding Hitler. One of his strongest admirers was Winston Churchill. In 1936 Churchill writes, 'Hitler is the greatest German of the age… he has restored Germany’s honor.'  In 1937 Churchill describes Hitler’s achievements as 'among the most remarkable in the whole history of the world.' In 1938 Churchill’s admiration for Hitler was almost ecstatic: 'I have always said that if Great Britain were
defeated in war I hoped we should find a Hitler to lead us back to our rightful position among nations.'

"Supreme Self-Confidence
"German philosopher Frederick Nietzsche expressed a quality indispensable for charismatic leadership:  'Men believe in the truth of all that is seen to be strongly believed.'  Hitler projected unbounded self-confidence. Walter Langer, a Harvard psychologist, prepared a profile of Hitler for the Office of Strategic Services (predecessor of the CIA) in 1943. Langer listed Hitler’s 20 strongest qualities, emphasizing that 'Hitler’s strongest point is perhaps his firm belief in his mission. It is the spectacle of a man whose
convictions are so strong that he sacrifices himself for the cause that appeals to others and induces them to follow his example.' Otto Dietrich, who saw Hitler regularly for 12 years as his press secretary, avows, 'Hitler’s dominant characteristic was his extraordinary will power. He considered himself one of the very great men of history.'"

The simple, yet effective view on how to inject charisma into your public speaking comes from Gary Genard in an article at, "4 Easy Ways to Become a More Charismatic Speaker.":

"Here are four simple yet powerful techniques to make your presentations enjoyable for audiences. They work for informative speeches, motivational speaking, and persuading listeners. Equally important, they'll help you shine in your audience's eyes:

"1. Make eye contact. Simply put, no behavior is as fundamental to persuasion as looking at the person you’re talking to. When was the last time you trusted somebody who wouldn’t look you in the eye?

"So actively look at and relate to your audience when you speak. (When I say actively, I mean let your gaze linger for a half-a-second to a second. Don’t “flick” your eyes at your listeners.) They’ll like you more. They’ll decide that you’re basically honest. Most important, they’ll be more willing to be influenced by you.

"Avoid their gaze just because you’re nervous—or weakest of excuses, because you’re busy reading your manuscript out loud—and you’ll have virtually no chance of changing their thinking or behavior for the better.

"2. Enjoy yourself. Now there’s a novel concept! Our culture has somehow invested public speaking with an aura of inconvenience, horror, and even torture—as if the entire experience belongs in an Edgar Allan Poe story.

"But think about your own experiences as an audience member. Are you comfortable listening to a speaker who is clearly embarrassed or fearful?

"A speaker who instead presents with verve broadcasts a completely different message. Audiences instinctively feel that this is a person who has something valuable to say. It must be good stuff, they think—look at how much he or she is enjoying talking about it! Pretty soon, we as the speaker are enjoying ourselves as well.

"3. Smile. As public speakers we don’t smile enough, period. Smiling is another prerequisite to establishing trust with audiences (though it’s not as critical as eye contact). At the very least, it’s visual evidence of the speaker’s enjoyment I just mentioned in the last paragraph.

"In speaking situations where you feel a smile is inappropriate, take one of two alternate paths: (a) “open” your countenance by assuming a pleasant expression; or (b) raise your cheekbones.

"To explain what I mean by that last point, look at the famous painting American Gothic. That’s the one of the grim-faced farmer and his wife, complete with pitchfork. Now compare it to the Mona Lisa. There’s a lady with some raised cheekbones . . . and look how successful she’s been.

"4. Energize your voice. Have you ever had to strain to hear what a speaker is saying? Soft-talkers and under-energized presenters make us work too hard just to hear them. Worse, these speakers seem distant, as though we've been left out of the communication loop.

"Instead, be sure to generate enough vocal power and energy to reach every listener in the room. That includes not only people in the back, but those who are hard of hearing (always assume there is someone in this category in your audience). Remember also that your vocal energy must change in different spaces: the larger the speaking venue, the more you must project your voice. In auditoriums and lecture halls that echo, you’ll also have to speak slowly enough for the echo to reach your listeners before you go on.

"When you project sufficient energy in a presentation, you make everything easier for your listeners. Now they feel they can relax, instead of working overtime to do part of your job for you.

"(This article originally appeared in Dr. Gary Genard’s book available online at How to Give a Speech.)"

Almost every article on developing a charismatic presence carries the same information, and we present a few links to get you started on your way to fame, power, and fortune:


How to be a compelling and charismatic speaker

How to be a charismatic speaker

Communicate with “Charisma”

How to become a powerful charismatic public speaker

The Führer as a Speaker, by Dr. Joseph Goebbels

12 tactics to become more charismatic and influential

Can Charisma Be Taught?  Top 10 tips to be a more effective leader.

Charisma: who has it, and how to get it.  Are you simply born with charisma, or can anyone be taught the art of ‘lighting up a room’?

Charisma: charisma theory, charismatic powers and force of character - definitions, understanding, developing qualities of charisma, personal presence and gravitas.

How Charisma Is Perceived From Speech.  A Multidimensional Approach. (.pdf)

The photographs of Hitler were taken by his personal photographer Heinrich Hoffmann to give the 'showman' Fuhrer an insight into how he looked to the German public.  They show the dictator rehearsing for his hate-filled monologues using a range of bizarre expressions and hand gestures.
The pictures, taken in the late 1920s, show Hitler addressing a pretend audience.  Once he saw them, he would vet the pictures and decide whether to incorporate the various animated movements in his engagements.  He would vet the pictures and decide whether to incorporate the various animated movements in his engagements, as the pictures, taken in the late 1920s, show Hitler pointing at a pretend audience, raising a clenched fist, opening his palms as if imploring a crowd to stand up and frowning angrily.

The concluding paragraphs from the essay, "The Fuhrer and the power of oratory,"

"Standing on a podium before thousands of Nazi party members, Hitler crossed his arms... and waited a full minute before starting to speak.

"The audience had already been kept waiting over an hour for his arrival into the hall.

"When it came to making speeches, the Fuhrer was a master of manipulation and presentation.

"In the early years of his rise to power, he often spoke in Beer Halls - and tailored his style of talking accordingly as the crowds became more inebriated.

"He would begin precisely, logically and in a restrained manner.

"But as his audience warmed to him - and had drunk more - he would launch into a ranting, raving, almost hypnotic speech style.

"Hitler was fascinated by mesmerism and even hired a voice trainer to hone this talent.

"By 1932, German production had fallen by half, with 6million unemployed during the depression.

"So in order to sway the masses, Hitler would speak of his vision of a 'great national revival'.

"And his largest asset was his oratory.

"Egon Hanfstaengl, the son of Hitler's foreign press officer, said during a recent documentary, Fatal Attraction Of Hitler: 'He had that ability which is needed to make people stop thinking critically and just emote.

"'The ability derived from his readiness to throw himself totally open - to appear bare and naked before his audience, to tear open his heart and display it.'

"And he displayed well. In his carefully orchestrated public addresses, with its grand ritual and sense of unity, Hitler gave the people what they wanted."

No one has suggested anywhere in this article or anywhere on this site that National Socialism is the way to eliminate Conservative politics from the face of the earth, but lessons can be learned from this post on political speaking and Charisma, lessons that might transform an ordinary man or woman to a position of power that can be used to wipe the Conservative scourge from our lives once and for all.


"Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education."

Bertrand Russell


Saturday, July 27, 2013


Juan Peron, Adolf Hitler, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kenney, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Charley Manson, Jim Jones, and George Wallace, what did they all have in common? Charisma.

Most people know a charismatic leader when they see one, but are hard pressed to define Charisma, much less learn how to be a charismatic speechmaker.

Our recent series on "How To Organize Boycotts, Protests, And Demonstrations" was heavy on political theory to explain political activism, and we begin a new series to explain Charisma - as well as an attempt to teach you how to be a charismatic political leader.  (Political Governance must be learned also, but we'll leave that subject for another day.)

In their entry on "Charisma," Wikipedia noted that the source of the word in the political science sense, came from German sociologist Max Weber.  "Weber introduced the personality charisma sense when he applied charisma to designate a form of authority. To explain charismatic authority he developed his classic definition:
"Charisma is a certain quality of an individual personality by virtue of which he is set apart from ordinary men and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities. These are such as are not accessible to the ordinary person, but are regarded as of divine origin or as exemplary, and on the basis of them the individual concerned is treated as a leader."
And in their entry on "Charismatic Authority," Wikipedia notes, 'The concept has acquired wide usage among sociologists. Other terms used are "charismatic domination"[1] and "charismatic leadership".[2]


"Charismatic authority is
"[P]ower legitimized on the basis of a leader's exceptional personal qualities or the demonstration of extraordinary insight and accomplishment, which inspire loyalty and obedience from followers.[4]
"As such, it rests almost entirely on the leader. The absence of that leader for any reason can lead to the authority's power dissolving. However, due to its idiosyncratic nature and lack of formalorganization, charismatic authority depends much more strongly on the perceived legitimacy of the authority than Weber’s other forms of authority. For instance, a charismatic leader in a religiouscontext might require an unchallenged belief that the leader has been touched by God, in the sense of a guru or prophet.[5] Should the strength of this belief fade, the power of the charismatic leader can fade quickly, which is one of the ways in which this form of authority shows itself to be unstable.

"In contrast to the current popular use of the term charismatic leader, Weber saw charismatic authority not so much as character traits of the charismatic leader but as a relationship between the leader and his followers. The validity of charism is founded on its 'recognition' by the leader's followers (or 'adepts' - Anhänger).
"His charisma risks disappearing if he is 'abandoned by God' or if 'his government doesn't provide any prosperity to those whom he dominates'.[b]"
Do you have to have an extraordinary personality to be a charismatic speechmaker?  Not according to the article:


"Len Oakes, an Australian psychologist who wrote a dissertation about charisma, had eleven charismatic leaders fill in a psychometric test, which he called the adjective checklist, and found them as a group quite ordinary. Following the psychoanalyst Heinz Kohut, Oakes argues that charismatic leaders exhibit traits of narcissism and also argues that they display an extraordinary amount of energy, accompanied by an inner clarity unhindered by the anxieties and guilt that afflict more ordinary people."

Psychology Today offers their short definition of  Charisma, ("What is Charisma?  Charisma is the ability to attract, charm, and influence the people around you. Charisma is often said to be a mysterious ineffable quality you either have or you don't, but it's actually easy to break down many of the factors that make someone charismatic: confidence, exuberance, and optimism, as well as a ready smile, expressive body language, and a friendly and passionate voice.") 

Denise Restauri at Forbes Magazine takes a stab at defining charisma on a personal level in her article, "5 Qualities of Charismatic People. How Many Do You Have?":

"Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama have it. Their husbands also have it. The 'it' is charisma. Girls and women talk about the power of charisma – how they want it and how they admire it. Like this response from a 17-year-old girl when I asked her why Hillary Clinton and Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, are on her top 10 list of women she admires: 'They are charismatic. Who wouldn’t want to look up to a charismatic person?!'

"And who wouldn’t want to be charismatic? Synonyms for charisma are alluring, bewitching, captivating, fascinating, charming, enchanting, engaging, magnetic and seductive. Charisma is powerful and charismatic people can make others 'drink the Kool-Aid.' When possessed by people like Adolf Hitler and Charles Manson, charisma is dangerously powerful. But when it’s used for good, the Kool-Aid is really sweet.

"Let’s do a quick word association. Close your eyes and think of the wordCharismatic. What famous people pop into your head? The first five people who pop into my head are Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Gloria Steinem, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. They are followed by Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton, Oprah, Steve Jobs and George Clooney.

"This word association led me to this question: Can someone be charismatic to me, but not to you? I thought about the Beatles. When they arrived in the US in 1964, the Beatles were high on the charisma chart for girls, but low for parents. They had a ‘mop-top’ charisma. They were playful, ‘fit together’ and every girl thought I Want To Hold Your Hand was written just for her. The Beatles were mesmerizing to girls, but not so appealing to parents.

"Why are some people charismatic and others are not? Are we born charismatic or do we cultivate it? And once you have it, can you lose it?

"To dig deeper into the mysteries about charismatic people and to find answers to my questions, I went to Joyce Newman, President of the Newman Group. Joyce leads high level media, speaker and executive presence sessions for top executives, celebrity spokespersons, athletes and authors. Her clients include Booz Allen Hamilton, NARS Cosmetics, Hearst Magazines, Maybelline New York and Skadden, Arps. Joyce helps people find their personal style and tune into and turn on their charisma. Joyce shares her insights on charisma and how to be a charismatic person:
"Everyone can be charismatic. We are not born charismatic – we cultivate it in many ways. One way is by observing and learning from people who you think are charismatic. You don’t need to copy them, but learn their secrets, try them on and fine-tune them until they fit you. It’s a trial and error process. Bad news is that once you have your charismatic status, you can lose it. Just look at Mel Gibson and Lindsay Lohan. But here’s the good news – if you lose it, with self awareness and effort, you can regain your charismatic ranking.
"Here are 5 important qualities of a charismatic person – how many do you have?

"1) Be Self Confident

"Like yourself. It’s much easier for others to like you if you like yourself.

"Be optimistic. Keep your glass half-full. Be enthusiastic.

"Be comfortable with who you are. Be consistent.

"Hold your own. Think Sheryl Sandberg – she holds her own in a male dominated geeky world and is still feminine. She knows herself and isn’t trying to be someone else.
"Don’t: Trot out all your issues. No one wants to be with Debbie Downer. We all have problems, but compartmentalize them, park them in a corner and bring them out for close friends and family.

"2) Tell Great Stories

“'The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.” (Muriel Rukeyser, Poet and Activist)'

"Speak with conviction. Use words like 'I am sure' vs. tentative words like 'I think, I hope and I feel.'

"Be tuned into humor. Self-deprecating humor can included – it’s ok to tell a story about an embarrassing moment.

"Be relevant. Know what’s happening in the world and around you. People want to be with people who are in the know.

"Don’t: Confuse humor with bad joke telling. Don’t self-deprecate yourself out of the conversation. Don’t put yourself down so much that it takes away from who you are.

"3) Body Speak

"Be open and approachable. Gracious and graceful.

"Walk up to someone, smile, make eye contact, shake hands. Introduce yourself by saying your name, 'Hi, I’m Ann, Ann Roberts.' That way people hear your voice twice.

"Own the room when you walk into it. Think President Obama when he walks to the podium. Get your own personal swagger.

"Don’t: Overdo it. When you smile, be authentic. If your smile is not in your eyes, people will know you’re faking it.

"4) Make The Conversation About The Other Person

"Let the world revolve around the person you’re talking to.

"Make the person feel like they are the only person on the planet at that time.

"Immediately put others at ease and make them feel comfortable with you.

"Don’t: Let your ego drive the conversation. We all have egos. If your ego is in overdrive, check it at the door.

"5) Be A Good listener

"You can’t remember everything, but remembering someone’s name is a biggie. Here’s a trick: When you are introduced to a person, immediately repeat their name. Example: 'Amanda, it’s so nice to meet you.'

"Listen with interest. Pay attention. Engage. Be empathetic.

"Don’t: When you’re talking with someone at an event, do not check your cell phone or look around the room to see if someone more important is there. If you want to find someone more important, make the conversation brief and move on graciously.

"Are you charismatic? How many of the 5 qualities do you have? What about your co-workers, boss, spouse, friends and family – how many qualities do they have?

"Want to improve your charismatic rank? It’s never too late. Just cultivate it.

While the concept of charisma might seem out of place on a site about criminalizing Conservatism, the political aspects should be obvious: while mass movements start with small groups, those groups invariably have a charismatic leader.  While Cuba had Che Guevara as its intellectual leader, the charismatic Castro was the leader of the Revolution, while Joseph Goebbels knew all about giving a partisan speech the Nazis would have had a more difficult climb to power without a charismatic Hitler to lead them, and Bill Clinton climbed from the obscurity as the governor of a small State using his skills as a charismatic speech maker to become President.

These characteristics of personal charisma in the Forbes article translate to the political arena quite nicely, and will give you something to work on as we'll outline "How To Be A Charismatic Political Leader," next.


Vinny: Your Honor, may I ask your permission to treat Ms Veto as a hostile
Mona Lisa: You think I'm hostile now? Wait till you see me tonight.
Judge Haller: Do you two know each other?
Vinny: Yeah, she's my fiancée.
Judge Haller: Well, that would certainly explain the hostility.

My Cousin Vinnie