Playing Politics

How much is too much when it comes to perpetual campaigning?

by Melanie Williams

How much time is reasonable for President Barack Obama to spend courting potential voters? Last December, White House spokesman Jay Carney estimated the president spends roughly 5 percent of his week campaigning– a number sure to rise as election day draws closer.

According to Paul Goren, an associate professor of political science at the University of Minnesota, the answer varies depending on how politically split the government is. It might not matter that Obama is spending less and less time legislating, Goren says, since it’s unlikely he’ll be able to get anything through the GOP-controlled House. But it’s up to the American public to figure out how much is too much. “In theory, we might think the president should emphasize governance over campaigning,” Goren says. “But don’t leaders have an obligation to present their vision to the country and do whatever they can, within reason, to make sure they have the best shot to pursue that vision after the election?”

That’s for the constituents to decide.