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The president is a figurehead.

Notes--
It is often said the president gets the credit or the blame for the ways things are (or are perceived) in America, even when he doesn't deserve either.
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Many people do not recognize the president as a figurehead, but at least some of them will apparently vote for a candidate on the basis of whether or not one is expected to function well in that capacity.
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I am not saying the President of the United States is merely a figurehead, but that job is implicitly a part of the position. Which is why supposed lack of experience didn't stop Bill Clinton or George W. Bush from winning the office; why people whose best interest and politics ran counter to Ronald Reagan voted for him; and why Nixon was forced out not over engaging in illegal and unauthorized wars or for destabilizing countries and plunging them into decades of tyranny, but for having some of his staff break into a hotel. It is also why Barrack Obama will beat John McCain.

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