Politics is a battlefield for power. Throughout history, politics play an important role in shaping leaders and forming powerful states. Wars are even conducted to be able to get the advantage of politics. However nowadays, to get ahead into politics warfare is not necessary; it all depends on how an individual handles it. It is more than just the leadership skills, the charisma and the motivation to serve. It is the usage of the smartest strategies to get acquainted with the ‘who’ and to get the ‘what’.
“The end justifies the means. Machiavelli famously imprinted these words in the world of politics. For Machiavelli, politics is more than just a career, it is an art that should be mastered and should be maintained. For Chris Matthews, politics is a game that should be learned by playing according to a set of rules. Both authors have goals in mind: to be on top of the power. Their works serve as guidelines on handling politics. Machiavelli and Matthews provide strategies on how to be an influential and effective political figure. These rules were patterned in the context of their current society.
Though Machiavelli’s attack on The Prince is more aggressive than Matthews, this is mainly because of the political turmoil that has occurred during his time. Matthews on the other hand, wrote practical approaches that can be applied not just in government but as well as in business, job promotion or other aspects of life. This is to convey that politics is everywhere. Nonetheless, despite the differences between Matthews and Machiavelli, their works are cohesively direct to the path of power. To be the best player in the field of politics, one must maximize everything – including flaws and opponents – to his or her advantage.
While Machiavelli focused more on state affairs, Matthews applied strategies not just to politics but to general ways of life. Like Machiavelli, Matthews related in his book on how to rise to power and maintaining it the moment it is achieved. The spread of influence and the utilization of wits will be able to bring someone to the top. Matthews enumerated his practical strategies that people within the Washington circle used. The ability to appear powerful is one of the tactics which Machiavelli has also cited. The embodiment of power is important to acquire power itself.
From the famous saying of ‘what the mind conceive the body will achieve,’ people and competitors will believe a person portraying as a powerful individual. It creates a strong impression. To convince others that one has a power; it should reflect the outer attributes and incorporate the attitudes of a powerful entity. The Politician will have to utilize everything to be able to reach the top and at the top, his resources should be exhausted even more to maintain his or her stature. The Prince has the same aim. Machiavelli described most of his tactics with the likes of being a fox and to be a lion at the same time.
On the other hand, Matthews associated it with a term of aggressive sports. In the field of sports, an athlete needs to play hard and it is necessary to lay out the strategies to be able to win the game. The aspects of deception and manipulation clearly reflect a Machiavellian theme situated in the White House. The politician works closely with the enemies rather than shunning them away. It gives the politician an opportunity to watch the actions of the enemy directly. Their capabilities can be used in favor of the politician’s gain. Both authors have stated the importance of alliances to strengthen influence and gain trust.
Machiavelli stressed the importance of taking sides rather than going neutral. Win or lose, the Prince still has allies to aid him when crisis comes. Matthews mentioned having alliances to gain loyal supporters. He was able to portray in Washington, that people who actually do favors for the politician become great allies. The work of Chris Matthews is often compared with Machiavelli. Both of them preached the same aim of acquiring power, though their subjects are different. It can be viewed that Machiavelli’s The Prince is solely based on an individualistic approach since he focused on monarchies as a source of power.
On the contrary, Matthews’ approach is more inter-personal. By the title of his book Hardball: How Politics Is Played Told By One Who Knows The Game, it gives the impression of sports which is composed of individuals and teams. To be on top means to be the captain of the game. Hardball can be a useful reference for people who want to get ahead with life. As mentioned earlier, Matthews’ approach is not as aggressive as Machiavelli. This can be applied in other aspects of life because as what Matthews mentioned in his introduction, “there are enduring human truths in the rules that politicians play by” (Matthews 17).
Matthews depicts politics as an exciting and thrilling environment where the most amusing personalities are passionately involved. Machiavelli, on the other hand, gave a cruel and ruthless picture. Since politics is compared with sports, the major player from Matthews’ book is a prominent figure in world politics. The United States is one of the most influential countries, economic-wise and political wise. As a state, the U. S. is good at keeping their alliances. The long years of friendship with other countries (i. e.
Great Britain) contributed to numerous gains which helped the US to be a super power in the international community. Behind its status is the most powerful political figure in the United States. For the upcoming 2008 US Presidential election, it is notable to mention a candidate that created a name for him as the first colored American to be nominated for presidency. Barack Obama can be a perfect example of a major player in Matthews’ political field. Being raised in a multi-racial background, this became an asset for him to reach different minorities in the country.
This particular asset of Obama became one of his forefronts of his campaign which focused on thriving for change. Modern United States is a diverse country made up of various racial origins and Obama thought that his colored skin can be an advantage. Obama revealed in his memoir Dreams from my Father about his previous lifestyle of smoking and drinking. Relating this particular detail of his life, it can be seen as a target for his opponent to dwell on. However, this can also be viewed as a method derived from Matthews’ book. Before the other party can even use it against him, he does the broadcasting himself.
Admitting one’s flaw can lessen the negative impact of it, and the rivals will have to search for a new attack to use against the politician. Citing this example, it is seen how Chris Matthews’ strategies are put to use. This kind of political play inside the White House reflects how the United States moves in the arena of world politics. Taking that into account, Chris Matthews gives the readers a clear picture of the inner workings of America’s political center. Washington is portrayed as the battlefield, wherein politics is the game, and the athletes are the politicians who play hardball.
Courtney from Study Moose
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