Date of Defense

Spring 4-19-2005



First Advisor

Paula S. Brush, Sociology

Second Advisor

Rachel Whaley, Sociology


On November 2, 2004, Americans went to the polls to determine the leader of the United States of America. In the weeks and months leading up to this date, Senator John Kerry and President George W. Bush took center stage. Often, however, it was not their policies that were closely scrutinized and help up to public examination. Instead, it was their personalities and private lives that demanded the most coverage. At the same time actors and actresses popped up with increasing frequency at political events, rallies, conventions, and fundraisers. The 2004 presidential election is only the most recent example of a growing trend: the increasing importance of personality and decreasing relevance of issues and public policy in election of government officials. It is a merging of the worlds of politics and entertainment. The author examines the changing nature of images of politicians and seeks to understand this development.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only