The most desired attribute for a statesman in an authoritarian society is intelligence; because he is literally expected to solve all of the problems of the people. The most desirable attribute of a statesman in a free society is character; for he is simply a representative of the will of the people entrusted to vote and to act in their stead. Americans have traditionally been more interested in the story of their candidates than in their rhetoric. Who is he or she as a person? Is there a reason that they should be trusted to do as they claim? This concrete approach based on a candidates character and history is a source of security for a free society. In an authoritarian society the people lay under the emotional sway of rhetoric rather than reality. Rhetoric becomes reality. The statesman can paint any portrait of himself he likes with the instrument of rhetoric and a people desperate to embrace such a picture will do so, passionately. The scope and power of rhetoric is absolutely unlimited because it is merely language. It can excite the imagination without bounds. This is where the cult of personality comes from in an authoritarian context.
But where one’s opinion of a statesman or candidate comes from concrete facts and history such a cult is impossible. All that is possible here is an intelligent sober decision between two prospective candidates based upon their history.