Steve Hannagan’s View of Politics

Steve Hannagan’s take on politics were based on his broad experience as a press agent and his displeasure with the Presidential campaigns of Wendell Willkie and Thomas Dewey. Hannagan worked with both candidates during their presidential campaigns.

Losers on Parade

Wendell Willkie Presidential Candidate in 1940 (top)i

Tom Dewey Presidential Candidate in 1944 and 1948 (bottom)ii

Hannagan’s Rules on Political Campaigns

  • Even if a candidate appears to hold the same values as the publicist that does not mean that they will be good campaigners. Wendell Willkie and Thomas Dewey were miserable campaigners.
  • Neophytes may look good prior to the campaign, but they may be abject failures as campaigners. Wendell Willkie was a sad example of this maxim.
  • Politics and straight-forward advice do not mix.
  • Being a campaign adviser is a waste of time if the candidate does not allow the publicist into the inner circle of campaign management. He found that he was on the outside on the few campaigns that he chose to help. The inside versus outside violated his business rule that he had to have direct contact with the decision maker.
  • Money is not everything, if the publicist or the candidates managers or the party do not follow the publicist’s recommendations, the integrity and reputation of the publicist may be undermined.
  • In summary, be wary of political campaigns because the candidate and managers will ignore common sense advice. Hannagan’s experience was that he did not have access to the candidate and that the candidates usually had too many assistants advising caution rather than forceful campaign strategies.

Reality of Politics to Steve Hannaganiii


i Picture of Wendell Willkie (retrieved February 27, 2018);

iii Puck Cartoon of Political Platforms of the Two Parties (retrieved November 20, 2017); pa….0…1c.1.64.psy-ab..0.2.162…0i7i5i30k1.0.vVhz4RSEHhE#imgrc=ZFuOOQtF6k8KaM.