I am 70 years old and there have been 11 Presidents in my lifetime. Consider the following about each :
Franklin Delano Roosevelt : When he first ran for President, he was considered an intellectual lightweight. H. L. Mencken called him “an amiable dunce.” The famous “Roosevelt Brain Trust” was put together to convince the voter that, while Roosevelt might not be so smart, he had surrounded himself with smart people. Roosevelt had prior administrative experience as an Assistant Secretary of the Navy during WWI and in two terms as governor of New York State.
Harry S Truman : Did a good job as a commanding officer of an artilery battery of the Missiouri National Guard in WWI, failed in the haberdshery business, was the best Roads Commissioner Missiouri ever had, served in the Senate. In the almost four months he served as Vice-President, Roosevelt and his staff kept him entirely “out of the loop.” A joke in Washington that preceeded Truman’s becoming Vice-President was that the only way a Vice-President could enter the White House was by joining a tour. When Roosevelt died, Truman was completely in the dark, not only about the Manhattan Project, but about almost all of Roosevelt’s policies and programs.
Dwight David Eisenhower : Entered the Presidency with the most executive experience of any President. However, Ike stated that his military experiences as a “chief executive” did not prepare him for the way civilian government worked. He had to learn “on the job.”
John Fitzgerald Kennedy : Our “martyred President.” Underneath the myth, Kennedy was almost entirely without executive experience and, for most of his time as a Representative and Senator, had a well deserved image as a “playboy.” In his first meeting with Nikita Khrushchev, he left Khrushchev with the impression that he was weak and indecisive. Thus, the Cuban Missle Crisis.
Lyndon Johnson : Was a very good schoolteacher in rural Texas before he entered politics. Spent his entire political career in the Legislature, little or no executive experience. Became President when Kennedy was shot. Kept almost all of Kennedy’s advisors. Big mistake! Where Kennedy knew his advisors and was often skeptical, Johnson took their advice at face value,
Richard Milhous Nixon : Probabily the best prepared man to enter the White House since Thomas Jefferson. When he was Ike’s Vice-President, Ike treated him in the manner he would have treated a deputy commander in the Army. Nixon was completely in the loop and was given assignments and projects to administer. In other words, Eisenhower trained Nixon to be able to take over if anything happened to Ike. That was the military way to handle a deputy commander not the political way.
Gerald Ford : Our first unelected President. A creature of the legislature with little or no executive experience. The less said the better.
James Carter : A former Naval officer, an enginering officer on a nuclear submarine, a successfull peanut farmer and governor of Georgia. His best qualification for office? “Trust me, I will never lie to you.” The smartest man elected since Thomas Jfferson, he was a micromanager with little understanding about the world’s peoples, cultures and politics.
George H. W. Bush : An experienced executive with good credentials in government service, He was too much the bureaucrat to be really effective.
William J. Clinton : A complex character with a mixture of virtues and vices hereto unknown in American politics. Had executive experience as Attorney General and then as a two term governor of Arkansas. Because of having a Republican Congress, he had to accept many Republican programs. Most of the political credit he now claims is for programs that the Republican Congress forced him to accept.
George W. Bush : Had executive experience as a businessman and then as governor of Texas. Responded well to crisis situations at home and abroad but was either unable or unwilling to fight the MSM when they misrepresented or distorted his record.
As to our two current candidates :
John McCain : His only executive experience was in the Navy. He did command, successfully, the Navy’s largest fighter squadron, but, as Ike found out, that experience does not translate well when dealing with civilians. His saving grace is that he knows not only his strenghts but his weaknesses.
Barack Obama : No real executive experience. A creature of the legislature with all of the failings of such. To see how Obama would fare as President, look at John Videt Lindsay’s two terms as mayor of New York City. After Lindsay, the city faced major financial problems either caused or aggravated by Lindsay’s manifest shortcomings as an executive.
It is ironic that, of the four people running for the offices of President and Vice President, the most qualified executive is Sarah Palin.