Friday, June 1, 2012

A little historical perspective on "business presidents"

Mitt Romney had a rather interesting proposal this week (and I don't mean interesting in a good way).
"I’d like to have a provision in the Constitution that in addition to the age of the president and the citizenship of the president and the birth place of the president being set by the Constitution, I’d like it also to say that the president has to spend at least three years working in business before he could become president of the United States,” said Romney, cheerfully summarizing this rewrite of the founders’ governing blueprint.
The man really does fetishize his love of "business" in what seems to be a particularly unhealthy way.

So lets look at what might have happened historically if our founders had shared this obsession.
Well, there goes Teddy Roosevelt, the writer, rancher and police commissioner, not to mention his distant cousin Franklin Roosevelt, the assistant naval secretary and politician, or Dwight Eisenhower, the career soldier. Ike’s résumé, which includes defeating the world’s most concentrated form of evil in Nazi Germany, would not be not enough to qualify him for the presidency...

In a scholarly ranking of great presidents, a 2009 survey conducted by C-Span, 6 of the 10 best leaders lacked sufficient business experience to be president by Romney’s rumination. This list includes Ronald Reagan, the actor, union activist and corporate spokesman, and John F. Kennedy, the naval officer, writer and politician. There is one failed businessman on the list of great presidents, the haberdasher Harry S. Truman...

By contrast, two 20th century businessmen — George W. Bush, whose sweetheart deal with the Texas Rangers made him a multimillionaire, and Herbert Hoover, who came by his mining fortune honestly — were ranked among the worst presidents ever by the same historians. Bush left the country in a sea of debt and an economic crisis rivaled only by the one that engulfed Hoover.
So the Roosevelts, Ike, Reagan and Kennedy would be out, but Bush and Hoover would be in.  Also out would be the biggest job creator of modern times...Bill Clinton.

Someone really should suggest that Romney think before he speaks. This kind of stuff is just embarrassing.


  1. "Mitt Romney had a rather interesting proposal this week (and I don't mean interesting in a good way)."

    Glad to see you're coming round to the English definition of the word 'interesting' ;). See also: courageous and controversial (and 'Yes, Minister' in general).

    I honestly don't think it matters. The CiF folks who've been saying stuff like Romney on business haven't arrived at it by careful consideration. It's a hook they can grasp to differentiate their candidate from Obama.

    Unfortunately, I don't think reason will be the most successful line of approach in the next few months...

    1. Look at this latest Romney ad:

      Not a shred of reason to be found.

      What can I say except that you are absolutely right.

  2. You make me happy, Smartypants.

    1. I couldn't ask for a better compliment than that.

      Big smooch coming your way - THANKS!

  3. Thanks for this post, Smartypants! It goes right along with some information I found yesterday that debunks Romney's claim that business people make better presidents. I made sure that I tweeted the information to Romney. He may ignore it, but at least he'll know that not everyone is believing his endless stream of lies. Here's the link:

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