I pride myself in frequently looking outside my box in this world. Yes, my life’s experiences pretty much, like everyone else, defines who I am but we must also try to look at things from a different perspective on a regular basis. That brings up the topic of this post. The typical voter and that certainly includes me seems to want to elect a person for president who we think could be a “best buddy”. That seems to be the primary reason that Mr. Reagan was twice elected and it certainly was one of the critical factors that got Mr. Obama into the Oval Office.
But maybe we got all our reasons backwards. Maybe we should be looking at who can get the job done in the current environment. I am a lifelong U.S. history buff and have read literally hundreds of books on the topic. It seems that after a president dies some of the less noble things about him come out.
That was certainly the case with President Johnson from the 1960′s. He was really a brute of a man who bullied people to get what he wanted. In private almost every other word was a curse word. He was just not a very pleasant man to be around. But when we look back at history he probably got more accomplished than almost any president in the 20th century. Along with personally making sure that there were thousands of six foot deep reservoirs built in his home state of Texas he accomplished among other things the monumental voting rights act and started Medicare for senior citizens. And he did both of these bills right not just a piecemeal attempt as the current healthcare bill seems to be.
I was pretty much a naive Republican when Johnson was president so I never voted for him and if I had known his personality I’m sure I never would have voted for him. They say hind sight is always 20:20 so now I can see that he actually was the best man for the job.
So many people today want the equivalent of their best friend in office. Maybe we should be looking for people like LBJ instead. The person that comes to mind in this current generation is Rahm Emanuel who recently left the chief-of-staff job to become Chicago’s mayor. Insiders say he is a pretty vulgar guy. Maybe he is what is needed to really make things happen. I know my “best buddy” Barak has let me down in what he has been able to accomplish. I guess he is just not nasty enough for the job. Maybe we can get him “nasty classes” before he starts serving his second term.
Besides wanting our buddy as president it seems some will only vote for a person that agrees with them on a single issue. For some it is gay rights, for others it is their guns and then there is abortion. Abortion is another sole reason that many, particularly the evangelicals among us, vote for the president. Whoever speaks the loudest against abortion has their vote. And like Mr. Bush when they end up really doing nothing to change the number of abortions they get re-elected anyway! Go figure….
When will we ever learn what it takes to be a good president?