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ThoughtsOnline

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


There are three reasons one becomes President.

There are those who do so because they want to accomplish something that they can only do as President, they want to implement some type of policy or program and can only pull it off (to the extent they pull it off) by utilizing the power of the Presidency. Ronald Reagan was such a President; he wanted (and needed) to become President to confront the Soviet Union and to reverse America's malaise caused by those who preceded him as President. FDR also falls into this category; while I don't doubt that he wanted to become President for the power, in his mind, he 'needed' to become President in order to help America recover from the Great Depression.

There are there who do so because they want the power that comes with being President. They don't want the power to accomplish anything in particular, but rather because being President is the ultimate power trip. Bill Clinton was such a President; everything he did from high school on was done with an eye of whether it would help him in his quest of becoming President.

And, finally, there are those who do so because they happen to be in the right place at the right time. They don't necessarily seek the position, but 'inherit' it by virtue of accident or bad luck happening to those who seek the Presidency for one of the first two reasons. Obviously, Gerald Ford was such a President, having had the Presidency thrust upon him when Nixon resigned. Harry Truman was also such a President, never having really sought to be President but having it handed to him when FDR died in office. And so was George W Bush, who wasn't supposed to run for President, but lucked into the catbird's seat when brother Jeb screwed things up by losing his first attempt to become Florida Governor.

Even though I don't always agree with what they want to do, I admire those in the first category. They're the ones who want to do something, not merely to be someone. They're the ones motivated to become President in order to help America, not to have America help them get over their inferiority issues.

As they themselves are, I am ambivalent about those in the third category. Some of them just muddle through, others try to accomplish something with the opportunity they've been handed. Bush didn't seek to become the President in order to tackle Muslim fanaticism, he reacted to the events of 9-11. Truman accomplished great things with the opportunity he had. And, nice guy that he was, while his heart was in the right place, Ford pretty much didn't accomplish much of anything memorable during his brief time in office.

It's the second group that I have nothing but scorn and disdain for. I can't tell you how bothered I am by those running for President because they crave the power that goes with occupying the White House. Whether because they think becoming President will offset the shame of being the fat kid (Clinton) or they are running because they feel entitled to it (Kerry, Dole, Gore, etc., etc., etc.), I can't think of anything worse as President than someone who falls into this category.

Which leads me to the question of the night.... is there a single person running for President right now who is doing so because they want to accomplish something in particular? Because they want to institute some major change that they need to be President in order to pull off?

Or are they all Bill Clintons, running because they crave the power? In other words, are they all the very type of people we shouldn't want as President?