Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Great Presidential Quality

What separates a good President from a bad President, a great President from an adequate President? Is it policy? Foreign relations? Economic success of the nation under the Presidents watch?
TPC vaguely remembers the dark day when the Evil One beat out Gerald Ford to start the worst era in American History, TPC's first election followed was The Great Ronald Reagan vs. The Evil One. It was way back in Yeshiva Dov Revel's 5th grade Social Studies/Current Events Class that TPC correctly picked the 40th United States President. Even though anyone outside The Evil One's identical twin would have beaten The Evil One, Reagan was elected as much for his charisma as his policy making. You see folks, the secret to being a great President is to be a great salesman. My loyal reader, the Ya Whoa's so poignantly pointed out,
" In every election over the past 30 years the cooler candidate has won. I hate to sound like an 8th grader but it is true"
And you know what? After further review, he is correct.You see a Great President needs to be a Great Orator. He needs to be able to "sell his game" to the Senate, the House, the International Community and most importantly, the U.S. public. One of my favorite movies of all time was the "American President". In that movie, Michael Douglas's (if your a movie producer and you need to have a speech delivered, Douglas is your go to guy. Whether it was the "Greed is Good" Classic, or this speech, Douglas is the Lebron of Movie speeches) Presidential approval rating was falling because he was involved in an election and dating a lobbyist at the same time. The problem was, he didn't address the issue of why it is okay for a widower to date a single woman (seems pretty harmless, right?). Anyway, Senator Bob Rumsfeld, played brilliantly by Richard Dreyfuss used that opening to gain an incredible edge in the coming election. Rumsfeld had no policy issues, just kept ranting about a President who had the audacity to date a liberal lobbyist and the low morals of inviting her to the White House. Now, why we might be a little cynical since at the time we had a President get re-elected who was doing a lot more than just dating a single woman, the point was, Douglas didn't address the issue. Once he did- in one of the great movie speeches of the last 25 years (rivaled only by the "I'll take a flamethrower to this place" Scent of a Woman Speech by Pacino, "Greed is Good" by Douglas, "I am G-d" in Malice, by Alec Baldwin, "We are the great American Sooooooooldier" by Bill Murray in Stripes and Belushi's "When the Germans Bombed Pearl Harbor" in Animal House) President Andrew Sheppard's approval rating soared. While this is just a movie, we have real life examples.
Ask the typical American who the 2 best Presidents of the last 30 years were, and unequivocally you get back Clinton and Reagan. Ask who the two worst Presidents were and with a quicker response you get Carter (The Evil One) and George W. Bush #2. Ask any of the people you just polled to name 1 or 2 reasons why they chose that answer, and besides Bush (and only because he's current) they will probably have a hard time answering.
The reason they chose Reagan and Clinton is because they were persuasive. They were incredible orators and therefore were able to sway the public towards there way of thinking. We didn't like Bush because he couldn't "sell" us on why it was necessary to take out Sadaam, Afghanistan, etc, even though the U.S. is a safer place today because Bush did what he did. You take Bush and replace him with Reagan, I bet we would have a lot different perception of our War on Terror.
Obama has a chance to go down as one of the great ones. There is no one who can bring it like Obama in oratory skills. His charisma is unquestioned. He has the public eating off his fingertips. One factor we don't know is how well he can sell his goods to the International community. Reagan sold his so well, the Iranians let the hostages go right after he was inaugurated because unlike his Liberal Wimp Predecessor, the Iranians KNEW that Reagan would have layed the Smackdown on them if they held the hostages under his watch. Same reason with the USSR. Reagan called their bluff, outspent them in the Weapons development game and eventually caused that system to bankrupt itself.
President Barry has a good chance to follow in the ways of JFK, Reagan and Clinton, simply because he can communicate as well as they. Here's hoping he uses those great skills in a positive way and gets the U.S.A. back on top in all the rankings

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have many thoughts on this man. I personally do not like senators, I like Governors, they know how to lead. Interestingly, Barack hated the senate for the same reason.

Now this will sound like an insult, but it's a compliment. He is a ruthless polition and his ambition is unrivalled. A man whose entire career in the senate was an orchestrated stepping stone to the highest office.

His history. Another interesting fact is that he has a long history of embracing his opponents and catering to their needs, often at the expense of his allies. His appointments and cajoling of his former adversaries seems like the age old adage "keep your friends close and your enemies closer."

Now for some negatives. He is inexperienced and slightly naive. On the economic crisis you have knuckleheads with unlimited money (our government officials and committees) meeting with the greediest people in our nation for advice. The outcome - the rich knuckleheads are forking over money to the greedy with no restrictions. The bailout will be a mess.

His platform of putting powerful people on his staff may backfire. He is underestimating many of the ego's he is dealing with.

Barack and Pelosi will hate each other soon. He seems like he has less patience for the congress then Bush did.