We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The debate among Republicans over the 2012 presidential nominee seems to divide between those favoring management skills and those favoring inspiration.
Americans have oscillated between the two. Eisenhower = management; Kennedy = inspiration; Johnson = neither; Nixon = management; Ford = neither; Carter = neither; Reagan = inspiration; Bush (Senior) = management; Clinton = inspiration; Bush (Junior) = management; Obama = inspiration.
These aren’t “pure” characterizations, but rather what aroused the balance of electorability. It was the persona that was the characterization of the nominee.
This may, or not, be applicable to 2012, but I tend toward thinking it very well may be.If so, then, that may explain my leaning toward Romney (and Pawlenty before he dropped out).
On the other hand, one can as well posit that Obama = neither, in which case the oscillation would favor inspiration. That might favor Perry.
On the other hand, the theory may be worthless. The test of a theory is in its simple predictive power. 2012’s election will tell. Regardless, however, internecine battles -- as opposed to civil discussion and debate -- among Republicans will weaken the 2012 chances of defeating Obama. That is a proven theory.
From the Comments thus far, let me make this clearer: I'm talking about the persona or characterization at election time, not what comes after.
As I've said before, I'm afraid Romney would cleverly manage us into a hole without a ladder. I don't trust him at the strategic level, I think he is more a details sort of guy. Add to that his disconnect from ordinary people and I think he might be a disaster.
Perry I worry about because he is more an establishment politician than, say, Palin. The danger there is that connections and mutual back scratching will play too large a part in decision making. Many successful politicians are like that, but...
Interesting theory. It does fit, although I might have painted it in terms of pragmatic and idealistic (or driven by ideology). To use your list, I'd put it this way: Truman - pragmatic; Eisenhower - pragmatic; Kennedy - pragmatic ideology; Johnson - agree that he was undefinable; Nixon - more idealistic than pragmatic; Ford - neither, although I think given half a chance, he might have been a great pragmatic President; Carter - neither; Reagan - pragmatically idealistic ; Bush (Senior) - pragmatic; Clinton = idealistic turned into pragmatism; Bush (Junior) - ideology tempered by pragmatism; Obama - blinded by ideology and only ideology.
I agree that 2012 may devolve in a race to the bottom on who's ideology is the best with partisans on either side going off the rails leaving the rest of us wondering what the hell went wrong.
While I tend to view just about every other elected government position as one of management I firmly believe that the President also needs to be charismatic, or, as you put it, inspirational. I want them to also be good managers but as leader and representative to the world I want someone who is, naturally, inspiring and inspired.
I think it's too simplistic a division. Reagan had a sunny, positive American attitude which inspired. But he had a clear idea of what he wanted to do, made it clear, and was a very good manager. Bush, Jr. was offended by the liberal conception of conservatives as mean and uncaring. The "compassionate conservative" bit didn't go over well with many Republicans, but Bush changed after 9/11. I'm not sure that a presidency is separable from its opposition. Bush's success and failure are inseparable from the fevered liberal attack machine that played such a large part in his administration.
Obama himself is surely blinded by his own ideology, but limited by his inability to see beyond it, and his inability to change his mind. He was not elected because of his ideology, but because of his advertising campaign. People were entranced with his rhetoric, not realizing the emptiness of it.
The Elephant's Child
I'm sorry, Elephant's Child, but I cannot think of George W. Bush as a failure. I think it is too soon to try to sum him up as to his value to us as a people, but surely you will admit that he faced unique challenges and worked very hard to protect us as a people and to insure our freedoms. That can't be said about the present occupant of the White House, who came to the Presidency with a readymade agenda which is many ways hostile to the aims and needs of his constituents, and to the free enterprise system itself. He is bull-headed in his drive to put himself on the historical map as an outstanding president, and he knows so little about the real world that he keeps making wrong choices. Heck, after more than two years, he still doesn't know enough about the 'rules and regs' of operating within the constraints of our government that he thought he could just call both houses of Congress into a session so that he could lecture them. That's not the way it is done, as any experienced legislator could have told him. He was supposed to ask permission of the Speaker of the House and the Vice President [who is President of the Senate] to gather their members together so that he could address them at a mutually convenient time for the members of both houses. They are, for goodness sakes, co-equal in power to the office of the Presidency. In all my 83 years, I have never seen a President so ignorant of the parameters of hi office.
He has had this job for more than two years, and if he would stop bopping around playing golf and having expensive vacations, and do some reading about his job and how he should do it, he wouldn't commit ridiculous mistakes like that.
Most of the grown-ups in our population are deeply depressed about the course his governance, what there is of it, has taken us.
For God's sake, Barry, stop swanning around and pay attention to something beside yourself.