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“The Leaders We Deserved; Rethinking the Presidential Rating Game” by Alvin Stephen Felzenberg ranks presidents by certain categories and explains the meaning of each. You’ll have to read the book to get the full meaning, but here are my notes evaluating our current president.
Adversity. None of the previous presidents emerged considering themselves victims. They did not whine or complain about their misfortunes. Our president: “Bush did it!”
Look for broad experience. Most presidents or near great presidents had multiple occupations. From their experiences they learned how to relate to people from all walks of life. Our president: “I know more than you do so, I’m going to give you what you need.”
Curiosity. Curious about the cause of problems they were asked to solve? Our president: “Bush did it!”
Cynicism, complacency. Easily become cynical of other office holders and contemptuous of voters. Our president demonizes all potential adversaries.
Whiners. Whiners divide the world into two camps: 1. Those who gave them unconditional loyalty, which is tested regularly, and 2. Those out to do them in. Our president just gave the unions a tax-free Cadillac health plan no one else got.
Know-it-alls. Often classified as the most intelligent, they can’t resist blowing their own horns. They are discouraged from seeking outside advice. They see their staff and department heads more as implementers than advisers. Our president’s staff is mainly academicians rather than people with business experience.
Narrow focus. Spent too long in a simple pursuit. What they know about voters came exclusively through complaining, polls and focus groups. They see politics as an end rather than as a means. Our president has spent almost his whole career in politics.
Ideologues. When deeply held beliefs receive greater allegiance on their agenda than the best interest of the country, there comes a disuniting of our voting masses. Our president: Look what the health care bill has done to the constituency, highlighted by the Massachusetts special election.
Power. If personal interests, desires or policy are confused with the best interests of the country, the result is usually a push to have their way on everything, oblivious to constraints inherent in the political system; only harm will follow. Our president has ignored unemployment and the economy to push his agenda and the voters are suffering badly.
Give the president time to do his job. There have been too many exchanges of the presidency over the years to accept this as unique. Each incoming president has had to accept and bear what is left from the previous regime, good or bad.
If you can’t handle the problems, don’t run for the office, or surround yourself with experienced, qualified persons. Based on campaign promises, I don’t think there are many surprises other than volume. At the presidential level, there isn’t time for complete on-the-job training.
Read this book and evaluate the next person you feel worthy of your vote. If we don’t know the candidate, we will end up with persons who can’t do the country’s business and represent the voters.
George J. Koesters