The current President of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama, has had a very troubled start to his Presidency. Not only did he inherit a mess in the economy, but he has had multiple mis-steps in his selection of his cabinet and advisors. While the tax problems with Daschle and others have plagued the first few nominations, now there is even some concern about his most important advisor, his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel. There has also been some criticism for his first international discussions, the first phone call he made to a foreign power was to President Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian Authority.
There is also a great deal of controversy about the replacement to BHO’s Senate seat although it is likely that none of this is his fault (even if it makes one wonder how he could have thrived in such a corrupt political environment as Illinois / Chicago politics).
Why is there such turmoil in the first 100 days of the BHO presidency? It is quite likely because he is so inexperienced at being in such a large stage. He has had little experience in this area. In fact, he is easily the least experienced President in decades and he is probably the least experienced President in over 100 years. The table below lists all the Presidents since 1900. It shows their previous national office as well as other significant positions that they held. Most Americans allow a Governorship to be qualification for office and so I am lumping this in with Senate and Congress service.
A quick look takes us to Hoover before we get to someone that didn’t get elected to a major office and hold that office for a term or two. Hoover did run a major cabinet before the election and was very prominent in world and national politics and had been a moderately successful businessman so it is arguable that he was less experienced in a national office. He is also not a President that most people regard as being very successful! In addition, while the election of the President was a populist effort at that time (dirty politics aside), the selection of candidate by the party was very much decided by power brokers in the parties of the day.
A little farther down the list, we see that Harding and Taft didn’t have a great resume for national office but they did have a bit of experience in running a territory or State and, like Hoover, were major players in the political machines of the day. Harding is often referenced as being among the worst President’s ever and takes specific criticism for his cabinet and appointees.
So the conclusion that we must draw is that BHO has less experience for national office than, at a minimum, the previous 12 men who held that office. It is also reasonable to conclude that he has less experience than any President since Teddy and the leadership of the United States within the world has definitely evolved since Teddy was talking about big sticks!
The final conclusion is simple, with such an inexperienced man as POTUS, we will continue to see mistakes until he figures out how to do the job. Let’s all hope that this is a quick learning curve since we need to dig ourselves out of the mess that Mr. Obama inherited.
List of 20th and 21st Century Presidents (data collected and confirmed from Presidential library sites and Wikipedia)
|President||Previous national office||Other significant position|
|Barack Hussein Obama||US Senator (didn’t finish first term)||Illinois State Congressman (1 term)|
|George Walker Bush||Texas Governor (didn’t finish 2nd term)||Part – owner of a professional baseball team|
|William Jefferson Clinton||12 years – Governor of Arkansas||Attorney General Arkansas|
|George Herbert Walker Bush||Vice President of the United States – 2 terms||US Congressman, CIA Director, Ambassador|
|Ronald Wilson Reagan||California Governor – 2 terms||President of union|
|James Earl Carter, Jr.||Governor Georgia – 1 term||Georgia Senator (2 terms)|
|Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr.||Vice President of the United States (2 yrs)||US Congressman (25 yrs)|
|Richard Milhous Nixon||Vice President of the United States (2 terms)||US Congressman (2 terms), US Senate (didn’t finish term)|
|Lyndon Baines Johnson||Vice President of the United States (didn’t finish first term)||US Senator (2 terms), US Congressman (6 terms)|
|John Fitzgerald Kennedy||US Senator (2 terms – didn’t finish the second)||US Congressman (3 terms)|
|Dwight David Eisenhower||Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Europe||5 star General in the US Army|
|Harry S. Truman||Vice President of the United States (didn’t finish first term)||US Senator (2 terms)|
|Franklin Delano Roosevelt||New York Governor||State Senator, Assistant Secretary of the Navy|
|Herbert Clark Hoover||United States Secretary of Commerce||Head of the American Relief Administration|
|John Calvin Coolidge, Jr.||Vice President of the United States (didn’t finish first term)||Massachusetts Governor|
|Warren Gamaliel Harding||US Senator (1 term)||Ohio Lt. Governor|
|Thomas Woodrow Wilson||New Jersey Governor||President Princeton University|
|William Howard Taft||United States Secretary of War||Governor of Phillipines|
|Theodore Roosevelt||Vice President of the United States||Governor New York|