Executive Experience = Good President? Part 9

You can click on “Executive Experience:  Is It Important?” to read the first eight parts to this series!!

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#29 – Warren G. Harding.  Harding’s political experience include state senator, lieutenant governor and US Senator, all for Ohio.  By trade he was a newspaper publisher.  By all accounts he was a dismal president.  Not only does he have to follow in the visionary footsteps of Woodrow Wilson, but as a man himself he was directionless, lacked a moral compass, and simply had no vision for his presidency.  He died while in office, after a week of some sort of weird ailment, and his wife refused to allow an autopsy.  Thus, theories abound.  But none of the theories can turn him into a decent president.  So… EE: no; Good: no.

#30 – Calvin Coolidge.  He was Harding’s VP and before that, governor of Massachusetts.  Generally speaking, it seems many of Coolidge’s policies as president helped bring on the Great Depression.  He favored big business and allowed monopolies to carry on unchecked; he refused to provide aid to the agricultural fields; he provided huge tax breaks to corporations and wealthy individuals.  He was wary of involvement in foreign arrangements and alliances, making the US economy more isolated.  Over his presidency, he let too many eggs get stored in too few baskets, and it came back to bite the country… hard.  So… EE: yes; Good: no.

#31 – Herbert Hoover.  Hoover was a mining engineer and eventually started his own mining company.  He was also a noted humanitarian before entering politics.  He entered the political fray by becoming Secretary of Commerce under Harding and Coolidge.  He is the first president so far who gets his sole “executive experience” from the business world.  Hoover for a long time had an incredibly horrible reputation regarding what was viewed as his completely inept handling of the Great Depression.  More recently, historians have recognized that in reality, there was little that he (or anyone else) could have done to stem the tide of the Depression or turn it around, and that our entry into WWII was the reason the economy lifted, and nothing done by Roosevelt.  Hoover also held steadfastly to some very noble beliefs during the Depression… though they weren’t of much benefit.  Where he is faulted nowadays is with not doing more to help ease the suffering and hardships that the Depression brought to throngs of people, resistant as he was to spending federal money to stimulate the economy or provide relief.  So… EE: yes; Good: no.

#32 — Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  FDR garnered his executive experience through three years as the governor of New York.  Although his presidency is marred by a couple issues, such as the interment  of Japanese and German Americans during WWII and, more controversially, not taking decisive, earlier action to end the Holocaust atrocities, FDR’s presidency is generally seen as perhaps one of the best, ever.  His New Deal programs, handling of the Great Depression and WWII, and records four consecutive election wins demonstrate his success and veneration by the American people.  So… EE: yes; Good: yes.

I could keep going…. but ice cream calls.  Stay tuned!

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