Everybody is running for President next year, because of easy publicity on the internet.
The current President is decidedly unpopular, and I just read a pertinent article:
Only 32% of Americans approve of his job performance. Forty three per cent say that his war was a mistake. Critics deride him as too stubborn and inflexible. Others dismiss him as a intellectual lightweight. But the president sticks to his guns. "I wonder how far Moses would have gone if he'd taken a poll in Egypt?" he writes. "It isn't polls or public opinion of the moment that counts. It's right and wrong.
The article is by Kenneth T Walsh. It appears in the 2/5/07 USNWR. And the president he writes of is not you-know-who.
It's Harry S Truman, now thought to one of the great American presidents, though trashed in his day!
George W Bush hopes the same opinion reversal will someday blow his way, but not everyone buys it. Says Robert Dallek: "Everybody who gets into serious trouble in the presidency invokes the Truman history and the Truman experience. But there's only one Harry Truman."
Be that as it may, I bring up the subject to talk about Truman, not Bush. He was the most ordinary of men when circumstances made him president. And today he enjoys history's highest assessment.
Now, what other recent president has received universal praise?
It's Gerald T. Ford, who died last month at age 93. Gerald T. Ford, who "healed" the nation by pardoning Nixon, though it ended his political future. But it was a wise thing to do...what's the point of reducing a former president to car wash attendant?....and historians now praise Ford for his action ....throwing himself on a grenade is how Peggy Noonan puts it. I've read nothing but "he was precisely what the country needed at the time." High praise, indeed.
Do these two former praiseworthy presidents have anything in common? They do indeed. Neither one ever wanted the job!
Ford, of course, was never elected president or even vice-president.....he became VP when Spiro Agnew went down in flames, enmeshed in some sort of corruption scandal...I forget the details, and president when Nixon resigned. Nixon was always making comments....they weren't chums.... about what a lunkhead he was. Mean remarks, though not so mean as those of Lyndon B Johnson, the crude sonuvagun, who opined that Ford couldn't fart and chew gum at the same time, which observation the press sanitized to he couldn't walk and chew gum at the same time. (You'll notice that historians have not been especially kind to Johnson)
Neither was Truman ever elected president. And almost not vice-president. He never campaigned for the office, but was put there by party brokers who didn't like him much but saw him as electable, in contrast to several other luminaries who they liked better but knew they were too polarizing to bet on. Like Nixon's view of Ford, Roosevelt couldn't stand Truman.
So two men who never aspired to the office are now judged to be among the greats. In contrast to the turkeys who run, who get elected, and we're still licking our wounds! The lesson ought to be obvious. For the upcoming election, whenever someone declares his or her candidacy, scratch that person off the list of those you will consider. Instead, look for someone who does not want the job and will not accept it, preferably someone hiding in the coat closet amidst the luggage.