Searching for common sense in politics

Friday, November 11, 2016

When it Comes to Presidents...You Just Never Know

I am a presidential history buff, and I just wanted to remind everyone that presidents have often turned out to be much different than they were perceived to be before taking office. Like many people, I am concerned about some of the things that President-elect Trump has said on the campaign trail. But until we see him in action, we cannot be sure which way his administration will go.
Here are some examples of our past misjudgments of presidents:
Thomas Jefferson
In 1800, Thomas Jefferson was the champion of the common man and the farmer. He vehemently opposed a powerful central government and believed that power should be held primarily by the states and local communities. By the end of his second term, he had vastly expanded the power and scope of the federal government.
In 1860, Abraham Lincoln was seen as a weak country bumpkin who was only elected because of the division of the country's electorate. The real power in the Administration was thought to be William Seward, his Secretary of State, and many figured Lincoln would be nothing more than Seward's puppet. Of course, Lincoln turned out to be perhaps the strongest and most capable president we've ever had. And Seward became one of his staunchest supporters.
Abraham Lincoln
In 1881, Chester Arthur became president when James Garfield was assassinated. Arthur came into office with a reputation of being a corrupt career politician who believed in the "spoils" system, under which government employees were chosen not on merit, but based on their political views. In the end, he did as much as any president up to that time to reform government and make it more fair.
In 1945, Harry Truman took over for Franklin Roosevelt, the liberal hero who served as president longer than anyone else. Truman was widely thought to be a caretaker president, only keeping the seat warm until the next election. Instead, he showed incredible leadership, ended the war in the Pacific, and won a shocking victory in 1948.
Ronald Reagan
In 1980, Ronald Reagan was commonly seen as a lunatic who would be quick to resort to the use of nuclear weapons to defeat the Soviet Union. By the time he left office, he had established a close relationship with Soviet Prime Minister Mikhail Gorbachev, and together they eliminated thousands of nuclear weapons.
In 2000, George W. Bush took office after a bitterly disputed election. His campaign was built almost entirely around his domestic agenda, and his highest priorities were tax reform and education. Because of this, his administration was expected to focus on those issues to the exclusion of foreign affairs. Now, he is remembered for his response to 9/11 and starting the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
All of this is to never really know.


No comments

Post a Comment

Blog Layout Designed by pipdig