Are Americans Tiring of a Legislator as President?

Ya think? Of course we are, but we would not be if this particular “legislator” had even a modicum of skill or relevant experience but since what Conservatives warned about long prior to Barry being elected is now playing out like a gruesome horror film, (that he was too much of a radical ideologue, and his lack of experience would be devastating to our Nation in these critical times) even the liberal leaning Los Angeles Times is comparing him to the worst President that has ever been inflicted upon this Nation (the hapless & anti-Semitic Jimmy Carter) by associating his lackluster Oval Office speech on Tuesday to Carter’s whiny “malaise” speech.

Are Americans Tiring of a Legislator as President? 

One-third of the way through Obama’s term, are Americans tiring of a legislator as president?

  by Andrew Malcolm

American voters have taken many zigs and zags over the years when choosing their country’s chief executive.

But one of the amazing consistencies is: They prefer chief executives in the executive office. Five of the last six presidents have been executives — four governors and one sitting vice president.

The only exception is the current incumbent, Barack Obama, who as his bipartisan critics tried to point out in 2007-08, had never even run a candy store, let alone a country. He was a law lecturer, a state senator and, briefly, a U.S. senator. He is one of only three sitting senators elected president since the 19th century. Neither of the other two — Warren Harding  and John Kennedy — had second terms.

Overall, a new Rasmussen Reports poll indicated Wednesday, only 42% of Americans currently approve of Obama’s job, while 57% disapprove. Or compare Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s 66% state approval for his hands-on spill work vs 60% disapproval for the presidential visits, all four of them now.

Fact is, the two main political parties didn’t give American voters a……. choice in 2008, nominating legislators for three of the tickets’ four spots — Obama, Joe Biden and John McCain. The fourth — gee, her name escapes us right now — was an elected top state executive, who seemed to gather more public attention than any of the others.

Let’s see, looking back a ways here: 2004 incumbent president beats sitting senator and his senator running mate. 2000: Incumbent governor beats ex-senator, sitting vice president. 1996: Incumbent president beats ex-senator and his ex-House running mate. 1992: Governor beats incumbent president thanks to third-party bid by a corporate chief executive.

1988: Sitting vice president beats governor. 1984: Incumbent president beats ex-senator, ex-vice president. 1980: Governor beats incumbent president. 1976: Governor beats unelected vice president, formerly of the House, who succeeded Nixon.

Earlier there were two presidents who’d been vice presidents and senators before that (Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon), Kennedy and former Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, who headed Allied European forces in World War II and was famous for his decisiveness in successfully invading France on June 6, 1944.

Harry Truman, a former senator, inherited the presidency upon Franklin Roosevelt’s death, ran successfully in 1948 against a governor and then with his unpopularity mounting, opted out of a re-election effort. (Yes, FDR was a former state senator, but that was brief and followed by a governorship, among other jobs.)

So why the American political distaste for non-executives. Or to put it less delicately, legislators?

For one thing, the jobs have starkly contrasting personalities.

While political executives and legislators can both be worthy politicians, one is charged with executing, the other with maneuvering, compromising, committeeing, a bill in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Voting “Present” is not a realistic option for executives. Even at his lowest approval ebb yet (42%), Obama is still much better approved as president than his recent colleagues of either party in Congress.

For legislators, there’s always another day, another session, another amendment, a committee study to authorize. Obama’s roughly five-dozen healthcare town halls last year could easily be seen as a hearing.

Besides Obama’s deference to a Democratic Congress in such matters as writing the $787 billion economic stimulus bill as his first major presidential legislative signing, he also seems to favor commissions — to study the deficit solution, the oil spill cause. Legislators can notoriously be for something before they are against it; executives either sign it or not.

Take this malaise-like quote from Obama’s Tuesday Oval Office address (Full text right here):

“But we have to recognize that despite our best efforts, oil has already caused damage to our coastline and its wildlife. And sadly, no matter how effective our response is, there will be more oil and more damage before this siege is done.”

No doubt a heartfelt statement by the former legislator and/or his team of speechwriters, not to mention his chief of staff, another former legislator, Rahm Emanuel.

But those defeatist words are hardly Churchillian in their ringing call to fight the enemy on the beaches, no matter what the cost. Do Americans value a commander-in-chief who says things like, well, our best wasn’t good enough this time but we’re really gonna recover well, though it’ll probably take a pretty long time? And lots more money. Meanwhile, let’s build more windmills.

As the perceptive Ben Domenech writes:

Instead of action and responsible decision-making, Obama naturally turns to Congressional-staff crafted legislative solutions, commissions and committee-hearings — exactly the kind of approaches designed to insulate elected politicians from the ramifications of a vote or a decision.

It’s the difference between a leader and a follower, between someone confident enough to make a decision and live with the consequences, and someone who wants to cover their ass, between an executive who says: ‘I decided’ and a legislator who says: ‘They recommended.’

 With Obama’s initial presidential term only 35% complete, this is a revealing pattern of behavior apparently sensed by many Americans and worth watching closely in the coming weeks and months.

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One Response to Are Americans Tiring of a Legislator as President?

  1. polarbear20 says:

    Good question. My answer would be no. Constipated right wingers might be, but America isn’t.

    But those defeatist words are hardly Churchillian in their ringing call to fight the enemy on the beaches, no matter what the cost. Do Americans value a commander-in-chief who says things like, well, our best wasn’t good enough this time but we’re really gonna recover well, though it’ll probably take a pretty long time? And lots more money. Meanwhile, let’s build more windmills.

    To quote Against All Authority, What the fuck did you expect him to do? Is he supposed to go on TV and blow sunshine up our asses, like GW Bush did? Should Obama have said “we gotta fight the oil out there before it comes here”? LMMFAO! I see nothing wrong with Obama’s quote. I’m glad we have an honest person telling it as it is in the White House.

    On one of those canned chatter channels on cable I heard a criticism of Obama that he isn’t “emotional” or “showing anger” enough over this situation. WTF, is he supposed to go on TV and cry? Is he supposed to act like a macho toughguy with BP? That’s exactly the kind of thing Bsh would do. George W loved to mug it up for the camera. From “Mission Accomplished” to shouting in a bullhorn from atop a trash heap in New York City, Bush was all about theatrics. All I can say is that last part is not wrong. Our “best” didn’t work. It’s gonna cause more damage and cost more money before it is over.

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