|One of these things is not like the other ones...|
Last week I did a political post and claimed it as my last one…so consider this one more of a history lesson, although it does involve politics. Political history…yeah, that’s it. And you CAN learn from it.
I’ve seen a couple of Presidential political posts this week where, rather than asking for comments about one’s opponent, the posters requested that commenters say why they support their candidate WITHOUT making any comments or comparisons to the other candidate. Needless to say, for many this was a challenge (in that they could not resist making some or all of their post the usual “your candidate sucks because…” comment). I was able to provide seven reasons why I was voting for Hillary, and it took a while for someone to finally post a legit comment about why he was supporting Trump. Basically, he liked the fact that Trump was an outsider “with no previous political experience whatsoever.”
Of course, that’s one reason I could never support Trump. This is the most important political position in the land, and while many newcomers are elected dog catcher, school board rep, city councilman, assemblyperson, state representative, even Senator – who could even conceive that a beginner could start at the top? This eventually came up in the discussion – we HAVE elected individuals who have never held political office prior to becoming President.
Sort of. In the last century, the newbies Eisenhower and Hoover ascended to the highest office in the land, but their paths (and outcomes) are very, very, very different than the one currently under construction by Donald Trump.
Take Eisenhower. I like Ike, and many others did, too. Prior to running for President in 1952, he HAD been a President – of Columbia University. Prior to that, he dabbled a bit in the military. No bone spurs for him. Of course, he was five-star general, Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, and later, of NATO. He was Army Chief of Staff under President Truman…so while he never held ELECTIVE political office, he was more than aware of and experienced with the ways and means of government.
His prior experience made him one of the most-liked two term Presidents of the past century. I’ve never understood why Republicans don’t mention Ike in god-like tones like they do Ronald Reagan (who was governor of California before becoming President, BTW). Ike was strong on infrastructure (National Highways), social and racial reform (military and education – see “Little Rock”) and balanced budgets and higher tax rates (the top marginal rate fell during his administration from 92 to…91 percent).
OK, maybe that’s why he’s not discussed in the same breath as Reagan. Too bad.
As for Herbert Hoover…he had an Oregon upbringing (born in Iowa, he moved here early in life, and his childhood home is in Newberg, about a 2-hour drive from my house). So I should be somewhat favorable to him. So should you – while he made a bundle in the mining industry, he was also quite the philanthropist. During World War I he organized relief efforts for Americans stuck in Europe, then for Europeans. After the war he was head of the US Food Administration, and continued with post-war relief. He later became Secretary of Commerce under Harding and Coolidge. So, like Eisenhower, he had PLENTY of experience within the government that he eventually became ran as President.
Trump has no military experience, no involvement with government at all, yet many believe him qualified for what many call the hardest job in the world. History would suggest his lack of preparation invalidates his claim to qualification.
But that’s not the history lesson. No, the lesson is this: We all know Hoover was in charge when the American economy fell into the Great Depression. Hoover made attempts to rescue the economy, but these efforts fell flat, and the Depression worsened. Some economists argue that his interventions made it worse. No matter – he was soundly defeated for reelection in 1932 in what many recall as a landslide.
An Electoral College landslide, yes. But Hoover, despite everything, managed to capture 40% of the popular vote. That’s right – despite a 25% unemployment rate, a complete halt to construction, bank failures, bankruptcies, and the disastrous Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act (which worsened the already miserable foreign trade situation, but really, I just wanted to be able to say “Smoot-Hawley” in this blog) – 40% of American voters pulled the handle for the Republican. No matter what the reality.
Just like now. And that’s your history lesson.