Artist in Presidence.

january 26th, 2016

In researching Trump and Sanders for a recent addition to my series of political homoerotica, i read a line in the National Review that struck me:

both parties have been infested by candidates who have treated the presidency as an entry‑level position.

Yah. That resonated. Young Dallas noted that 19th century President Jackson capitalized on the mythos of the Outsider President. But taking a closer look at ol' Andy Jack, he won his first Federal elected office in 1796, followed by 20 years of military command and management. A ruthless shithead manager, yes. Entry‑level commander, no.

So then i was thinking: of the 20th century Presidents, which do i consider the best, and what were their backgrounds before becoming President, and who in the current political field has a comparable background? Reverse engineering.

my top three picks at present: Lyndon Johnson (civil rights), Franklin Roosevelt (recovery from the Great Depression), Woodrow Wilson (support for labor domestically, peace internationally). No saints, these three. LBJ and FDR were likely sociopaths. At best, they were master manipulators. LBJ doubled‑down on US commitment to Vietnam. FDR's New Deal and fireside chats boosted morale, sure. But it was the WWII war machine responsible for a renewed economy. Wilson criminally suppressed dissent during WWI and didn't give a fock about segregation. i'd forgotten about that until researching today. Ugh. Fock that.

These were not perfect guys. But if i'm picking three from the 20th century, it's these three. So what were their backgrounds? FDR and LBJ started in elected politics when they were 28 and 29. They both had over 20 years of federal office and military service before they were elected US President. Wilson was president of Princeton, then Governor of New Jersey for, like, a minute before he was elected. He's the only President with a PhD.

In the current political field, none of the candidates have a background and disposition that match those of my faves. In particular, military service is now a class marker rather than a political and personal proving ground. And the US Presidency is certainly High Class, regardless of Jackson's success to the contrary. It's an office for people who were born to, or acquired, High Class markers like vast wealth, the right last name, a Harvard degree, a Senate seat, &c.