02-28-2011 09:35 PM
04-01-2011 12:53 PM
I don't think there is such a thing as the "perfect president." Being president means you are able to stand up to pressure from foreigners, your own country, your party, and rival parties. You also must be flexible but strong in your beliefs. You need to understand that not everything you set out to do will be done, and you may need to drop some of your agenda when a crisis arrives.
Also, what is considered a "good" president by posterity may not actually be the same at the time. Thomas Jefferson was not really a fabulous president when he was in office, but he's remembered as one of the greatest in our history (probably more for the Declaration of Independence and the Louisianna Purchase more than anything else). Also, Abraham Lincoln not a great president- he suspended habeas corpus, was unable to prevent a civil war (not entirely his fault), didn't actually free the slaves (at least with the Emancipation Proclamation), and was actually a racist (as most men of the day were)- but again one of the most popular presidents.
I think what's most important is being able to adapt to the situation and be able to work "across the aisles" with both parties to get done what needs to be done.
Also remember what's not popular at the time may not be such a bad decision in the long-run. It's still a sensitive and debatable topic, but as much as some (most?) disagree with President Bush's (the second) policies - Gitmo, Iraq - we see President Obama NOT completely closing Gitmo and getting involved in Libya... Sometimes you need to do what you feel needs to be done.
04-29-2011 07:40 PM
05-01-2011 02:46 PM
A good president will have been tempered and prepared by his/her experiences and training and political relationships prior to even running for the office.
Good citizens will note and test those things and consider them when they vote.
05-02-2011 09:00 PM
05-25-2011 09:04 PM
I don't believe there is such a thing as "perfect." I think people like to deify and demonize people. Too many people think of the Founding Fathers as somehow super human in their abilities. Or, people who do evil as demons. In fact, what makes a person great is when they can overcome their failings and still do great things. Ben Franklin was a horrible father and husband. Abe Lincoln suffered terrible bouts of depression. Yet, they overcame those things to do great things. At the same time, monster of history also were human. They had the same chances to do things for good, but chose to do evil. If the good people are godlike, they we cannot aspire to them. If they are demons, we cannot learn from them and what to avoid to make sure such evil does not happen again.
09-30-2011 09:21 PM
In my opinion, you need to be a good person.
But just that is not enough. Both Bush and Obama, I believe, are good people but both pushed taxes through the ceiling, try to fix the economy by printing tons of money, and engage in continuous foreign wars.
Martin Van Buren. He refused to intervene in the economy when handed a recession immediately upon taking office. He explained his decision in an essay (which he himself wrote) that remains, to this day, the most sophisticated essay on economics ever written by a president. His advisors warned him he needed to intervene if he wanted a second term. He chose what was best for the nation instead.
More importantly, he refused to take America to war (with England) when he had the chance. The hornets of war were agitating throughout the country, and his advisors told him again this was the way to save his presidency. Again he refused. Peace for America was more important than a second term for himself and certainly more important than glory for the central government.
Only war presidents – and economic interventionists – win points with historians so you’re not going to go down in history as a great president if you emulate little Matty Van. But you will leave America a better place. Into the bargain, you will make it once again the light, not the sword, of freedom to the world.