There are three types of Presidents. The first type is the President who once held a prior elected position. That includes those who were elected as Congressmen, US Senators, and Governors. Then there are those Presidents who were once in the military, but did not hold an elected position at one time. Included in that category are George Washington, Ulysses S. Grant, and Dwight D. Eisenhower. The third category of Presidents is Herbert Hoover. Hoover did not hold any elected government experience nor did he serve in the military. His highest position in government was his role as Secretary of Commerce. In the time before Hoover’s election in 1928 and in the time after his defeat in 1932, Presidents have come from either a military or elected background or both. It seems as if the sign on the White House reads, “Outsiders Need Not Apply”. Why do believe that is the case?
Adam Smith believed that the wealth accumulated by a nation was determined its own productivity. Furthermore, Smith believed that people would be motivated to create this wealth, and subsequently enjoy it as well. This is fundamental basis for the idea and practice known as capitalism. Some believe that capitalism works best with the least amount of government interference possible. Others believe that capitalism, left alone, creates greed. Where do you stand on the idea of capitalism? Does it work best without government interaction? Is greed a result of capitalism? Is there a middle ground between government interaction with capitalism and laissez-faire capitalism? Below is clip from The Phil Donahue Show (1979) where Donahue’s guest is the late University of Chicago Economics Professor Milton Friedman. Friedman’s response to Donahue may help you with your response.
How important is the character of a President when studying the governing styles of the nation’s chief executive? For political scientist James David Barber, it is very salient in trying to understand how a President governs. Presidential character, as Barber defines it, can be divided into four parts.
1. Active-Positive: Presidents who fall under this category are very active in their job, have high levels of self-esteem, and work hard towards accomplishing goals.
2. Active-Negative: Those who fall under this category tend to be aggressive in their work, but act as if “they were trying to make up for something or to escape from anxiety into hard work.”
3. Passive-Positive: In this category, Presidents tend to lack self-esteem but have a positive outlook on the results of political decisions. They look for rewards from others because of their positive outlook on life, not because of the work that they do.
4. Passive-Negative: This is someone who believes that they have place in the political system, but a.) does little in his work and b.) does not enjoy the work that he has to do. These individuals believe “that they ought to be in politics” despite their sour nature.
In short, Barber goes on to say, “Active-positive Presidents want to achieve results (George Washington, for example). Active-negatives aim to get and keep power (John Adams). Passive-positives are after love (Thomas Jefferson). Passive-negatives (James Madison) emphasize their civic virtue.”
This table gives you an idea of how each age group voted in the 2008 and 2012 Presidential elections. In both cases, Barack Obama did well with voters between the ages of 18-29. With 18-29 year olds, both John McCain and Mitt Romney received less than 40 percent of the vote. Some have said that the Republican Party has a problem connecting with younger voters. Do you agree with that assessment?