« Our Caesar, who art in heaven... | Main | Liberals Call for Censorship of Conservative Talk Shows »

"Presidential" Crisis Management

Those who have been to my personal site will have observed that I paused my 'Major League Presidents' competition after 41 contests. Basically, that's because I have a ton of work to do, including my summer classes. But I am also not entirely satisfied with my numbers, and I am considering revisiting them. For this article, I would like to explain what I was trying to do, and to ask for your input on the essential elements.

It's a popular game to rank Presidents, and a lot of publications, schools, websites, and media like to do so. Of course, what happens is usually predictable when you know the leaning of the authors/producers, and so the rankings lose a bit of their usefulness. I have come to the conclusion that part of this comes from two mistakes. First, these polls basically just assign some nominal value to each candidate, total them up and sort them out by their total score. This misses the fact that each President lives and serves in a different set of circumstances, and some Presidents were dealt an easier hand than others. Further, it seems that any President who served prior to 1840 is given an aura of superiority, without much consideration of the fact that everyone has their good and bad points, Presidents included. I don't agree with the notion that a President should be considered better or worse than other Presidents on every point of comparison. Every man who served as President had certain abilities and skills which made them desirable as President in the first place, including those men who became President through the death or resignation of their predecessor. To gain perspective from studying Presidents, we need to watch out for the blunder of making President's one-dimensional.

Some may ask why measure Presidents at all? The present field of candidates demonstrates why, I think. Is Barack Obama or Fred Thompson, with so little experience in office, really a good fit for the office? On the other, how should we weigh the long and often controversial records of people like John McCain or Hillary Clinton? Seeing how real-life Presidents handled their duties could be quite useful in marking desirable traits and warning signs in the candidates, and based on something better than emotion alone.

To sort out any comparison between Presidents, I developed a system which created a series of contests in various times and conditions, where in one case a certain President might prove superior but not necessarily in another set of conditions. Without going into even more annoying specifics, I began by trying to consider what qualities are desirable in a President. To do so, I tried to avoid the subjective - and therefore hopelessly volatile - measures which are so often presented, such as "honesty" and "courage", because such descriptions will vary according to the flavor and mood of the respondent pool. Rather, I suggest that we examine the crises in American History, and how different Presidents dealt with them. So, for this article, I would like you to suggest some crisis in American History, and critique the responses of those Presidents who addressed them. In order to avoid the more emotional responses, I should like to ask that we limit the field to crises no later than 1987.

Thanks. This article is being cross-posted at both Wizbang! and Stolen Thunder.


Comments (11)

I've seen no notice here or... (Below threshold)
olhardhead:

I've seen no notice here or in the MSM. The ass kickin' in Iraq has begun. From Michael Yon:
" Big fights are ahead and we will take serious losses probably, but al Qaeda, unless they find a way to escape, are about to be slaughtered. Nobody is dropping leaflets asking them to surrender. Our guys want to kill them, and that's the plan."

http://www.michaelyon-online.com/wp/operation-arrowhead-ripper-day-one.htm

The Time Mag. case against the Marines is falling apart. Where's the media?

god bless our troops,
ol'

I've seen no notice here or... (Below threshold)
olhardhead:

I've seen no notice here or in the MSM. The ass kickin' in Iraq has begun. From Michael Yon:
" Big fights are ahead and we will take serious losses probably, but al Qaeda, unless they find a way to escape, are about to be slaughtered. Nobody is dropping leaflets asking them to surrender. Our guys want to kill them, and that's the plan."
http://www.michaelyon-online.com/wp/operation-arrowhead-ripper-day-one.htm

Rodger Hedgecock (?) on Rush's show is reporting that the charges against one Marine in the Hadifia case has been dropped. The Time Mag. case against the Marines is falling apart. Where's the media?
Sorry DJ, didn't mean to change the subject but I didn't know how else to draw attn.

god bless our troops,
ol'

OK, but do you have anythin... (Below threshold)

OK, but do you have anything to add to the topic?

I will start then, I guess, by noting some of the obvious "big" crises in US history:

Revolutionary War
Whiskey Rebellion
Panic of 1792
The Tripolitan War
War of 1812
Piracy, Caribbean
Piracy, Atlantic
Bank of the United States
1837 Panic
Anti-Catholic violence
Mexican War
Slavery
Civil War
Reconstruction
Credit Mobilier
"Indian" Wars
Miner violence
1873 Gold Standard Scandal
Anti-Chinese riots
The Mormon uprising
Jim Crow and the KKK
Crash of 1893
Tammany Hall
The Anarchist Conspiracies
Panic of 1907
Teapot Dome
Stock Market Crash 1929
The Federal Reserve
World War 2
Communism
Korea
Domestic Assassinations
Race riots
Vietnam
Feminism
Space exploration
State-Funded Terrorism
multi-national crime organizations

That should give us a start.

D.J., I appecate what you'r... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

D.J., I appecate what you're attempting to do, but I still believe that it is impossible to be objective about it.

For example, I would rate Reagan's destruction of the Soviet Union as a chrisis handled very well, while someone on the left like Lee Ward would most likely think there was no reason to even want to destroy his ideological brothers in the Kremlin. Therefore in his mind, the military buildup of the 80's and SDI were a waste of money and a failure.

"appecate" should have been... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

"appecate" should have been "appreciate"

DOH!

Well, I think the best way ... (Below threshold)

Well, I think the best way to approach that problem, is to start by identifying the key crises in American history, especially recurrent ones. Then try to find the skill or quality which best addresses that type of crisis. The reason this can work, is that I believe that Republicans and Democrats have both had to face the same general kinds of crises, even if specific examples differ.

It wuold be interesting to ... (Below threshold)
jim:

It wuold be interesting to list some things that it seems no Presidents of either party have had much of a positive effect on:

drugs
public education
Castro in Cuba (the guy's outlasted 8 Presidents, and he's going for his 9th!)

Also, if Feminism is listed, it seems fair to put Racism up there as well. The fallout is larger than just the Jim Crow laws and their eventual removal....

In the progress against Racism category, I'd like to take note of Truman. While a man of his time with racist attitudes and horrible speech in private, he also signed the executive order that desegregated the military. A case of a man rising above his own background and time, to take a good step forward...

Funny you should mention Ra... (Below threshold)

Funny you should mention Race, Jim. Tomorrow's article may be something you find interesting ...

OK, cool.... (Below threshold)
jim:

OK, cool.

DJ, I like you're topic, an... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

DJ, I like you're topic, and when I hire a private secretary (the typing kind), I'll answer.

Why not post your crisis examples from your comment under their own headings. You'd be fixed for posts for the next month or two. Or more. They're all meals in themselves.

As for presidential ratings systems: the first element (and the objective one) is : did the president deviate from the constitutional stricture of his office. That one's easy. The next element could address " was it neccessary, really?" Immediately we must apply subjective evaluations, which could be addressed by the readers' own statement of his Platonic ideal of government that the US constitution failed to address.

As you can see, the subject will tend to psychogrammatize the reader. As long as the first element is employed though, there is solid ground or a 0-point to measure from. After all, a US presidency is an office, not a title. Or do you disagree? See? First things!

bD, first, I gotta know wha... (Below threshold)
kim:

bD, first, I gotta know what you think of Heisenberg's cryptic comment about psychogrammatizing quanta. If google fails you, I'll take your approximation to the truth. Is jelly 292, or not?

From your viewpoint, of course.
====================================




Advertisements









rightads.gif

beltwaybloggers.gif

insiderslogo.jpg

mba_blue.gif

Follow Wizbang

Follow Wizbang on FacebookFollow Wizbang on TwitterSubscribe to Wizbang feedWizbang Mobile

Contact

Send e-mail tips to us:

[email protected]

Fresh Links

Credits

Section Editor: Maggie Whitton

Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

All original content copyright © 2003-2010 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark.

Powered by Movable Type Pro 4.361

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.

Author Login



Terms Of Service

DCMA Compliance Notice

Privacy Policy