Sunday, September 25, 2016


If I had to compare the two major Presidential candidates to previous office-holders - so that people could see what the potential administration would be like after 2017 - I'd have to go like this.

To compare Donald Trump to three previous Presidents, in reverse chronological order, I'd go:

George W. Bush. AKA Bush the Lesser.

Even though Dubya did have a Positive outlook on the role of the Presidency - and came into the office with enough experience to at least fake competency (until it was too late) - he shares with Trump one glaring sin: Sheer ignorance of the real world when it comes to making informed decisions. Trump as President will get caught flat-footed and clueless on far too many crisis moments, making bad decisions and even no decisions allowing emergencies to turn into disasters. Anything along the lines of a Katrina can happen, and on a greater scale.

Richard Nixon.

Just on the constant lying alone, Nixon and Trump are soul brothers. In other details, Trump has a recklessness when it comes to delegating authority to untrustworthy underlings. Trump has clearly made enemies and has made it known he'll use the White House to inflict revenge. Whereas Nixon at least grasped foreign policy and to my knowledge worked with our allies as well as our opponents, Trump never will. And Nixon did show a level of bipartisanship with Congress to pass legislation and get things done: even with a fully Republican Congress there is a likelihood Trump's ego will burn too many legislators.

Andrew Jackson.

I know this is a bit of reach going back that far, but honestly in terms of temperament Jackson is a very good example to suggest how a Trump Presidency would look. Jackson led with his massive and angry ego: every political issue he made a personal matter, and obsessively went after the institutions to fulfill his Populist agenda without care or concern of the consequences. Jackson had a slash-and-burn mentality that wrecked his own party, creating political divisions that haunted the nation for decades afterward. Trump will lead the same way. Consider also Jackson's horrific record mistreating Native Americans, and you have a carbon copy with Trump's open hostility to Blacks, Mexican, Chinese, and Muslims.

To compare Hillary Clinton to three previous Presidents, in reverse chronological order, I'd go:

Bill Clinton.

The guy standing next to her at most formal functions and the dude to make the history books as the first President to be the First Husband. Where I listed Bill as an Active-Positive, Hillary will not share his skill set as an effective bipartisan deal-maker. Bill is also effective and inspirational as a speaker, able to speak to the issues with a touch that few modern politicians can master. Hillary does share Bill's empathetic nature, but hasn't established a style that can display it well. With Bill in the same White House as hers, he will become an invaluable advisor able to keep her focused on positive agenda while she pushes with a more aggressive style he deployed.


The most direction comparison I can make for Hillary. They share a lot of traits: the need for control, the need to prove him/herself, stubbornness disguising itself as will-to-power, the noticeable insecurities of being in someone else's more popular shadow (for LBJ that was FDR and Kennedy: for Hillary that's Obama and her own husband). Johnson was one of the better Presidents when it came to getting bills through Congress even against incredible odds. Hillary will have the same temperament to get the job done, and has enough understanding of how Congress works - having been a Senator - to follow in LBJ's footsteps. The problem here is that Hillary's stubbornness and Us vs. Them mentality she's displayed before as First Lady (her handling of the 1993 Health Care bill failures) is exactly akin to Johnson's: it's the same kind of mindset that led to Vietnam turning into a quagmire and Johnson's own Great Society agenda turning into a bureaucratic mess.

Harry S, Truman.

The direct comparisons aren't noticeable because Truman's more Active-Positive mindset towards governance conflicts with Hillary's more Active-Negative world-view. However, they share a handful of virtues topped off by driven dedication to homework and awareness of the issues at play. Truman governed with a Confident style, which is what Hillary can aspire to as opposed to a more confrontational one.

So, that's how I see the candidates.

Trump will be the next Dubya, the next Nixon, the next Jackson. Each one of them leaving legacies of economic and political disasters. There are no upsides here. No likelihood of improvement or effective leadership, and every likelihood of civil unrest and economic collapse.

Hillary will be much like her husband Bill, and like Johnson, and hopefully in her better moments another Truman. At her worst she'll be another LBJ coping with a morally dubious debacle that could sink her administration. At her best she'll be maintaining a solid yet underperforming economy with a few foreign policy wins, overseeing  Left-leaning shift in the Judicial system, and in strong position to earn a second term in 2020.

1 comment:

dinthebeast said...

If she can pull off LBJ I'll be happy. LBJ knew how to get things done, even in the face of obstruction, and if Hillary can manage that, we're all good. That will be her hardest task, how to actually govern in the face obstruction and outright hatred. You know that her version of the Caucus Room conspiracy has already happened long ago.

-Doug in Oakland