Recently, a friend from overseas told me that he has disliked every president he encountered in his twelve years living in America. It’s an interesting assertion, so I thought more about it.
Americans elected a radical senator for the first time in 2008. He’d been an unremarkable state legislator most of his life. He had no experience in leadership, foreign policy, or business, and he was not a military veteran. His (half-black) race meant that he offered us a vision for “post-racial America.” After eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency, we had an enormous escalation in the racial divide from which we have not recovered.
2016 saw the election of a celebrity and political outsider with questionable character, who had been hosting a reality TV show for 10 years. He was a well-known business mogul who claimed he would “drain the swamp”. He ran against an unlikable and entitled opponent with a questionable legacy. He campaigned on the promise to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. After four years, Donald Trump had erected some fencing at key areas, but not a full border-length wall. The swamp wasn’t drained.
Americans elected in 2020 a former politician of over 80 years who failed twice to run for the Oval Office. His four decades of service as a senator, eight years as vice-president, and reputation for making deals and understanding Senate nuance are key reasons he was selected. He was also not Bernie Sanders nor Donald Trump, his last two opponents. A year into Joe Biden’s presidency, he has made the worst military mistake of all time, the southern border is still a sieve. China and Russia have been empowered. His legislative centerpiece was destroyed because he couldn’t persuade his party members.
He’s also unpersuasively lecturing Americans on a health crisis that he promised would end.
Pre-9/11, Americans often elected governors to the presidency.
Although some of the men on this list were not perfect, they were all successful and got reelected.
Perhaps we should give someone with experience in political leadership a chance to lead the country again within three years.