More on Why Senators Don't Make Good Presidents

by Benjamin Domenech on 4:52 pm June 17, 2010


Two reactions to my piece on why Senators make lousy Presidents from two august personages: the always excellent Andrew Malcolm (whose Top of the Ticket blog is a required daily stop) offers some apt historical points about American political preferences for executives over legislators (emphasis mine):

For one thing, the jobs have starkly contrasting personalities. While political executives and legislators can both be worthy politicians, one is charged with executing, the other with maneuvering, compromising, committeeing, a bill in the hand is worth two in the bush. Voting “Present” is not a realistic option for executives…

For legislators, there’s always another day, another session, another amendment, a committee study to authorize. Obama’s roughly five-dozen healthcare town halls last year could easily be seen as a hearing.

Besides Obama’s deference to a Democratic Congress in such matters as writing the $787 billion economic stimulus bill as his first major presidential legislative signing, he also seems to favor commissions — to study the deficit solution, the oil spill cause. Legislators can notoriously be for something before they are against it; executives either sign it or not.

And over at Ricochet, Rob Long responds by quoting his latest piece in National Review:

Here’s the part of Obama’s interview with Matt Lauer I find the most interesting: “I don’t sit around just talking to experts because this is a college seminar,” said the former college professor, who ran a health care reform summit meeting like the cranky chairman of a faculty committee of a third-rate college. Who finds it impossible to describe something as simple and clear as Islamic fundamentalism without weasel-wording equivocations. Who, in other words, thinks this is a college seminar.

I wonder how long it will be before Americans send another legislator to the White House?

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