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Author Topic: Most qualified Presidents ever? And least if you want that too.  (Read 2182 times)
#Ready4Nixon
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« on: July 08, 2012, 07:19:54 pm »
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When reading through that list of best to worst presidents in the other thread, I remember the mention of JQA and James Buchanan being two of the most qualified individuals to ascend to the Presidency. So I'd like to hear people's thoughts on who the most, and least, qualified Presidents we ever had were.

Most:
In my opinion, the first six Presidents are all worthy of mention. Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and again Adams. Four of these served in the office of Secretary of State and in other diplomatic offices as well as legislative ones. Jefferson and I believe also Monroe had served as Governors. John Adams had served in the Continental Congress, as Ambassador, and as VP. As well, both Washington and Jefferson also served in the Continental Congress.

Martin Van Buren might be worthy of mention. He'd served as Ambassador, Governor, Secretary of State, Senator, and Vice President.

James Buchanan of course, despite his disastrous Presidency. He'd served as Ambassador twice, as Secretary of State during a very successful four years of American foreign policy, and both as a Senator and Representative.

During the Civil War Era and Gilded Age it doesn't seem there were many individuals with impressive on-paper resumes. Grant was a general, Lincoln was a one-term Congressman, Garfield a Rep, Hayes a Governor, etc.

Following the end of the Gilded Age, there are a few people who might qualify. But if so, barely. McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Taft deserves mention as well.

Entering into present day, the only ones that should be considered, IMO, are Nixon and H.W. Bush for obvious reasons.
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« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2012, 09:36:07 pm »
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Depends.  I'd argue that a General, like Grant, is more qualified than people give him credit for.  I'd argue that Carter is one of the least qualified, considering he spent 4 years as Governor of a medium sized state - at least GW Bush was Governor of a big state.
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« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2012, 07:42:39 am »
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If we are talking about what qualifies a man for the presidency, I would say Coolidge was the most qualified man to hold the office. He served in a city council, and subsequently as a mayor, state legislator, lt. Governor, Governor, and Vice President. No other person to have served as President has had that many previous positions in elected office.
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« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2012, 09:54:29 am »
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When reading through that list of best to worst presidents in the other thread, I remember the mention of JQA and James Buchanan being two of the most qualified individuals to ascend to the Presidency. So I'd like to hear people's thoughts on who the most, and least, qualified Presidents we ever had were.

Most:
In my opinion, the first six Presidents are all worthy of mention. Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and again Adams. Four of these served in the office of Secretary of State and in other diplomatic offices as well as legislative ones. Jefferson and I believe also Monroe had served as Governors. John Adams had served in the Continental Congress, as Ambassador, and as VP. As well, both Washington and Jefferson also served in the Continental Congress.

Martin Van Buren might be worthy of mention. He'd served as Ambassador, Governor, Secretary of State, Senator, and Vice President.

James Buchanan of course, despite his disastrous Presidency. He'd served as Ambassador twice, as Secretary of State during a very successful four years of American foreign policy, and both as a Senator and Representative.

During the Civil War Era and Gilded Age it doesn't seem there were many individuals with impressive on-paper resumes. Grant was a general, Lincoln was a one-term Congressman, Garfield a Rep, Hayes a Governor, etc.

Following the end of the Gilded Age, there are a few people who might qualify. But if so, barely. McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Taft deserves mention as well.

Entering into present day, the only ones that should be considered, IMO, are Nixon and H.W. Bush for obvious reasons.

Your omission of Calvin Coolidge is a crime, good sir.

Other than that, really good analysis.
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« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2012, 10:48:55 am »
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Let me see here (going off of wikipedia side listings):

I'm going to do this by Party System, because doing it overall would give me a headache.

First Party System:

George Washington:

Delegate to the First Continental Congress from Virginia: September 5th, 1774-October 26th, 1774
Delegate to the Second Continental Congress from Virginia: May 10th, 1775-June 15th, 1775
Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army: June 15th, 1775-December 23rd, 1783
1st President of the United States of America: April 30th, 1789-March 4th, 1797


Washington also served as the Senior Officer of the Army after he left the Presidency, so I wouldn't consider it a "qualification" given that it happened after he left office.

John Adams:
Delegate to the First Continental Congress from Massachusetts Bay: September 5th, 1774-October 26th, 1774
Delegate to the Second Continental Congress from Massachusetts Bay: May 10th, 1775-June 27th, 1778
United States Minister to the Netherlands: April 19th, 1782-March 30th, 1788
United States Minister to the Court of St. James: April 1st, 1785-March 30th, 1788
1st Vice President of the United States: April 21st, 1789-March 4th, 1797
2nd President of the United States: March 4th, 1797-March 4th, 1801


While this seems like a lot of offices, this actually does injustice to John Adams qualifications because outside of these official positions he did A HELL OF A LOT of negotiating with European powers to try to get foreign help into the Revolutionary War.  John Adams was also instrumental in helping craft his own state's Constitution that (at the time) would be on of the most progressive documents of it's time.  A lot of this he did while spending YEARS away from his own family.

Thomas Jefferson:
Delegate to the Second Continental Congress from Virginia: June 20th, 1775-September 26th, 1776
2nd Governor of Virginia: June 1st, 1779-June 3rd, 1781
Delegate to the Congress of Confederation from Virginia: November 3rd, 1783-May 7th, 1784
United States Minister to France: May 17th, 1785-September, 1789
1st United States Secretary of State: March 22nd, 1790-December 31st, 1793
2nd Vice President of the United States of America: March 4th, 1797-March 4th, 1801
3rd President of the United States of America: March 4th, 1801-March 4th, 1809


A very impressive list of offices if I may say so.  Also like Adams Jefferson had foreign postings and vice presidential tenures, suggesting foreign policy experience and whatever the Vice Presidency gives weight to.  Jefferson also did a lot of behind the scenes work, of course the Declaration of Independence and his own state's Constitution as well as some innovative inventions of his own.

James Madison:
Delegate to the Congress of Confederation from Virginia: March 1st, 1781-November 1st, 1783
Member of the US House of Representatives from Virginia's 5th district: March 4th, 1789-March 3rd, 1793
Member of the US House of Representatives from Virginia's 15th district: March 4th, 1793-March 3rd, 1797
5th United States Secretary of State: May 2nd, 1801-March 3rd, 1809
4th President of the United States of America: March 4th, 1809-March 4th, 1817


Yes, he helped craft the US Constitution.
Felt like I had to say something.

James Monroe:
Delegate to the Congress of Confederation from Virginia: November 3rd, 1783-November 7th, 1786
United States Senator from Virginia: November 9th, 1790-March 29th, 1794
United States Minister to France: May 28th, 1794-September 9th, 1796
12th Governor of Virginia: December 19th, 1799-December 1st, 1802
United States Minister to the United Kingdom: April 18th, 1803-February 26th, 1808
16th Governor of Virginia: January 16th, 1811-April 2nd, 1811
7th United States Secretary of State: April 2nd, 1811-March 4th, 1817
8th United States Secretary of War: September 27th, 1814-March 2nd, 1815
5th President of the United States of America: March 4th, 1817-March 4th, 1825


President Monroe's number of offices held is certainly impressive.  It seems the President of the "Era of Goodfeelings" had quite a record to backup his election to office.

John Quincy Adams:
United States Minister to the Netherlands: November 6th, 1794-June 20th, 1797
United States Minster to Prussia: December 5th, 1797-May 5th, 1801
United States Senator from Massachusetts: March 4th, 1803-June 8th, 1808
United States Minister to Russia: November 5th, 1809-April 28th, 1814
United States Minister to the United Kingdom: April 28th, 1814-September 22nd, 1817
8th United States Secretary of State: September 22nd, 1817-March 4th, 1825
6th President of the United States of America: March 4th, 1825-March 4th, 1829


Adams was also a US Representative after his presidency, but again that's not counted because it happened after his presidency (like father like son).

I would say that you really need to break it down for this sort of analysis.  If you mean by amount of previous offices held, James Monroe would be the most qualified (considering his double tenure as both a US Secretary of State and a US Secretary of War).  However, on foreign relations John Q is obviously by far the most qualified (though his father comes in second).  Arguably, all six of these men would be amongst the "most qualified" of presidents.  Being a politician in early America demanded a man take on a lot of roles, apparently.

Overall, I guess I would have to go with James Monroe.  Sure, he didn't write the Declaration, he didn't participate in foreign negotiations to get other nations to invest in America, he didn't craft the Constitution, he didn't write the Federalist papers, but my god LOOK AT THAT FREAKING RESUME!  I mean really, US Secretary of State and US Secretary of War?  During the War of 1812?
Not to downplay Washington's generalship at all here.
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« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2012, 12:08:53 pm »
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Perhaps we could define categories of experience with ranked sub-categories to make it easier to sort.  Something like...

Executive Experience
Governor of a large state (4 points)
Governor of a medium state/Mayor of a large city (3 points)
Governor of a small state/Mayor of a medium city (2 points)
Mayor of a small town (1 point)

Legislative Experience
US Senator (4 points)
US Congressman (3 points)
State Representative (2 points)
County/City level (1 point)

Foreign Policy Experience
Secretary of State 4 (points)
Ambassador to an "important" country/Director of the CIA (3 points)
Ambassador to an "unimportant" country (2 points)
Lower level experience in State Department or intelligence community(1 point)

Military Experience
Secretary of Defense/General/Admiral during war time (4 points)
General/Admiral during peace time (3 points)
Commissioned or Non-Commissioned officer (2 points)
Enlisted man (1 point)

Economic Experience
Secretary of the Treasury (4 points)
Chairman of the Federal Reserve (3 points)
Misc Economic government post (OBM Director, etc) (2 points)
Doctorate in Economics from an accredited university (1 point)

Miscellaneous Government Experience
Vice President (4 points)
Cabinet member not previously mentioned (3 points)
Presidential Staffer (ex: Press Secretary) (2 points)
Generic "Other" low level category of jobs directly related to the government (1 point)

Private Sector Experience
CEO of a Fortune 500 company (4 points)
Founder of a successful start-up (3 points)
CEO of a company that does not meet the previous two criterion (2 points)
Management position within a company (1 point)

I debated including a "founding fathers" category, but I think that would unfairly penalize all succeeding presidents.  Please give me your feedback; I'm sure this has plenty of kinks in it.
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« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2012, 01:06:59 pm »
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One thing would be the amount of time spent in each office, Yelnoc.
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Pope Kalwejt I of Northeast
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« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2012, 01:33:34 pm »
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Your omission of Calvin Coolidge is a crime, good sir.

Other than that, really good analysis.

Except that both JQA and Buchanan served on national level, unlike Coolidge, who served exclusively on state level until becoming Vice President.
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« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2012, 01:59:09 pm »
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I would say that Eisenhower was fairly qualified; his unique position as a general that coordinated with other generals (who had incredibly powerful egos) probably helped deal with egotistic politicians during his presidency.
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« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2012, 04:06:58 pm »
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Your omission of Calvin Coolidge is a crime, good sir.

Other than that, really good analysis.

Except that both JQA and Buchanan served on national level, unlike Coolidge, who served exclusively on state level until becoming Vice President.

I mean, he mentioned Teddy Roosevelt as being "qualified".

Teddy Roosevelt, who by the way, was an army colonel and then a Governor for like one year before becoming VP and then President.  And before that he was a sheriff so some random North Dakota town.

So yes, it is a crime.

EDIT: Okay, so he was Asst. Sec. of the Navy from 1897-1899.  Still though, is two and a half years of federal service more weight than f***ing 20 years of state level?
« Last Edit: July 09, 2012, 04:08:32 pm by James Badass Monroe »Logged



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#Ready4Nixon
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« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2012, 05:41:22 pm »
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Your omission of Calvin Coolidge is a crime, good sir.

Other than that, really good analysis.

Except that both JQA and Buchanan served on national level, unlike Coolidge, who served exclusively on state level until becoming Vice President.

I mean, he mentioned Teddy Roosevelt as being "qualified".

Teddy Roosevelt, who by the way, was an army colonel and then a Governor for like one year before becoming VP and then President.  And before that he was a sheriff so some random North Dakota town.

So yes, it is a crime.

EDIT: Okay, so he was Asst. Sec. of the Navy from 1897-1899.  Still though, is two and a half years of federal service more weight than f***ing 20 years of state level?

I admit my error there. I was thinking his wide range of experience on a small scale, as a State Senator (Jan. 1882-mid-1884), as a Sheriff, as a Civil Service Commissioner (1889-1895), as Police Commissioner of New York (1895-1897), as Asst. Secretary of the Navy (1897), as a Colonel, and as a Governor. But yes, I would say Coolidge would be infinitely more qualified than he in terms of executive experience. (Though I daresay TR beats him at wordly experience)
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« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2012, 12:11:33 pm »
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Second Party System:

Andrew Jackson:

Member of the US House of Representatives from Tennessee's At-Large District: December 4th, 1796-September 26th, 1797
United States Senator from Tennessee: September 26th, 1797-April 1st, 1798
Justice of the Tennessee State Supreme Court: 1798-1804
Major General of the Tennessee militia: Achieved in 1802
Something something War of 1812, something something First Seminole War: 1810s
Military Governor of Florida: March 10th, 1821-December 31st, 1821
United States Senator from Tennessee: March 4th, 1823-October 14th, 1825
President of the United States: March 4th, 1829-March 4th, 1837


To be blunt, "Old Hickory's" political experience seems to be limited to one to two year stays in office before he either resigns or he is appointed to another position by the government.  His strongest qualifications are definitely military experience, as he was an off and on military general throughout the 1800's and was a renown war hero for doing something in the War of 1812 and the First Seminole Wars.  His tenure on the Tennessee State Supreme Court does sound very interesting, considering that NONE of my history professors even came near to suggesting that Jackson had some judicial experience.  With six years of experience in that office, it is his second longest held office after the Presidency.  Again, in early America even military bound men were expected to hold a number of offices due to the responsibilities of politics in a young nation, so it would be unfair to really compare and contrast qualifications with later politicians who live in a much more established country.

Martin Van Buren:
Member of the New York State Senate: 1812-1820
14th Attorney General of New York: February 17th, 1815-July 8th, 1819
United States Senator from New York: March 4th, 1821-March 12th, 1829
9th Governor of New York: January 1st, 1829-March 12th, 1829
10th United States Secretary of State: March 28th, 1829-May 23rd, 1831
United States Minister to the United Kingdom: August 8th, 1831-April 4th, 1832
8th Vice President of the United States: March 4th, 1833-March 4th, 1837
8th President of the United States: March 4th, 1837-March 4th, 1841


One thing to say about Van Buren is that his record of service seems to be almost continuous from his first step into the New York State Senate to his exit from the Presidency.  The small amount of time he was away from office seems to be right before another office, suggesting that the only times he wasn't in political office was the brief periods between the end of his previous office and the start of his next office.  Which suggests that the time between offices was used trying to get into the next, or something or other.

William H. Harrison:
Secretary of the Northwest Territory: June 28th, 1798-October 1st, 1799
Member of the US House of Representatives from the Northwest Territory's At-Large District: March 4th, 1799-May 14th, 1800
Governor of the Indiana Territory: January 1st, 1801-December 28th, 1812
Major General of the Indiana Militia: 1810s
Battle of Tippecanoe and some various things in War of 1812
Member of the US House of Representatives from Ohio's 1st district: October 8th, 1816-March 3rd, 1819
United States Senator from Ohio: March 4th, 1825-May 20th, 1828
United States Minister to Colombia: May 24th, 1828-September 26th, 1829
9th President of the United States: March 4th, 1841-April 4th, 1841


There is no denying that Harrison has had a world's of experience as a frontier Governor and a major general.  His political experience is by no means lacking, which is sad that he wasted it all on a three hour speech in the freezing rain.  God, what a qualified moron.

John Tyler:
Member of the US House of Representatives from Virginia's 23rd District: December 17th, 1816-March 5th, 1821
23rd Governor of Virginia: December 10th, 1825-March 4th, 1827
United States Senator from Virginia: March 4th, 1827-February 29th, 1836
President Pro Tempore of the Senate: March 4th, 1835-December 8th, 1835
10th Vice President of the United States: March 4th, 1841-April 4th, 1841
10th President of the United States: April 4th, 1841-March 4th, 1845


Meh, the record of John Tyler reads like the usual politician, just with a month's worth of being Vice President.  Obviously, he was chosen for his more regional appeal, this being the Second Party System almost every state was a swing state (those of you who rave about 1976 should take a closer look at the elections from 1836-1852.  I mean wow, if we ever have a "party system" like that again I will die a happy man, just out of the suspense that would exist on Election Day).  Obviously, nobody counted on John Tyler becoming President.

James Polk:
Member of the Tennessee State Legislature: 1823-1825
Member of the US House of Representatives from Tennessee's 6th District: March 4th, 1825-March 4th, 1833
Member of the US House of Representatives from Tennessee's 9th District: March 4th, 1833-March 4th, 1839
17th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives: December 7th, 1835-March 4th, 1839
Governor of Tennessee: October 14, 1839 – October 15, 1841
11th President of the United States: March 4th, 1845-March 4th, 1849


Interesting fact, James Polk lost his bid for re-election to the governorship in Tennessee and then lost two years later in a rematch.  Later on, at the DNC of 1844, he intended to position himself for the Vice Presidency, due to the perception that former President Martin Van Buren would likely win the nomination.  However, Van Buren's anti-slavery expansion positions would harm him at the Convention and Andrew Jackson himself would endorse Polk for the Presidency.  However, Polk was still hesitant to come out as a candidate, insisting that his supporters support Van Buren for president and him for vice president as a "compromise ticket".  As it turns out, Polk's own platform which advocated westward expansion would win the day, considering that many westerners weren't advocates of the expansion of slavery.

Zachary Taylor:
United States Army: 1808-1849
War of 1812 Theater
Seminole Wars Theater
Promoted to Brigadier General: December 1837
Mexican American War Theater
12th President of the United States: March 4th, 1849-July 9th, 1850


Zachary Taylor is by far one of the most military experienced presidents so far with over 40 years of US Army service.  However, there seems to be little if any indication that he had any prior political service.  In terms of leadership qualities, yes I imagine he would be qualified to lead, but would have little experience of how to deal with the political process.

Milliard Fillmore:
Member of the New York State Assembly: 1828-1831
Member of the US House of Representatives from New York's 23rd District: March 4th, 1833-March 4th, 1835
Member fo the US House of Representatives from New York's 23rd District: March 4th, 1837-March 4th, 1843
14th Comptroller of New York: January 1st, 1848-February 20th, 1849
12th Vice President of the United States: March 4th, 1849-July 9th, 1850
13th President of the United States: July 9th, 1850-March 4th, 1853


It seems to be a requirement for the President to be a career politician, isn't it?

Franklin Pierce:
Member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives: 1829-1833
Speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives: 1832-1833
Member of the US House of Representatives from New Hampshire's At-Large District: March 4th, 1833-March 4th, 1837
US Senator from New Hampshire: March 4th, 1837-February 28th, 1842
Colonel in the Mexican American War
Appointed Brigadier General in 1847
President of the New Hampshire state constitutional convention of 1850
14th President of the United States: March 4th, 1853-March 4th, 1857


Franklin Pierce overall seems to be of the type of stuff that makes Presidential candidates.  A length of service in Congress and prestigious military service (getting up to the rank of brigadier general).  While he might not be the most qualified of been in service for decades he certainly does have the accolades that attract votes.  Too bad he wasn't an effective President due to other matters.

I think I'll end it here for right now.  On average this period seems to be characterized by a mixture of personalities that have one thing in common: career length services in either the military or the political field.  I would say that, overall, the least experienced person is probably Zachary Taylor, simply because his career wasn't as diverse as the others.  Van Buren is a pure political animal, as exhibited by his near constant stay in politics from 1812-1841, the time he left the office of president.  In what I bet is a surprise to many, Andrew Jackson actually has the most diverse experience out of these men, having been a military officer, a judge in a state supreme court, and of course being the figurehead of the Democratic Party.  So to say this is an easy era to judge on qualifications is an understatement.

Overall though, I would say that *shocker* William Harrison was the most qualified guy.  I mean really, he was Governor of a territory on the frontier for over a decade, had an extensive military career, was both a US Representative and a US Senator, and had foreign policy experience as a minister to Colombia in the 1820s, a nation which was in it's toddler stage.  So yes, overall he seems to have a very diverse career with lots of experience in most of his fields.
History, of course, would be ironic and kill him a month into office.  So, we'll never know how his presidency would turn out.
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« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2012, 03:13:50 pm »
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It should be noted Taylor never voted in his entire life.
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« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2012, 03:30:26 pm »
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FDR's resume before becoming Governor of New York appears pretty weak: one term state Senator and Assistant Secretary of the Navy. Sure, he played an important role in Navy affairs, especially considering that old Josephus Daniels was bored with the job, but it's still, not even a cabinet post. Yet he was already a national figure, being 1920 vice presidential nominee.

Off topic: qualifications of the Vice Presidents. What to say about Garrett Hobart, who was a state senator before becoming "second man"? Surely, he was influential in state politics, both as Senate President and party boss, but, yeah...

Or, more recent example, Spiro Agnew, less than two years as Governor, being a freaking county commissioner before that.

Or Chester Arthur, a man who never held an elected office and his only public office was custom collector. Surely, he was a true politician, but at the time of becoming Vice President he basically belonged to the same category as current professional DNC or RNC operatives.

My favorite example, although he lost: Arthur Sewell. A huuge W.T.F.! Look, guys, you think I'm too populist so I'm picking a freaking Yankee shipping magnate as my running-mate!!11

In most recent years, the most qualified, in terms or resume and diverse experience, Vice President was Nelson Rockefeller. Four terms as powerful Governor of a large state and various diplomatic and executive positions before. His record is making Bush Sr. resume, so praised in this thread, looking boring, although both Poppy and Cheney definitively had strong combined appointed and elected experience.

Mondale, Quayle, Gore spent considerable time in Congress, but legislative stuff was all. Humphrey at least had executive experience in Minneapolis.
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« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2012, 04:35:36 pm »
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FDR's resume before becoming Governor of New York appears pretty weak: one term state Senator and Assistant Secretary of the Navy. Sure, he played an important role in Navy affairs, especially considering that old Josephus Daniels was bored with the job, but it's still, not even a cabinet post. Yet he was already a national figure, being 1920 vice presidential nominee.

Off topic: qualifications of the Vice Presidents. What to say about Garrett Hobart, who was a state senator before becoming "second man"? Surely, he was influential in state politics, both as Senate President and party boss, but, yeah...

Or, more recent example, Spiro Agnew, less than two years as Governor, being a freaking county commissioner before that.

Or Chester Arthur, a man who never held an elected office and his only public office was custom collector. Surely, he was a true politician, but at the time of becoming Vice President he basically belonged to the same category as current professional DNC or RNC operatives.

My favorite example, although he lost: Arthur Sewell. A huuge W.T.F.! Look, guys, you think I'm too populist so I'm picking a freaking Yankee shipping magnate as my running-mate!!11

In most recent years, the most qualified, in terms or resume and diverse experience, Vice President was Nelson Rockefeller. Four terms as powerful Governor of a large state and various diplomatic and executive positions before. His record is making Bush Sr. resume, so praised in this thread, looking boring, although both Poppy and Cheney definitively had strong combined appointed and elected experience.

Mondale, Quayle, Gore spent considerable time in Congress, but legislative stuff was all. Humphrey at least had executive experience in Minneapolis.

Yes I do agree.

Vice President seems to be the one post that (in most years past) was thought of as either a vote getter or, in the case of the Roosevelts, of getting one's opponents to disappear into obscurity.

WEll, as we all know that went REALLY WELL, given that President McKinley got shot IN THE FREAKING GUT and TR ended up replacing him.

With FDR, however, it ended up being a bit more complex.  The 1920 Democratic Party ticket lost in a landslide.  A huge epic landslide that was especially embarrassing up north.  Tammany Hall put FDR's name forward in the hopes of either a) keeping him away from New York in the remote possibility that the Democrats did win in 1920, or b) destroying all of his credibility after the party suffers a landslide loss in 1920 thereby ending his career.
At first, given the loss and the Navy scandal (I forget what it's called) that happened regarding Roosevelt along with his sickness, many thought his career was over.  However, after a round of rehabilitation, as well as banding with Tammany Hall men like Governor Alfred Smith and gaining their favor, he was able to make a dramatic comeback as the Governor in 1928 while Smith loss a landslide to Hoover.  If FDR had stayed anti-Tammany in the 1920's, his career would've likely died off and most kids would be like "who the hell is Franklin Roosevelt?"
Later on, however, as his power base grew due to the New Deal, he was able to more quickly discard his alliance with Tammany.

I would argue that rarely is the VP spot a real prestigious spot to be sought after.  It seems to be the normal place where they put party faithfuls in case of tie breaking votes.  Very rarely is one chosen VP in the hopes that they would eventually be sexy sliced presidential bread.
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« Reply #15 on: July 12, 2012, 05:31:33 pm »
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I'd agree that in recent years, the VP spot (for the successful tickets) has gone to experienced politicians. Cheney, Biden. Meanwhile, it seems for the losers it's gone to rising stars and whatnot. Edwards and Palin and whatnot.
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« Reply #16 on: July 13, 2012, 04:25:47 am »
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FDR's resume before becoming Governor of New York appears pretty weak: one term state Senator and Assistant Secretary of the Navy. Sure, he played an important role in Navy affairs, especially considering that old Josephus Daniels was bored with the job, but it's still, not even a cabinet post. Yet he was already a national figure, being 1920 vice presidential nominee.

Off topic: qualifications of the Vice Presidents. What to say about Garrett Hobart, who was a state senator before becoming "second man"? Surely, he was influential in state politics, both as Senate President and party boss, but, yeah...

Or, more recent example, Spiro Agnew, less than two years as Governor, being a freaking county commissioner before that.

Or Chester Arthur, a man who never held an elected office and his only public office was custom collector. Surely, he was a true politician, but at the time of becoming Vice President he basically belonged to the same category as current professional DNC or RNC operatives.

My favorite example, although he lost: Arthur Sewell. A huuge W.T.F.! Look, guys, you think I'm too populist so I'm picking a freaking Yankee shipping magnate as my running-mate!!11

In most recent years, the most qualified, in terms or resume and diverse experience, Vice President was Nelson Rockefeller. Four terms as powerful Governor of a large state and various diplomatic and executive positions before. His record is making Bush Sr. resume, so praised in this thread, looking boring, although both Poppy and Cheney definitively had strong combined appointed and elected experience.

Mondale, Quayle, Gore spent considerable time in Congress, but legislative stuff was all. Humphrey at least had executive experience in Minneapolis.

Yes I do agree.

Vice President seems to be the one post that (in most years past) was thought of as either a vote getter or, in the case of the Roosevelts, of getting one's opponents to disappear into obscurity.

WEll, as we all know that went REALLY WELL, given that President McKinley got shot IN THE FREAKING GUT and TR ended up replacing him.

With FDR, however, it ended up being a bit more complex.  The 1920 Democratic Party ticket lost in a landslide.  A huge epic landslide that was especially embarrassing up north.  Tammany Hall put FDR's name forward in the hopes of either a) keeping him away from New York in the remote possibility that the Democrats did win in 1920, or b) destroying all of his credibility after the party suffers a landslide loss in 1920 thereby ending his career.
At first, given the loss and the Navy scandal (I forget what it's called) that happened regarding Roosevelt along with his sickness, many thought his career was over.  However, after a round of rehabilitation, as well as banding with Tammany Hall men like Governor Alfred Smith and gaining their favor, he was able to make a dramatic comeback as the Governor in 1928 while Smith loss a landslide to Hoover.  If FDR had stayed anti-Tammany in the 1920's, his career would've likely died off and most kids would be like "who the hell is Franklin Roosevelt?"
Later on, however, as his power base grew due to the New Deal, he was able to more quickly discard his alliance with Tammany.

I would argue that rarely is the VP spot a real prestigious spot to be sought after.  It seems to be the normal place where they put party faithfuls in case of tie breaking votes.  Very rarely is one chosen VP in the hopes that they would eventually be sexy sliced presidential bread.

Of course FDR later threw Tammany under a bus, while seeking reelection as Governor. Some serious s**t broke and FDR distanced himself with Tammany and did not interfese with series of investigations.

I think FDR was one of the greatest survivors in 20th century US politics.
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« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2012, 12:36:34 pm »
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That FDR scandal was about trying to purge suspected gays from Annapolis. He also popped Sims' balloon, which was almost as big as Dugout Doug's.
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« Les plus nobles principes du monde ne valent que par l’action.  » - Charles de Gaulle



Is it excessive to hold a politician's feet to the fire for giving his base the run around at every turn?
Pope Kalwejt I of Northeast
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« Reply #18 on: July 16, 2012, 09:45:20 am »
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Actually, as of Vice Presidents, I've been thinking and Cheney had better experience than Rockefeller.

He served as White House Chief of Staff, which is essentially the second most powerful position after President, managing the West Wing machine. Also, he led an important executive department (Defense) and served a number of years in the House, including time in the leadership.

So yes, evil Dick wins.
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