RALPH WILTSE: CEO experience not necessary to be a good president

Jun 23, 2011

Going backwards chronologically in the presidency: there is, first of all, Barack Obama. We have already discussed his business capability and his success in office is yet to be determined, so let go back to George W Bush.  Dubwa is definitely the worst president this country has ever suffered through. He is responsible for two wars that cost us hundreds of billions of dollars and tens of thousands of lives — American, Iraqi and Afghans. What sort of history did he have before his presidency? Well, he spent most of his life dodging the draft. That took a lot of his time. But he did get through Yale, thanks to his rich and powerful father.  I believe he had a C- grade point average. He was somewhat successful in the lucrative oil business. So, as far as I am concerned that is a minus one on Mitt’s scale of success.

Next come Bill Clinton. He was a moderately successful president. He studied Philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford. He had little or no experience in business so far as I know. Another minus one for Mitt’s standard.

Then there is George H. W. Bush. He is another moderately successful president. He graduated from Yale (with no help from a rich father, in so far as I know). He was fairly successful in the oil business in the 1950s, but then who couldn’t be in that business at that time. A plus for Mitt’s standard.

Next we go back to Ronald Reagan. He was a very successful president by Republican standards. The Great Communicator had absolutely no training in business. Instead he was an actor in B rated movies. He is the great demagogue of the Republican party.He also served in the Army from 1942-45. He never left the U.S. This brave man spent his military career making movies for the armed forces in Burbank, Calif. I rate this as a minus two in Mitt’s scale of success since he (Reagan) had no business experience but was very successful as a president as far as Republicans are concerned.

Next comes Jimmy Carter. He was, by Republican standards, a somewhat unsuccessful president. He was a peanut farmer. I guess that makes him a businessman. When he was a very young man, he was so successful that he was a landlord at the age of about 15. I don’t know how to rate him by Mitt’s standards, since he (Carter) was very successful in business, but by Republican standards a poor president.  I guess it’s a zero on Mitt’s scale.

Then there was Gerald Ford. He was, as far as I am concerned, a fairly innocuous president. But then he was fairly innocuous all of his life. He had no experience in business in so far as I know. His biggest accomplishment was going to church every Sunday. I guess that makes him a plus one on Mitt’s scale.

Now we come to Richard Nixon. He was a fairly poor president. He was a crook. He was a lawyer by trade (I’ll make no corny jokes about lawyers being crooks here). He did have a moderate success as president. He did establish friendly relations with the Chinese. I’ll give him a minus 0.5 by Mitt’s standards.

What I have done is give a negative rating to those men who either had no training in business and were successful presidents or did have business training and were unsuccessful presidents.A positive rating to anyone who anyone successful in both business and the presidency. There are no positives. You may not agree with my numbers, but I don’t see any credence to Mitt Romney’s claim that experience as a CEO in a corporation is a necessity to the presidency. Nor do I see the apparent claim that anyone who has no experience is automatically labeled as anti business. No one wants businesses to fail, especially in these difficult economic times.

— By Ralph Wiltse, community columnist

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