Wednesday, February 27, 2008

U.S. Presidency Isn't Easy to Pass Along

So, is it tough for one American President to pass the job onto someone else? An article at Yahoo! argues that it is. David Shribman wrote an essay titled U.S. Presidency Isn't Easy to Pass Along. The current Presidential election is included as he talks about Hillary Clinton and George W. Bush.

Shribman wrote, "The thing about the presidency is that it's usually nontransferable...There are exceptions, of course. James Madison wanted James Monroe, his secretary of state (and his secretary of war), to ascend to the White House. Thomas Jefferson supported Monroe as well. Together, they pulled it off. Monroe served two terms and lent his name to the most important foreign-policy doctrine in American history. Andrew Jackson was able to choose his successor, too."

Teddy Roosevelt was able to get Taft elected as well. However, he soon regretted it and ran against him in 1912. And the first President Bush probably had soon influence in getting the second President Bush elected as well eight years after his term ended.

However, many other presidents have failed to get their annointed successor elected. Or, they have not even tried to do so. Shribman wrote, " The problem with trying to transfer the presidency is that the transferrer (a) doesn't have any power to do so; and (b) oftentimes has disadvantages of his own ("negatives," in the argot of politics). Touring the United States in 1842, Charles Dickens described Washington as a City of Magnificent Intentions. Every presidential aspirant is a candidate of Magnificent Intentions. But every president is necessarily a politician of Magnificent Disappointments. The hazards of a president's record detracts from the hope of a candidate's appeal."

Which leads to Hillary Clinton. Can Bill Clinton help get her elected or does his presence actually hurt her? McCain is supportive of many of President Bush's policies but Bush is not embracing McCain. And McCain seems to appreciate that. Is Hillary's link to a past president hurting her? Or has it gotten her further than she would have on her own? Of course, it may make no difference at all.

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