Monday, March 3, 2008

President 43 - Outsider

It shouldn't be this way. George W. Bush is part of a political dynasty, a dynasty as imposing as the Adamses and the Harrisons, and almost as imposing as the Kennedys. With a father who was a President and a grandfather who was a Senator, you'd think that George W. Bush would be the insider's insider.

But he didn't get to office that way.

His father was the one who truly broke the mold by fleeing the Northeast and becoming his own man in the oilfields of Texas, but frankly he never lost the accent and always seemed more like the man from Kennebunkport than the man from Houston.

But the son is perceived, even by his enemies, as Texan through and through. Obviously he has the accent, the wild boy reputation from the younger years, and the Crawford ranch. His political foes don't characterize him as a third generation patrician, but as the dumb guy who says "nucular" all the time.

More importantly, he is the last of our presidents (so far) who got to the White House by way of the statehouse. There's always a tension between whether a Governor or a Senator is better prepared for the presidency. The argument in favor of a Governor is that a Governor clearly has executive experience, including experience in managing a bureaucracy of thousands, balancing a budget, and horse-trading with a legislature.


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