Charles Krauthammer’s October 7 column "Withdraw this Nominee
" was interesting. In it he said, "To serve in Congress or even the presidency, there is no requirement for scholarship or brilliance. For good reason. It is not needed. It can even be a hindrance, as we learned from our experience with Woodrow Wilson, the most intellectually accomplished president of the 20th century and also the worst."
Whew! That’s a lot to chew on!
True, there are no real job requirements, as there are for most other jobs, to serve in Congress or in the Oval Office. Those positions usually go to the best politicians, not to the most competent. Apparently Mr. Krauthammer thinks that’s a good thing. I don’t. You wouldn’t run a company that way, and you shouldn’t run a country that way either. When you do that you end up with someone like George W. Bush, who is arguably one of the least intellectually curious presidents in history, and some people would say that’s being generous.
So Mr. Krauthammer says that scholarship and brilliance are not needed. They may not be needed, as in a job description, but if they are utterly lacking, I think the country is in trouble. Besides, I would rather have a president from the top 2% of IQs than one from the top 2% of income.
Of course it is possible to have it both ways, genius and wealth. Then you end up with FDR and JFK.
But to carry Mr. Krauthammer’s absurd argument against intellectualism even further, Doctor Bill Frist should not be in politics because he is too well educated. Furthermore, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln were too intellectual for the presidency. Got that?
Shouldn't we be trying to attract the best and brightest to the presidency instead of something much less?
Finally, Mr. Krauthammer singles out Woodrow Wilson as the worst president of the 20th century. I thought he would have named Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton. Wilson? I don’t know. What about Hoover or Nixon? They might get some votes for Worst President of the 20th Century
. Maybe Keith Olbermann will do a segment like that on MSNBC’s Countdown
. In the meantime we have Mr. Krauthammer’s assessment, and what an assessment it is.
The job of president is a hard job and it is getting harder. We need people with the intellect, energy, commitment, curiosity, creativity, and vision to handle the job. Oh, but that’s right, we do have Dick Cheney.
But seriously, I yearn for a strong president again like FDR, JFK, LBJ. When they were in office you had the feeling that someone was in charge; that someone was working hard for all the people, not just for a few; and that someone had all those positive attibutes to lead our country to better times. I just don’t have that feeling now.