Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Lest anyone forget how important McCain's time as a POW is to running the country and how much we need veterans in charge... Wartime Presidents: James Madison War: War of 1812 Military Experience: None Outcome: Stupid, pointless, did nothing James K. Polk War: Mexican-American War Military Experience: None Outcome: If you like the southwest quarter of the U.S., thank Mr. Polk... Abraham Lincoln War: Civil War Military Experience: None Outcome: The South won't rise again. William McKinley War: Spanish-American War Military Experience: Major, Civil War Outcome: U.S. won it going away Woodrow Wilson War: World War I Military Experience: None Outcome: Ended the stalemate, didn't get that whole League of Nations thing. Franklin Delano Roosevelt War: World War II Military Experience: None Outcome: It worked out pretty well. Harry Truman War: World War II, Korea Military Experience: Artillery officer, WWI Outcome: We'll let you know about Korea when it finishes up. John F. Kennedy War: Vietnam Military Experience: Something about PT boats, maybe... Outcome: He just started it. It totally wasn't his fault... Lyndon Baines Johnson War: Vietnam Military Experience: Some sort of inspector in WWII. Outcome: The term FUBAR applies. Richard Nixon War: Vietnam Military Experience: Lieutenant Cmdr, Navy, WWII Outcome: Caved to the commies and pulled out. Also visited Red China. George H.W. Bush War: Iraq part 1 Military Experience: Distinguished Flying Cross, 3 Air Medals, WWII Outcome: Got Saddam out of Kuwait, smart enough to go no further. George W. Bush War: Afghanistan, Iraq part 2 Military Experience: Bravely defended Texas by not showing up at the Reserves. Outcome: It's going real well. So as we can see, being in the military is deeply, deeply important for being a wartime President. The data bears it out. But just to confirm it, let's look at
all some of the Presidents with military experience who dazzled us with their peacetime ability:
Military Experience: If you don't know this...
Presidency Report Card: We can all agree he did okay, right?
Military Experience: In 1815 we took a little trip...
Presidency Report Card: Didn't really get that whole central banking thing. Did have a really big wheel of cheese, though.
William Henry Harrison
Military Experience: Tippecanoe
Presidency Report Card: Died after a month of illness. Possibly our best Prez ever.
Military Experience: General, Mexican-American War. Good one, too.
Presidency Report Card: Awful, just awful.
Ulysses S. Grant
Military Experience: General, Civil War. Invented modern warfare.
Presidency Report Card: Teapot Dome, Watergate. I mention them because those are the only major Presidential scandals that happened not under U.S. Grant.
Everyone between Grant and Teddy Roosevelt
Military Experience: Civil War, mostly generals
Presidency Report Card: Usually boring. Chester A. Arthur did create the Civil Service Exam in Garfield's memory, so, hey, take that Stalwarts and Charles Giteau! Oh, and Ruther"fraud" B. Hayes had my favorite Presidential nickname ever.
Military Experience: San Juan Hill (which was a stupid tactical move, by the by)
Presidency Report Card: Generally good. Actually, he was pretty progressive and did well by the country.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Military Experience: Probably the best strategist of World War II
Presidency Report Card: I like Ike.
So in case anybody's wondering what the lesson is here, it's this: the whole thing is a crap shoot...