Businessmen Have Been Bad Presidents



The perennial/quadrennial Republican mantra is the need to “put a businessman in the White House”.

In 2012, nobody fits the bill better than Mitt Romney, the Bain Capital turnaround king

Ask him, his wife, and his supporters. They will loudly and repeatedly tell you that using business principles, Mitt will set this country straight.

Will he?

History, as viewed over the last 85 years, seems to say otherwise.

Not happy with President Barack Obama’s fiscal skills?  Look at his predecessor, businessman George W. Bush.

Succinctly summed up, Dubya did for the economy what Osama Bin Laden did for the World Trade Center.

From 1992 to 2000, a professional politician Bill Clinton led us. He left Bush a country producing tax surpluses in the hundreds of billions, a shrinking national debt and unemployment below 4%.

When Dubya left, the economy was on the verge of the Second Great Depression.  We were losing jobs at the rate of 750,000 a month, his final budget called for a deficit of $1.3 trillion.

Of course, what can you expect from a “wildcatter” who couldn’t find oil in Texas?  The only way he ever made serious money was by hornswoggling Texas taxpayers into building a stadium for his baseball team.

But he was a businessman!

Clinton predecessors, Ronald Reagan (an actor and corporate spokesman) and George Bush I (a businessman who was successful in the oil business) presided over tripling the national deficit. He and the Gipper pooh poohed deficits as not important in a growing economy. They also got us 11% unemployment.

[Factoid: GOP Presidents have presided over creation of 71% of the National Debt.]

Jimmy Carter was a military man (the GOP’s second favorite occupation) turned businessman-farmer.  Although a Democrat, his resume was the Republican ideal. But this by the time this businessman left office, he had caused a run of unemployment and inflation.

Gerald Ford was a professional politician.  As were his predecessors Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson and John F. Kennedy.

Dwight Eisenhower was a farm boy turned military man.

The much now lionized Harry Truman was professional politician whose only business experience was bankrupting a haberdashery store in 1921.

Truman’s predecessor was Franklin Roosevelt, another professional politician who inherited a fortune and never had to work.


GOP Business Dream Team Almost Ruined Country


FDR took over the White House and a collapsed economy inherited from the GOP’s ideal businessman…Herbert Hoover.

Hoover was a real Republican Horatio Alger story.

Orphaned at ten, he worked his way through Stanford where he earned a geology degree and went on to make a fortune the mineral mining business.

He was elected President in 1928 on the platform of bringing the business principles of efficiency into the Federal government.

His Secretary of the Treasury was Andrew Mellon.  He was a multimillionaire (billionaire by today’s standards) banker whose economic plans sound suspiciously like Romney/Ryan.  In five words: cut taxes for the rich.

In the history of this country, Mellon and Hoover were the most successful business duo to direct the economy. They were the Republican Dream Team.

So how did it workout?

Well, if you’re willing to overlook The Great Depression, they did a bang-up job.

By the time Hoover was thrown out of office in 1932 unemployment was 25%. Every day dozens of banks were shutting their doors, as were hundreds of businesses.  Hundreds of thousands were being evicted into the streets.

The social fabric of America was shredding.

The extremist voices of the Far Left and the Far Right were getting louder and louder.  The future of capitalism and democracy were hanging by bare threads.

The much admired business skills and experience of these two brought America to a level of crisis unseen since The Civil War.

If, as it says on the door of The National Archives, “the past is prologue” then voters should be wary of repeating a scenario that has given us businessmen Presidents that range from mediocre to abject failure.

15 Responses to “Businessmen Have Been Bad Presidents”

  1. Day Trader says:

    Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.

  2. christine says:

    It seems to me that the skill set for Governor best duplicates the skill set needed to be President.Not a community organizer, or business man, or a senator. We have a former governor running for the Presidency.

  3. Lois says:

    Since the past is prologue, why in heaven’s name would we want four more years of President Obama?

  4. Republican for Judy says:

    if the govt was run like a business we wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place. Businesses are ultimately accountable to the free market. Romney is not only a great business man but a moral man. Something we sorely lack in this administration.

  5. John Henry says:

    Lawyers are even worse as presidents.

    FROM BUDDY: Romney has a degree from Harvard Law School.

  6. Real Deal says:

    Because there is an inescapable difference between government and business. Business is there to make a profit. Government is there to serve the people. Businesses should also serve people and governments can certainly be businesslike, but that still doesn’t change that they are fundamentally different animals.

  7. Ellen says:

    Better headline: Partisan Hacks make the worst Columnists.

  8. SAM FIELDS says:

    Dear Henry,
    Lawyers make terrible Presidents?

    I assume your favorite examples are Adams, Jefferson and Lincoln?

  9. Sam The Sham says:

    Best line of the day! Thanks Ellen.

    Better headline: Partisan Hacks make the worst Columnists.

  10. John Henry says:

    Dear Sam Fields,

    Adams, Jefferson, & Lincoln were from a different time. Back then lawyers still had souls–they still had integrity. You could actually trust a lawyer back in those days. Back then it wasn’t about pocketing money, lobbyists, & gov’t contracts.

    Compare Adams, Jefferson, & Lincoln to Clinton & Obama and you’ll clearly see how far the “bar” has been lowered in America.

  11. Sam The Sham says:

    “see how far the “bar” has been lowered in America.”

    Actually, Clinton and Obama are lower than that since they were both forced to give up their law license.

  12. SAM FIELDS says:

    Dear Henry,
    I suggest you read a little history before you make some broad-brush notion that lawyers of yesteryear were better professionally and ethically.

    All of us, present and past have feet of clay. All of us have done something to be a bit ashamed or embarrassed about and that includes lawyers.

    When we teach a DAR version of history (all good and all White) we end up with folks like you who have bought into a Disney-fied version of the Founding Fathers.

    Question: Who has more to be ashamed of? Bill Clinton for having sex with an intern and lying about it or Thomas Jefferson for having sex with slaves and lying about it?

    Never forget that John Adams, for all his greatness, also gave us the Alien and Sedition acts which made it a crime to badmouth the government.

    Here’s a few early quotes about lawyers through history:

    A countryman between 2 Lawyers, is like a fish between two cats.
    BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1737

    I do not believe in lawyers, in that mode of attacking or defending a man, because you descend to meet the judge on his own ground, and, in cases of the highest importance, it is of no consequence whether a man breaks a human law or not. Let lawyers decide trivial cases.
    HENRY DAVID THOREAU, “A Plea for Captain John Brown”

    [The Utopians] have no lawyers among them, for they consider them as a sort of people whose profession it is to disguise matters and to wrest the laws, .
    SIR THOMAS MORE, Utopia 16th century

    There is a vague popular belief that lawyers are necessarily dishonest. — ABRAHAM LINCOLN, memorandum for law lecture 1850

    Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.
    BIBLE, Luke 11:5

  13. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:


    Don’t forget the bible also gave us this lovely passage.

    Death to the Rape Victim (Deuteronomy 22:23-24 NAB)

    If within the city a man comes upon a maiden who is betrothed, and has relations with her, you shall bring them both out of the gate of the city and there stone them to death: the girl because she did not cry out for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbors wife.

  14. What Would Reagan Do? says:

    I find it insightful that we get these “why you shouldn’t vote for Romney” pieces from the Left but NEVER a case for four more years for Obama.

  15. John Henry says:


    You are right! Jefferson screwing his slaves was much worse then Jefferson screwing people over with a Ponzi Scheme and I’d respect Adams more if he would of sued local businesses for ADA violations instead of introducing the Alien & Sedition Act.