The rise of Trump (and Carson and Fiorina) shows just how central anti-government thinking is to the Republican Party

REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Donald Trump at a campaign fundraiser at the home of car dealer Ernie Boch Jr. in Norwood, Massachusetts, on Friday.

Start with just a fact: No one has been elected president of the United States who had not previously held high government office. I’ll be specific: Every president had previous experience as either vice president, a member of the U.S. House or Senate, governor of a state, a member of the Cabinet, a high-ranking judge or a general in the U.S. Army. Most of them had more than one of those credentials. Andrew Jackson had four.

Broaden the inquiry to all major party nominees for president and one exception turns up. The 1940 Republican nominee — Wendell Willkie — had never been elected to anything nor held any significant federal or state appointive position. He was a lawyer and utility executive. The Willkie tale is a strange and interesting one, but in the end he came nowhere near defeating Franklin D. Roosevelt. Still, other than Willkie, no one has ever made it as far as major party nominee without experience in a high government job.

A few others without experience in elective office have made notable runs. Multimillionaire Steve Forbes, heir to the eponymous publishing fortune, won a couple of primaries in 1996 but came nowhere near getting the nomination. Business executive Herman Cain had a moment as the poll leader in 2012. There’s Ross Perot, of course, but he’s out-of-category since he made his 1992 and 1996 bids outside the two-party system (and, although he was ahead of his major party opponents in some polls for a while, he ended up receiving zero electoral votes).

But does it signify anything interesting or important that, at present, three of the top-polling candidates for the Republican nomination — Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina and Dr. Ben Carson — have never held any public office?

I’ll give you my gut feeling. The Republican Party has long been the party of less government, but the antagonism toward government has become so central in the thinking of many elements of the party that any experience in government now almost disqualifies a candidate, even if he or she wants to explain that they spent all their time in politics trying to make government smaller and more efficient and less intrusive and even to dismantle as much of the government as possible.

You don’t want to go too far overboard based on a response to any one poll question, especially a relatively novel question asked in one state. But: 

The latest poll of likely caucus-going Iowa Republicans (just out yesterday) — the one that shows Carson has now pulled even with Trump atop the field at 23 percent each — finds that the three candidates who have never worked in government (Trump, Carson and Fiorina) draw the support of a combined 56 percent of likely caucus-goers compared to a combined 39 percent for the other 14 candidates, all of whom are current or former governors or senators.

To probe that point, the pollsters (from Monmouth University) explicitly asked:

“Regardless of who you support, what do you think the country needs more in the next president: someone with government experience who knows how to get things done or someone outside of government who can bring a new approach to Washington?”

By a healthy margin of 66-23, this sample of active Iowa Republicans thought the government needed to be led by someone untarnished by government experience.

And what do I know: Maybe they are right. My small personal quest for intellectual honesty requires me to note two last things. It’s dangerous to draw any big conclusions from a poll question, especially a relatively novel one like this. And secondly, how important really is experience in government to a future president. Some of the worst presidents (I have James Buchanan in mind at the moment) had long and widely varied experience (in Buchanan’s case, serving in the House, the Senate, as secretary of state and as ambassador to both Russia and Great Britain.)

By contrast, the president with the weakest résumé (in terms of prior federal experience) was Abe Lincoln, who served a single undistinguished term in the U.S. House (and much more than that in the Illinois Legislature). And he was our greatest president.

Comments (39)

  1. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 09/01/2015 - 11:18 am.

    It is no coincidence that that big business with their anti-regulation, anti-worker, anti-environment, etc., are the major funders of the Republican party and their politicians which manifests itself as anti-government.

    After all, it is only in the last century that informed democratic government emerged as the defense against the careless predation of the public by industry.

    30 years of feverish anti-government propaganda is bearing fruit in the Republican party.

    • Submitted by Bob Petersen on 09/02/2015 - 08:32 am.

      Oh, Boy

      You really don’t understand conservatives. This country was formed with the basis that we should always fear government and it should be as limiting in our lives as possible. The Democrats base their ideals on ‘good intentions’ that the government needs to direct and be involved in nearly every aspect of our lives. There are more Republicans that agree with more government now than ever.

      • Submitted by Bill Willy on 09/02/2015 - 09:48 pm.

        Oh Boy Oh Boy it’s no wonder!

        “This country was formed with the basis that we should always fear government.”

        Interesting. What makes you say that? Is that in the Constitution someplace? The Declaration of Independence? The “Memoirs of the Founding Fathers”?

        “Fear the government?”

        Please explain how the “country was formed” on that basis.

        Thanks.

      • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 09/03/2015 - 09:01 am.

        Oh boy..

        …You really don’t understand conservatives…

        I understand conservatives and I don’t necessarily confuse them with the Republican party.

        The current Republican party is a malign organization primarily aimed at providing as much benefit to the wealthiest people, using whatever tools are needed to organize the largest quantity of votes for their cause by adopting the LCD of the most angering issues and by suppressing the votes of those that don’t agree. The party promotes the most damaging and pernicious lie that to compromise is bad, losing sight that the entire basis of democracy is compromise.

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 09/03/2015 - 07:42 pm.

          Conservatives vs reactionaries

          Conservatives want to keep things the way they are now — reactionaries want to go back to an earlier situation. Since the (now dominant) right wing of the Republican party seems to want to return to the age of McKinley (the president, not the mountain), they should properly be termed reactionaries, not conservatives.
          ——
          BTW — anything that tries to fly on just one wing ends up going in circles, which is a good characterization of the current GOP.

  2. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/01/2015 - 11:43 am.

    New flash not so much…

    It was Ronald Reagan who said: “Government isn’t the solution it’s the Problem”…. that was what? 1978?

    What surprises me is how persistent the liberal and democrat’s denial regarding this decades long fundamental quality of republican party has been. Maybe were it not for that denial someone could have mounted an effective response a couple decades ago instead of facilitating a rollback of the 20th century? Well, better late than never maybe eh?

  3. Submitted by Mike Downing on 09/01/2015 - 11:57 am.

    Why are you surprised?

    Eric Black appears to be surprised that the Republican party is for limited government just like our Founding Fathers were.

    Eric Black will also be surprised at how many Independents are anti-federal government.

    Republicans and Independents are for government closest to the people, i.e. local government.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 09/01/2015 - 12:39 pm.

      Fast Ball, Right Over the Plate

      “Republicans and Independents are for government closest to the people, i.e. local government”

      Oh really? Is that why The GOP state government took away the right of local school boards to negotiate wages with public employees? Is that why there are numerous GOP legislator-introduced bills around the country to limit the right of local governments to establish their own minimum wage?

      And what of the GOP passed laws in Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan which inserted the state between private companies and private democratically chosen labor unions to negotiate whether or not their collective bargaining agreements would spell out whether or not the payment of union agency fees (mandatory union membership has long been unlawful) was required or not?

      What about local gun laws? The GOP hates those.

      Local control my eye. I was born at night, but it wasn’t last night.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/01/2015 - 12:59 pm.

      Founding Fathers/Limited Government

      “Limited government” is a catch-phrase used so often it has become meaningless.. Despite what you may sneer about liberals I can’t think of anyone in the political mainstream is in favor of “unlimited government.” The words “limited government” are a feel-good slogan–nothing more.

      You talk about the “Founding Fathers” as if they were a monolith, unified in their political beliefs. Thomas Jefferson favored a limited role for the federal government; Washington and Hamilton, not so much.

      • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 09/01/2015 - 01:34 pm.

        Admit it

        How do you and the press evaluate the performance of congress? By how many laws they managed to pass in that session. Yet the more laws they pass the more power and control they (the government) has over the people.

        You’ll never hear a conservative lament on how few new laws congress has passed but you hear it from liberals all the time.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/01/2015 - 02:47 pm.

          “You’ll never hear a conservative lament on how few new laws”

          The conservative lament is that the kinds of laws they favor are not being passed. Conservatives claim they think the favor limited government, which means that they give lip service to not wanting new laws passed (okay, except for laws restricting abortion or the right to marry, or about limiting the right to vote, or allowing racial or ethnic profiling, things like that). They automatically assume that liberals will reflexively favor everything they oppose. It creates a world of black and white, where there are no shades of opinions, and no situations that might call for different thinking.

          This mindset lets them fall into a highly simplistic trap of assuming that therefore, liberals must favor many, if not all, new laws. It’s a common feature of the more hysterical conservative news outlets: Breitbart, NewsMax, Free Republic–you know, the ones that make Fox News look intelligent by comparison. Those charlatans depend on an audience that will not take the time to think about an issue. Instead, they react, and react to what they are told. It’s easier, but it accomplishes nothing.

        • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 09/01/2015 - 04:32 pm.

          You evaluate what the congress does.

          When they can’t even pass a bill that they negotiated, it’s a flop.

          When they moan about balanced budgets without ever naming the cuts they are willing to stand behind, they’re a failure.

          When they can’t finance a critical interstate transportation system, they’re a failure.

          When they pass the same damn resolution 40 times knowing it will never go beyond their chamber, they’re a waste of time and resources.

          When they scream about the war powers act and they refuse to act one way or another, they’re hypocrites.

          Other than those and other issues, they’re doing fine.

  4. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 09/01/2015 - 12:43 pm.

    One could argue

    that by nominating an inexperienced, unaccomplished part-time senator and community organizer for president and actually seeing him get elected, the democrats have convinced the republican candidates who have no government experience but who have had considerable success outside of government, that they would and should be considered as worthy candidates to lead this nation.

    The old standards no longer apply. Times change. Criteria change.

    When the draft-dodging, military loathing Bill Clinton was elected president over a World War II aviator, he became the first non-veteran president in my lifetime who had the temerity to even run for president much less win it. I knew then that this nation had jumped the shark.

    And with people openly supporting a socialist for president, nothing’s off limits.

  5. Submitted by jason myron on 09/01/2015 - 12:59 pm.

    Oh please…

    military service isn’t a prerequisite to being president. In fact, in my mind it’s a detriment that promotes rigidity in solving complex, geopolitical issues.. It’s 2015…get a grip.

  6. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 09/01/2015 - 02:17 pm.

    Oh, please, redux

    Mr. Downing above has missed Eric’s point. It’s not that the three leading Republican candidates are for “limited government.” As RB Holbrook quite accurately points out, no one campaigning for national office has come out in favor of “unlimited” government, and as Frank Phelan has noted, local government is not always what Republicans seem to want, either. “Limited government” has become a dog-whistle phrase for the right-wing faithful, much like “voter fraud.” What the leading Republican candidates (and an increasingly large segment of the Republican Party faithful) seem to be endorsing is not just a limit to government, but active *hostility* to government, especially, as illustrated by Mr. Downing reverence for the local variety, the federal government.

    Mr. Tester’s point about the “draft-dodging, military loathing Bill Clinton” is sophistry. Military service is not, and never has been, a prerequisite to the presidency. Some who’ve served in the military have been successful presidents, others who’ve served in the military have not. At least one candidate I can think of (John Kerry) who not only served in the military, but was highly decorated as a result of that service, had his campaign more or less destroyed by an organized campaign from the right wing that was built upon lies about that very service. Unless/until we become a military state – and I hope I don’t live long enough to see that – military service, or the lack thereof, in a presidential candidate’s resume is strictly a side-issue. Bush I served the U.S. with honor in WWI. Bush II essentially went AWOL, and never finished his stint in the Air Force National Guard unit to which he was assigned. Somehow, that latter point never gets mentioned by Clinton-haters, and it was also not a significant part of the 2000 campaign.

    Andrew Jackson was the first president to actively and publicly pursue the line of thought that says prior government service and/or experience isn’t necessary for a public servant. The result was the “spoils system,” which, over half a century or so, became so corrupt that the society insisted on the adoption of a civil service system (with implied tenure, I might point out) to replace it. I can’t help but wonder if the same people who insist that prior government experience is a *detriment* to public service feel the same way about prior experience in any number of other occupations that essentially serve the public. Should doctors, lawyers, house painters, mechanics, pavement contractors likewise be without prior experience in order to be effective? Color me skeptical.

  7. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 09/01/2015 - 02:46 pm.

    Maybe

    the current Republican crop of elected officials has been so ineffectual that none of them would make a good candidate (see: Scott Walker).

  8. Submitted by Brian Simon on 09/01/2015 - 02:59 pm.

    Idiocracy

    It takes legislation to modify or repeal legislation. I would expect conservatives versed in government to utilize this method of rolling back bad laws & overbearing government. Just last week MN Post ran a piece on Rep Paulsen describing how he’s doing exactly that.

  9. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/01/2015 - 03:01 pm.

    Leadership

    The idealization of the inexperienced office holder comes from the fallacy that leadership is interchangeable. The fact is, it is not. A leader in business has to call on a different skill set than a leader in government, just as a military leader does not work the same way as an artistic leader. Think of the Presidents we have had with extensive service as generals. Washington, whose presidency was certainly unique, and Eisenhower were the only two who can be called competent (and remember that Eisenhower was not a battlefield general, but a very successful administrator). Grant? Taylor? Great military officers; disasters as President

    What about a businessperson? Hoover and Buchanan were successful businessmen before entering public life. Those of us who remember the days of the Cult of the CEO in the 80s will remember what happened every time a magazine or newspaper would show a picture of Lee Iacocca: the picture would be stabbed with a finger, followed by the stabber announcing that this was the kind of man we needed running the country. A business leader has the option of cutting losses and walking away from something that doesn’t work (or being canned for incompetence). His only concern is for the business, and the business owners. A businessperson who gets financial results (not the be-all and end-all of government) doesn’t have to face the kind of ethical or political scrutiny of his every move that a President does (businesspeople turned politicians often recent that attention). A President still has to contend with Congress and the courts. His concern is with all citizens, and the Constitution. Government is not a business.

    So color me skeptical, too. Donald Trump is a bombastic boor who would be a disaster when dealing with anyone who didn’t automatically agree with him. Carly Fiorina–what in her corporate career would make anyone think she should be allowed in the White House on a tour group, let alone as President? Ben Carson has some serious problems with speaking the truth–both doing it and not doing it–that could be overlooked because of his medical achievements. Is there anyone else?

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 09/01/2015 - 06:34 pm.

      So what did Barack Obama ever lead?

      You may dismiss business leadership as irrelevant but business leaders nonetheless have led … something.

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 09/01/2015 - 09:48 pm.

        So does

        the lead lemming

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/02/2015 - 10:03 am.

        Leading . . . something

        Lawrence Welk led . . . something. He also led it for many years. Would you conclude that he was qualified to be President because of that leadership?

        I don’t mean to disparage business leadership. I just don’t believe that type of leadership necessarily well to government, and vice versa. And you’ll pardon my lack of enthusiasm for the “leadership” of Carly Fiorina.

  10. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 09/01/2015 - 03:14 pm.

    I’m Glad

    That Mr. Tester was specific about exactly which draft dodger he was talking about. There have been so many in the White House, it’s hard to keep track of them all. G. W. Bush, Dick Cheney. Al Gore. Oh wait, skip that last guy.

    The neo-cons that all want to invade Iran, Syria and Iraq (again) are all a bunch of deferment-hungry chicken hawks. Arm chair warriors all of them.

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 09/01/2015 - 06:31 pm.

      G.W. Bush flew interceptors

      for the TANG. But you knew that didn’t you.

      • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 09/01/2015 - 09:34 pm.

        Mr. Tester, I’m Not a Pup

        Of course I’m aware that the wealthy and the politically well connected successfully sought coveted service with the National Guard. So what?

        Are you saying the younger Mr. Bush was not an arm chair warrior? Unless you wish to count his landing on an aircraft carrier under a “Mission Accomplished” banner?

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 09/02/2015 - 11:13 am.

        F-102

        That’s what he flew.
        It was obsolete when he chose to train on it (he had choices that most of us don’t) so he knew that it would never see combat. The F-102 had already been replaced by the F-106 nearly ten years ago. If (like John McCain) he had really wanted to see active duty, he would have trained in the 106. He was (again unlike McCain) by all accounts a really good pilot, and would have done well in combat if he had chosen to do so.
        He finally wandered off without completing his tour of duty (again, something that most people could not get away with).
        And Tang is a watery substitute for the real thing.

  11. Submitted by Tim Walker on 09/01/2015 - 03:21 pm.

    “The Willkie tale is a strange and interesting one …”

    It was nice to read a little about Wendell Willkie, whose political rise is unprecedented in American politics. For readers interested in learning more about this fascinating man, I developed a website about him:

    http://www.usfamily.net/web/timwalker/

    (Sorry for the outdated look; I’m not a great web designer and my coding skills are mediocre.)

  12. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 09/01/2015 - 03:40 pm.

    Anti- government or limited government

    Government must constantly be challenged, reformed, re-focused and reigned in. Limited government is not the same as anti-government.

    If Government is not challenged, reformed and refocused – it turns into just another special interest group that is primarily concerned about preserving the status quo and resisting every attempt for beneficial change for the people it is suppose to serve.

    Big government health care, big government education, big government labor unions are the result of politicians who are purchased by the big government establishment and then these politicians vote to enrich these entities by receiving their huge campaign contributions. More and bigger government is the only solution to our problems that is considered.

    We will always have the balance of political power shifting through the big government establishment types and anti-government big business types.

    My hope is that we will elect politicians who understand the real issues and have the character not to be pawns of whatever special interest group that seeks to empower them.

    Government experience is a valuable tool but having the wisdom to understand what government can and should do and what government cannot and should not do is more valuable.

    • Submitted by Logan Foreman on 09/02/2015 - 09:12 am.

      Unfortunately big business

      Could care a less about the vast majority of Americans.. Corporate greed has caused the present mess. The goal: More wars and greater wealth for the 1%. How wonderful.

  13. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 09/01/2015 - 04:30 pm.

    Tim Walker’s page about Wendell Wilkie is a worthwhile read.

    (see link above) I didn’t know much about him. I love Wilkie’s quote on the site:

    “Those who rejoice in denying justice to one they hate, pave the way to a denial of justice for someone they love.”

  14. Submitted by Jeffrey Brenner on 09/01/2015 - 04:36 pm.

    Anti-government politicians

    It surprises me that some of the people who run on a limited or small government platform and make a fetish out of the private sector have not had a career outside of government. I.E. Paul Ryan, Scott Walker, Tim Pawlenty.
    Why would you vote for someone who runs against the government when they have spent their entire career in the government?

  15. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 09/01/2015 - 10:01 pm.

    Gee, all day at the fair and I missed a fun thread…

    My two cents: the Republicans created and fed this monster but started to lose control of him when the tea party came along. Now the far right wing sees that even Doctor Frankenstein is a human and no more worthy of survival than any other human. The monster doesn’t believe in democracy because the monster always loses because he is a minority. The monster hates progress and everyone that doesn’t look like he does. The monster sees that the only way he will ever rule is to overthrow the current system and rule by dictatorship, but he makes it sound just enough like patriotism to fool the gullible. The monster hates gun laws because the monster is arming. The monster loves war although he says he loves God. His brain came from an insane criminal and his heart came from a fearful golem. Even those like Trump and Cruz who feed the monster will eventually feel his wrath.

  16. Submitted by Bill Willy on 09/01/2015 - 10:14 pm.

    Of the problem, by the problem, for the problem

    The eternal wisdom of Iowa Republican voters as reflected in this August 13, 2011 Fox News headline (and televised “Alert!”):

    “Bachmann Wins Iowa Straw Poll, Cements Her Top-Tier Status in GOP Race”

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/08/13/finally-here-ames-straw-poll-first-test-2012/

    (Video of “Breaking News Alert” and post-result political expert analysis included.)

    Regarding anti-government thinking so central to Republican Reality, that (along with deregulating all restrictions on the number of TV ads per hour) was Ronald Reagan’s greatest gift to America:

    “Government is not the solution… Government is the problem.”

    And every Republican went wild. “That’s IT!” End of story. And that, along with the “Low-to-no taxes for Job Creators is the key to prosperity for all!” mantra, has been the core (and extent) of Republican thinking and strategy ever since.

    Paul Udstrand is way better than me at explaining why the “Government is the problem” part of the equation is a crock, and why “liberal” and “progressive” are not synonyms with “demonic forces,” so I’ll just point out a couple things at least two generations of Republicans never acknowledged, or have forgotten about Ron (besides the way he often raised taxes, or, if you prefer, “adjusted tax cuts”):

    1) He was an ACTOR. Regardless of whatever else he did after he had reached his pinnacle in that field, in his heart and instincts he was always an actor. And that’s what he was when he ran for and filled the ROLE of President of the United States.

    And the best line he ever delivered was, “Government isn’t the solution… It’s the problem.”

    But, as has been the case with many great-sounding things said in movies, it was JUST A LINE. Whether or not it was true or based on anything having to do with reality was no more important than it was with any of the lines he spoke in the movies he starred in. As Ron knew from experience, “truth” and “reality” is far less important than the way the lines sound and the affect they have on the audience.

    And it was a mind-boggling smash hit of a line that half the American public swallowed hook, line and sinker, without hesitation. And a whole lot of Americans have been swimming around with that line (and sinker) deep down inside them ever since. So deep it’s impossible to get out, even for those that (secretly) would like to because they know or sense it would be in their best interest. (“How would I explain it to everyone I’ve talked politics with all these years?”)

    And here we are today. Despite the fact that one of America’s greatest presidents, Abraham Lincoln, the Republican, said (at Gettysburg in 1864)…

    “We here highly resolve that these [Civil War] dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth”

    … 100+ years later Ronald Reagan declares that the government (the “of, by and for the people” people Lincoln was talking about) is the problem, and roughly half those people raise their fists and say, “Yeah! That’s right! The stinkin’ government’s the problem!”

    Or put another way, “The people are not the solution… The people are the problem.”

    Or, more directly, if you’re an American, YOU are the problem.

    You and I are the problem and Lincoln was an idiot.

    Now THERE’s a premise to run and govern on!

    (Which must be why it seemed important to the Supreme Court to grant corporations citizen’s rights — so they could save us from ourselves and the kind of foolishness Lincoln was always spouting.)

    2) In case people haven’t noticed (yet), that kind of “divisive rhetoric” is exactly the same kind of rhetoric anyone trying to foment “anti-American sentiment” uses to gain power or deflect blame and responsibility away from themselves or “their party” and onto “the Great Satan” instead.

    All you need to do is substitute the words “the government” for “America.”

    “You don’t have enough food to eat. Your children don’t have shoes. You have no work. You have no future. You are suffering because America WANTS you to suffer. But you will suffer no longer once I am elected (or we have gained full control) and beaten back The Beast. Trust me. I, like you, know who is responsible for your misery. DEATH TO AMERICAAAAA!”

    Again: Just substitute “the government” for “America.”

    So, for the sake of the America Lincoln was talking about, my advice is, if a candidate tells you government is the problem, don’t vote for them.

    • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 09/02/2015 - 07:29 am.

      Reagan, the ACTOR

      I recall Ed Rollins (a political advisor to Reagan) talking about Reagan’s acting abilities on the campaign trail with great admiration.

      He said he found it absolutely amazing how day after day, campaign stop after campaign stop, he could deliver the exact same spontaneous-sounding lines identically and perfectly – including those heart-felt emotional appeals that would practically bring a tear to your eye. He was flawless, Rollins said – you didn’t need to worry about him having a bad day, he was ALWAYS ON.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 09/02/2015 - 08:46 am.

      …government of the people, by the people, for the people…

      How to defeat this grand idea:

      On one hand, restrict voting rights, limit physical access to voting process, promote voter suppression, campaign to limit turnout, restrict voting to a specific time an place, purging voter rolls, require higher and higher requirements for ID.

      On the other hand, do everything to promote the idea that government is the enemy and out to get you. That there is no need of protection from the benevolent upper class and business, as they have your best interests at heart. There is no need of a bulwark against money and business because they have never hurt anyone. Starve the beast and drown it in a bathtub.

      Because the real enemy to these people is effective government of the people, by the people, for the people.

  17. Submitted by Ted Hathaway on 09/02/2015 - 09:04 pm.

    Still going after poor old Lincoln?

    Eric wrote, “the president with the weakest résumé (in terms of prior federal experience) was Abe Lincoln, who served a single undistinguished term in the U.S. House (and much more than that in the Illinois Legislature). ”

    Not so. Woodrow Wilson served only one 2-year term as governor of New Jersey before being elected president in 1912. As such, he had even less federal experience than Lincoln (none at all) and WAY less elected office experience. Yet, he served two terms. Not as great as Lincoln, to be sure, but a fairly significant president. Time to find another example, Eric.

  18. Submitted by Chris Clarke on 09/03/2015 - 12:10 am.

    My thoughts

    As a conservative, I believe people are responding to Trump, et al, because they see these people as once and done types. Meaning, they are not running in hopes of becoming career politicians. I believe this is the largest problem we have now. We have Senators and Representatives who have only ever done that job. This is a problem and should not be allowed.

    We need people who are more concerned with doing what is in the best interests of the people verses what is the best way to get reelected. We need people who are willing to sacrifice for the good of all, rather than being concerned with what party leadership will say. We need people who will go to Washington, serve a term or two and then move on. That is what Carson, Fiorina and Trump symbolize.

    Everyone else currently running is a career politician. They are only interested in saying and doing those things that will get them re-elected. They could not care less about keeping their promises or making good on their policy statements, only that they continue to cash those government paychecks.

  19. Submitted by John Appelen on 09/03/2015 - 11:00 am.

    Anti-Government Thinking

    The title got me a bit riled, but the post is pretty good. Personally I don’t think people being against lifetime politicians is the same as being anti-government.

    It got me thinking of this Mark Twain quote. “Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason.”

    When I lead teams, I always need to be on the watch for “group think’ especially with members who spend a lot of time working together. I assume this happens often with politicians who have been there for multiple terms, and the life time bureaucrats who whisper in their ears.

    Group think can lead to some really bad ideas, choices, waste, etc.

  20. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 09/03/2015 - 11:55 am.

    So, to whose advantage is it to foster the beliefs:

    1) government is the enemy

    2) the media is a liberal conspiracy

    3) science is a fraud

    4) compromise is bad

    5) the best person to run a government is someone who knows little about it

    Could it be those who want to maximize their gains without interference?

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