Monday, January 31, 2011

procession of presidencies

I have this theory that our choice of presidencies for the last several years has been overall very predictable by the circumstances at the time. This probably isn't popular with the R's or the D's because it says that the next one will be just as predictable. But let me expound.

My theory starts in the early 1960's. JFK was a young, handsome president, everyone's Prince Charming. A beautiful wife and beautiful children. After his death, Johnson took over as president. When reelection came a year later, America's love for JFK held over to his successor and Johnson was elected in 1964.

In 1968, Johnson refused to run for reelection. America was tired of the war in Vietnam and wanted us out. After RFK's assassination, the Democrats chose Hubert Humphrey to run against Nixon. But again, the demand for change won out. After 8 years of increasing violence in Southeast Asia, riots in the streets and a seeming status-quo, Americans elected a Republican.

Nixon lived up to his promise of getting the US out of Vietnam. But his paranoia led to his downfall. Watergate is the single event most people remember about Nixon. Exactly what he did or what anyone else did seems irrelevant. Americans remember that despite his statements, he was a crook. After his exit from office, Gerald Ford became our first unelected president. Most Americans can't remember anything about him except that he pardoned Nixon. For that and more, he didn't stand a chance for reelection.

In 1976, the Democratic candidate was James Earl Carter. In response to the Nixon presidency, Congress went out of it's way to emasculate the role of the President. The economy was in the dumps and America was too. A small nation that most Americans couldn't find on the map abducted some of our citizens and held them hostage. This became Carter's defining moment. But it lasted longer than a moment and America went further into the dumps.

Tomorrow I'll conclude this story. You know how it turns out, but do you agree with my reasoning?

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