The Framers of our Constitution (who weren’t huge supporters of democracy) wisely envisioned a Federal government made up of three equally powerful branches. You had a Legislative branch, made up equally among members who directly represented their local constituents (House) and members who were intended to directly represent the interests of the state governments (Senate). You had a Judicial branch which was given the power to oversee and decide on the constitutionality of the laws passed by the legislature. Then you had an Executive branch, intended to give power to a wise and competent leader who was expected to posses the wisdom, experience and maturity to lead the nation in the right direction (not to mention the ability to correct the course of the nation when he feared we were going off track). It’s not surprising that the position of President was literally modeled entirely on George Washington, a leader of extraordinary gifts.
It’s important to note that not a single American ever considered men like Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams or James Madison as the ideal figure to be our first President. What is interesting about this observation is that there can be no argument that each of those men were both considerably more intelligent, nor that each of them were a greater source of brilliant and original ideas than Washington was. The fact is none of those men were anywhere near the leader that Washington was, as evidenced by their presidencies (minus Hamilton, of course). Adams and Madison were mediocre presidents at best, and there can be no greater example of a politician playing both sides as well as Thomas Jefferson.
In 2008, Americans were convinced to elect a cool, suave, sophisticated and articulate young man from Illinois, despite the glaring fact that he’d never led anything more important than a local protest march. However, we were told that we should vote for this man purely on the basis of his brilliant ideas (which mainly consisted of juvenile slogans and a repackaging of tired old Leftist ideas) and overlook his glaring lack of any sort of resume. I think we all know how well that turned out.
For the 64th time, perennial candidate Ron Paul has announced that he again will go on a book tour run for president. His sycophants worshiperssupporters will tell you such things as “Dr. Paul is the only man who truly understands the meaning of The Constitution”. What they cannot do is cite a single legislative accomplishment of Congressman Paul’s, even though he was first elected to Congress during the Carter Administration. For instance, despite all of his alleged knowledge of fiscal issues, you won’t find a “Ron Paul Budget Act”. Despite his self-proclaimed understanding of Constitutional issues, you won’t find a “Ron Paul Civil Rights Act”. In fact, you won’t find much of anything that Rep. Paul has ever managed to get passed in Congress (look it up for yourself).
To put it a different way, I am a huge fan of Chick-fil-A, even more so because they seem to function as some sort of employment agency for home-schooled kids (and even though I don’t really like chicken). While I have a deep resume in the restaurant business, along with a long list of brilliant ideas that could improve Chick-fil-A, I suspect there would be bipartisan agreement that I am in no way qualified to be their CEO. Simply having a bunch of great ideas and an ability to communicate them doesn’t automatically qualify anyone for the top spot, whether we are talking about a fast food company or The United States of America. The undeniable fact is that I am no more qualified to be the CEO of Chick-fil-A than either Barack Obama or Ron Paul are to be President.
The Executive branch was specifically designed to be filled by an individual who had a unique combination of experience and talent, and it’s no surprise that any list of America’s worst Presidents is dominated by former legislators with little or no executive or managerial experience (with Lincoln being the one obvious exception). In this regard, Ron Paul is no different than Barack Obama. He’s a man of ideas (ignoring for the moment the limited acceptance of those ideas) with literally zero record of getting anything accomplished beyond writing several books which seem to be oriented towards third-graders.
“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me” is the old saying. Though I have no concerns whatsoever that Ron Paul will ever be nominated by an actual functioning political party, this is an important lesson when examining the list of actual or potential 2012 Republican Presidential candidates. There is no substitute for actual leadership and this nation literally cannot afford to be fooled for a second time.
Cross-posted with permission from Hoosier Access.