On the approach that experience is the best augur of approaching performance, Morris (Supreme Commander: MacArthur’s Triumph in Japan, 2014, etc.) examines and evaluates, as any hiring board might, the resumes of 15 men, all past applicants for the job of president.
To adjudicator the fettle for the Oval Appointment of abstracts as aerial as Washington and Lincoln, as arguable as William Randolph Hearst, and as little remembered as William Henry Harrison, the columnist uses four criteria: “accomplishments,” “intangibles,” “judgment,” and “overall” (a arbitrary of all the advice accepted about the candidate). Notwithstanding the advised assortment of his list, a brace “candidates” appear out of place: the contrarily admirable Gen. George C. Marshall was never seriously advised for Franklin Roosevelt’s carnality president, and Jefferson Davis was adopted president, yes, but of the Confederacy. Still, the disagreements readers will accept with Morris, his methodology, and his assessments are allotment of the fun of any exercise like this. As he ante the aspirants, the columnist turns up absorbing little nuggets about each: why Jefferson in 1826 anticipation DeWitt Clinton was the greatest active American and why Lincoln, too, approved to challenge the ancestor of the Erie Canal; how Ronald Reagan devised his own adaptation of autograph to bear his acutely effortless speeches; why Robert Kennedy and Barry Goldwater were conceivably too hot for the presidency, Herbert Hoover and Samuel Tilden, too cold; how Henry Wallace failed to bout abstemiousness with his biggy intellect; why Maine’s Bowdoin College awarded an honorary amount to Jefferson Davis two years before the Civil War; how Wendell Willkie, after anytime captivation accessible office, captured the Republican nomination; why the Democrats alert denied their top honor to William McAdoo, the best able treasury secretary since Hamilton. Why acumen trumps experience, acumen beats arduous adamantine work, broad intelligence bests attenuated brilliance—these considerations, too, amount into Morris’ appraisals.
A timely, amusing, and occasionally abrupt exercise.
But what about the candidates themselves?
In Fit for the Presidency? Seymour Morris Jr. applies an executive recruiter’s approach to fifteen presidential prospects from 1789 to 1980, analyzing their résumés and references to determine their fitness for the job. Were they qualified? How real were their actual accomplishments? Could they be trusted, or were their campaign promises unrealistic?
The result is a fresh and original look at a host of contenders from George Washington to William McAdoo, from DeWitt Clinton to Ronald Reagan. Gone is the fluff of presidential campaigns, replaced by broad perspective and new insights on candidates seeking the nation’s highest office.
Fit for the Presidency?: Winners, Losers, What-Ifs, and Also-Rans
- BookFit for the Presidency?: Winners, Losers, What-Ifs, and Also-Rans
- Author:Seymour Morris Jr.
- Publishing Date:2017-01-01
- Publisher:Potomac Books
- Number Of pages:400