With the growing evidence that many people who run for President are ill informed, lacking in basic knowledge and curiosity about public affairs, and in some cases, plain dumb or stupid, the question arises whether we have ever had a truly dumb, stupid President of the United States!
We are not talking about one’s personality, or level of success or failure as President, but simply someone who was truly the “ordinary” man or woman, who often is not involved or interested in public affairs and does not have the intelligence or knowledge or judgment to be President of the United States!
The question is whether an “ordinary” man or woman should be allowed to ascend to the highest public office, and have the power to affect the lives, not only of Americans, but the world at large.
We have certainly had Presidents who were truly brilliant and intellectual, including John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Hoover, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. That makes a list of 15 of the 43 Presidents, one out of every three.
Then we have had Presidents who were not brilliant or intellectual, but had great qualifications that made them appropriate for the office of President, including George Washington, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, John Tyler, James K. Polk, James Buchanan, Rutherford Hayes, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush, making it a list of 18 Presidents, approximately 40 percent, and together with the earlier list, a total of 33 out of 43 Presidents, about 75 percent of the entire list of Chief Executives.
That leave us with ten Presidents who can be divided into two groups: the military generals who had little or no experience in politics–William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Ulysses Grant, and Dwight D. Eisenhower, who can at least be given credit as having proved themselves in the military.
And finally, there are six Presidents who can be considered as mediocrity personified–chronologically Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, Andrew Johnson, Chester Alan Arthur, Warren G. Harding, and Calvin Coolidge, but even among them, it is clear cut that TWO Presidents would be considered the closest to dumb, stupid, ill informed, ill equipped to be President, and one was simply a successor not elected, while the other was elected President and was a true disaster!
So if the reader has gone this far, the question is who makes the final cut of the two? They are Andrew Johnson, a terrible choice by Abraham Lincoln for his second term, clearly not thinking about his competence to be President–and Warren G. Harding, who was elected in a landslide by the voters in 1920, and was the absolute total disaster above all Presidents, and did us a favor by dying in office after 29 months as President!
Can we afford nearly a century later to have another Warren G. Harding or Andrew Johnson? Can we afford a Sarah Palin, a Michele Bachmann, a Herman Cain, a Rick Perry? God forbid that were to happen!