Does Anyone Out There Know How To Be President? - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Opinion

Does Anyone Out There Know How To Be President?

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Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2019 1:28 pm

With apologies to baseball legend Casey Stengel, who famously asked his players during a lackluster losing performance “if anyone here knows how to play this game,” I’m wondering if there’s anyone available who knows how to be president. I’m certain there must be someone in a population the size of ours and I wish that they’d apply for the job. I know it’s a sacrifice, exposing yourself and your family to the indignities of a political campaign, but America needs someone who knows how to lead and restore dignity and respect to the highest office in the land.

I’m disappointed in the cast of characters that the Democrats have assembled to vie for the honor of opposing a very vulnerable incumbent president whose administration can only be described as chaotic with its revolving door hiring and firing policy. The latest Democrat debate was not reassuring. Former Vice-president Joe Biden, a decent and likable guy, if not the brightest bulb in the chandelier, served his country as a senator and a loyal VP to Barack Obama. He is a senior citizen at age 79 and was subjected to mean-spirited comments regarding his age from the likes of Julian Castro who served in Obama’s cabinet and whose chances of winning the nomination are, fortunately, about zero. Castro criticized “old ideas” in an obvious reference to Biden and then asked him if he had forgotten what he had just said a few moments ago. Mr. Castro denied that it was personal but anyone watching his facial expressions and body language knew that it was and it was a cheap shot. By way of full disclosure, I’m twelve years older than Biden and I regard Joe as merely middle aged and a far stronger and abler candidate than Castro. Castro should look into some other line of work.

Then there was the youthful Beto O’Rourke who, hell yes, is going to come after your guns if he’s president. He’ll decide which models. That should play well in gun-loving Texas or elsewhere where people believe in the second amendment. Fortunately, there’s not much chance that boyish Beto, who’s taken to dropping the f-bomb casually to show how cool he is, will be the nominee. And how about the youthful mayor of the 301st-largest city in the U.S. (Pop. 101,166), Pete Buttigieg, who seems to believe that the U.S. started the war in Afghanistan. He said that the best way to avoid becoming involved in such an endless war is to not start it. Hello? Wasn’t the 9/11 attack on America planned by Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda in Afghanistan and wasn’t Afghanistan the “real war” that Barack Obama said we had to win? Should anyone so ignorant or forgetful of history, even after having served in Afghanistan, be elected president?

I wrote recently that we are raising a generation that seems woefully ignorant of history. A faithful reader responded that I am wrong and probably have little contact with people in their twenties. Actually, I have quite a bit since I teach young naval officers ship handling, seamanship, bridge resources management and other topics at Naval Base, San Diego. All are college graduates and, in my view, a cut above the general population of college graduates but, of course, I’m biased. Since I often quote from maritime history classics I sometimes ask for a show of hands if they had read the particular reference. I rarely get more than a few hands. They are incredibly busy with shipboard duties so I understand but I stand, nevertheless, by my words. As many have said, those that are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it.

Of course it’s not just the youth who are ignorant of it. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth warren, aged 69 and 70, respectively, could use some history lessons. Socialism has failed to produce wealth wherever it’s been tried unless mixed with a liberal dose of capitalism as in China. Distributing wealth does not create wealth. It diminishes it, creates shortages and shares misery.

President Trump himself often seems oblivious to the lessons of history. Tariffs have seldom worked because both sides can employ them. Also, the most successful leaders have surrounded themselves with intelligent people of various viewpoints. They respect experience, welcome criticism and encourage debate before making decisions. Mr. Trump seemed at first disposed to govern this way, even bragging about his strong-minded generals and the diversity of opinion within his administration. Then he began publically ridiculing many of those who disagreed with him, even in private and it’s become apparent now that if you disagree with him your job is in peril. Everyone serves at the pleasure of the president but experience matters and it is not achieved by constantly firing people.

The latest victim of Trump’s enormous ego is National Security Advisor John Bolton. One wonders if there is something about the term “advisor” that Mr. Trump doesn’t understand. Advisors are supposed to advise, not just agree with their boss or the rest of the advisors. And that advice is supposed to be candid. Mr. Bolton is nothing if not candid. He tells it as he sees it. He is often criticized by Democrats for his hawkish views and his stern countenance adds to his undeserved reputation for being overly-belligerent but the commander-in-chief needs a full spectrum of advice, not just dovish views. This administration will be the poorer because of the absence of John Bolton.

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