Presidential History

Ron Hart: Do the Private Lives of Pols Have an Effect on How They Govern?

|

Columnist Ron Hart on two things Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama have in common:

Personal lives should have little bearing on how an elected official governs, what they achieve should. Arnold did not do a great job as the "Governator" of California. I would elect Charlie Sheen if he could balance the budget, limit the role of government in our lives, and induce companies to hire. Three of the worst presidents of modern times appear to have had no sexual diversions: Carter, "W," and Obama. Give me back Clinton, Eisenhower or Kennedy instead of the last two puritanical presidents, and I would be delighted.

Whole thing here.

NEXT: Can You Copyright a Tattoo?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Effin A, man. Effin A!

  2. Was Reagan getting his flagpole polished regularly?

    1. I guess he inherits Nancy’s Sinatra thing.

    2. Oh wait, you’re implying Reagan was a good president. Please report to your nearest insane asylum.

      1. Reagan was the greatest president ever! He was a true Constitutional Conservative. All you libertarians are just posers!

      2. I’m retarded, of course.

    3. The only thing that ran up Reagan’s poll was the American Flag…and a bunch of Hollywood actresses.

      Great column by this PJ O’Rourke light.

  3. They gotta have someone to fuck. It’s either us Lewinskis

  4. Give me back Clinton, Eisenhower or Kennedy instead of the last two puritanical presidents, and I would be delighted.

    What? It’s puritanical now to have the integrity not to cheat on one’s spouse?

    1. No,

      It’s puritanical to let that form your opinion of a politician instead of his politics and effectiveness.

      1. So, the character of our elected officials doesn’t matter? After all, if he lies and cheats on his spouse, he certainly won’t do that to the country!

        1. Not if his/her record reflects success and quality governance.

          just because someone has a vice doesn’t mean it automatically permiates every facet of their lives.

        2. Yes, and the straight-laced, monogamous politicians surely wouldn’t do anything detrimental to the citizenry either.

    2. The questions of “cheat”ing is between them and the spouse.

      ‘Course, I suppose mine wouldn’t approve of my getting a special personal assistant intern.

      On the other hand, maybe Hillary was more enamored of the power that rubbed off on her than she was pissed at her husband for getting his cigar polished by an outside contractor.

      1. Hillary knew what she was doing. I’m sure she knew quite well that Bill screwed around for as long as they have been married. Definitely all about the power.

  5. Carter wasn’t that bad of a president, he just held the office during our detox period after the LBJ-Nixon years. He was certainly better than Kennedy, whose only “accomplishment” was holding his ground to some extent during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Given his sitting idly by while the Soviets illegally built the Berlin Wall, idiotic planning of the Bay of Pigs invasion, and escalation in Vietnam, even his meager foreign policy achievement is more than made up for.

    1. Price controls are very very bad.

      1. Price controls were implemented by Nixon. Carter actually lifted the price controls and deregulated prices.

        1. Indeed. As well as air travel and interstate trucking.

          He was also the only president to broker a lasting peace in the southeastern Mediterranean region, though that is often overshadowed by the Iran hostage crisis.

          1. The consequences of that brokering i.e. our military aid to Israel, Arab apologists claim is the source of all our troubles in the Middle East.

        2. And he legalized home brewing.

    2. I never quite understand all of the Carter hate either. He was a lousy politician, but he wanted to do a lot of the right things. He didn’t want to compromise, so he failed.

      1. Also: homebrewing.

        Now when will home distilling be legalized?

        1. I ask myself that every day.

    3. “He was certainly better than Kennedy, whose only “accomplishment” was holding his ground to some extent during the Cuban Missile Crisis.”

      According to McNamara, the Cuban Missile Crisis was caused by Kennedy’s repeated attempts at overthrowing Castro and/or killing him.

  6. And of course Clinton is the opposite, he was lucky to hold the office during the opening of former communist markets and the coming of age of the Internet. He was a die-hard socialist until the GOP took back Congress.

    1. This.

      Everyone forgets that. Everyone is stupid.

    2. Clinton was certainly “lucky to hold the office during the opening of former communist markets and the coming of age of the Internet” but he was hardly a “die-hard socialist” unless you define half of the Republican caucus pre-1994 as such.

      As a member of the Democratic Leadership Council Clinton explicitly rejected the economic populism of most of the Democratic party, believing (like Jimmy Carter) that a welfare state could only exist if there was a sound economy to finance it.

      To the extent he was left of center it was not because of a principled belief in some notion of helping the less fortunate, as Carter believed. Bill Clinton who have sold babies into slavery if it would have gotten him enough votes. But he calculated, correctly, that the welfare state was something the vast majority of people wanted. Of course that vast majority that wants a welfare state doesn’t want it for any altruistic reason either. They just figure they stand to get lots of free stuff from it themselves.

      Yes, it’s true that any drive for expanding the welfare state ended when the GOP took back Congress but he’d already lost that fight when his own party couldn’t agree on a way to loot the treasury for their favored contituents in the healthcare battle..

      1. The country was fortunate Clinton’s narcisstic need to be loved outweighed his ideological commitments.

  7. When they get out of my personal life I’ll get out of theirs. Deal?

    1. This.

      And seriously, didn’t Bush and Obama try to play up lessons from “youthful indiscretions” (note: these are definitely not crimes) with drugs? It’s not like they’re squeaky-clean. And yet they’d just as soon see a lesser man sentenced to years in prison for the same thing.

    2. Aye.

      This can’t be said often enough.

      Pols need a someone to stand at their back and whisper “It can happen to you.” in their ear every so often.

  8. hey that kennedy dude effed the japs then effed marilyn so back-off jacks

    1. Pretty sure this is a spoof, but I have to say something.

      Kennedy didn’t “eff the japs”. In fact he blundered into the path of a Japanese destroyer and lost his command. If his daddy hadn’t been so powerful he would have been court martialed for his incompetence.

      To call him a war hero for fucking up in spectacular fashion insults actual war heros.

  9. No Hartbot sockpuppets yet?

    I am disappoint.

    1. I think you missed one…

      In any case, I strongly suspect you’re some kind of Ron Hart false flag reverse astroturfing sockpuppet, which you cleverly obscure by posting regularly in other threads. I just can’t figure out your secret agenda… plans within plans, wheels within wheels.

    2. Finally! I thought you’d never ask! Things weren’t quite what they are now on the internet, back in the day. It got pretty lonely trying to troll ARPANET. No sense of humor, those guys.

  10. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s maid hid out Monday, refusing to answer questions about their affair or the kid. For years there were rumors the maid’s boy was Arnold’s. Every year he auditioned for the school play and every year they cast him as a tree or as a robot.

    Great point about the Founding Fathers, Jefferson was banging the help for yrs.

  11. Kennedy a good President?
    By what criteria is Kennedy a good President?
    One, he lowered taxes. That is it.
    His foreign policy was a disaster.
    He started an arms race, got us involved in Vietnam, broke the neutrality act by letting Cuban exiles run raids out of Miami, vastly expanded the CIA to avoid congressional oversite.
    That is all I can think, but it is more then enough.
    The arms race alone cost us trillions.
    The guy was a disaster.

    1. I’ve never been a fan of free verse, but once in a while it hits the spot.

    2. I give him credit for killing Operation Northwoods.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Northwoods

    3. He had world-class hair.

  12. Only in bizarro, know-nothing True Libertarian land is Carter halfway decent and Reagan a disaster. Can people who are able to use the Internet really be this stupid?

    Clinton was impeached, so um, just by that very fact, he is a TERRIBLE president.

    And of course how Pols act determines their behavior– you don’t think brazen acts of infidelity open you up to blackmail etc.?

  13. “Schwarzenegger Please!”,,,what a LOL good line, I am surprised papers let him get away with that.

  14. how Pols act determines their behavior

    Holy Cow, indeed.

  15. You suck, Nick. This is some catty nonsense that has nothing to do with the stated mission of this publication.

  16. Personal lives should have little bearing on how an elected official governs

    I concur!

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.