Other Voices | Wednesdays Wars: What’s Past is Prologue

Published on Jan 11, 2017

If you’re trying to get a fix on where you are, take a look at where you’ve been. As the sign says at the National Archives in Washington DC, “What’s Past is Prologue.”

So, to get some perspective, I took a look at our Presidents in the post World War II Era and tried to come up with a one-word description. Here’s what I came up with:

TRUMAN (gutsy); EISENHOWER (steady); KENNEDY (elegant); JOHNSON (powerful); NIXON (paranoid); FORD (okay); CARTER (godly); REAGAN (affable); BUSH I (earnest); CLINTON (clever); BUSH II (oblivious); OBAMA (decent). Special thanks to my friend Sam Miller for giving me the word oblivious for GWB.

I’m sure everybody has their own one-word description for their favorite and not so favorite past Presidents. For Reagan, some might think the word “affable” is a bit dismissive. Not so. His affability enabled him to be as effective as he was.

For Kennedy, “elegant” doesn’t just mean he looked good, but that once he got the first six months out of the way, it describes his way of governing (especially the Cuban Missile Crisis), and his relationship with the country.

For Clinton, “clever” is not a compliment … his best-known quote … “It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”

Last, Johnson. Maybe if I had three words, I’d say, “powerful and tragic.” The Vietnam War broke him, because he didn’t have the intellectual confidence to question the Ivy League advisors he inherited.

Looking at that twelve President list, is there a clue that tells us that Trump is the obvious next person in the progression? Maybe. Although, it would probably take a trained astrologer to tell us.

Is it possible to make a prediction as to what is likely to be the one word that will describe Trump? To do so now would be to assume that the job does not have the potential to change the person who holds it. Continue Reading…….