FIVE MOST UNQUALIFIED U.S. PRESIDENTS

mascot new look donkey and elephant headsHAPPY PRESIDENTS DAY! What better way to poke through the undeserved air of reverence that often clouds this holiday than by taking a look at the Five Most UN-qualified people who rose to the presidency. And remember, this list is not a reflection of their subsequent performance as president, just on their qualifications prior to taking the office. 

Ulysses S GrantNUMBER 5: ULYSSES S GRANT

Gang Affiliation: Republican

Became President Despite Their Poor Qualifications Because: He was treated too gently by the media as the victorious General from the Civil War and had tried not to take sides in the bitter fighting between Congress and President Andrew Johnson leading up to the election of 1868. 

Comment: Grant started out promisingly enough, graduating from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. After 15 years in the Army (and service in the Mexican War) Grant went on to a series of failures in civilian life. When the Civil War broke out he returned to military service and rose to lead the Union Army to victory.

I’m not looking down on military service but when it’s your core experience and only area of success punctuated by repeated failures in other endeavors you might think Secretary of War would be Grant’s eventual position in the cabinet of a more qualified president.

Public fondness for Grant as the triumphant General who helped save the Union meant he could ride what was basically a P.R. campaign to the White House. There’s a difference between accomplishments and qualifications and Grant may embody that difference.  

Jimmy Carter newNUMBER 4: JIMMY CARTER

Gang Affiliation: Democrat

Became President Despite Their Poor Qualifications Because: His sincerity made him seem like a breath of fresh air following the years leading up to the 1976 election.  

Comment: Just as Grant had graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Jimmy Carter graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. Carter ran the family peanut farm and served in the Georgia State Senate for 4 years. He also served as Governor of Georgia for 4 years.

A tunnel-visioned and anachronistically puritanical throwback, Carter came along at a time when his every liability was converted into an asset by public disgust over the Vietnam War, the Watergate Scandals and the revelations of abuse by the CIA, FBI and NSA.

Carter’s apparent sincerity and his distance from national political outrages of the time propelled him to the Oval Office. He lacked noteworthy accomplishments in his military, business AND political careers (he was sometimes called “the definitive place-holder”) but his mere promise to be honest seemed enough in the 1976 election.   

Obama b

NUMBER 3: BARACK OBAMA

Gang Affiliation: Democrat 

Became President Despite Their Poor Qualifications Because: He had novelty appeal, was treated too gently by the media and seemed like a breath of fresh air following the disastrous George W Bush years.  

Comment: Obama embarrassed himself with absurd resume-padding like – for just one example – claiming to have been a professor of Constitutional Law when he had merely been a minor, occasional lecturer. (If he had wanted a career in teaching that type of lie would have been a major faux pas, unlike politics where untruths are a boon.) Plus his shame over his notoriously poor grades in college made him seal all his records and keep them sealed to this day.

Politically, Obama performed make-work duties as a “community organizer” and then rose through the Chicago cesspool by running in safe districts where not even the most mediocre Democrat could lose (Think AOC today). He registered no legislative accomplishments during his time in the Legislative Branch, setting a record for merely voting “Present” on many items, and rode a public relations campaign to victory over corrupt, racist, war-mongering Republican John McCain.   

Calvin CoolidgeNUMBER 2: CALVIN COOLIDGE

Gang Affiliation: Republican

Became President Despite Their Poor Qualifications Because: He was Vice President when President Warren G Harding died in office.

Comment: Coolidge limped along in assorted local offices in Massachusetts (Town Mayor for one year, a few years in the state senate) before becoming Lt Governor for 3 years then Governor for 2.

Just as Chester A Arthur was a compromise Vice Presidential candidate in 1880, Coolidge could be called a “spite” Vice Presidential candidate in 1920. The Republican National Convention Delegates showed their resentment of the corrupt “smoke-filled room” antics which had gotten Warren G Harding shoved down their throats as the presidential nominee. Coolidge was the beneficiary of that resentment as the delegates forced him onto the ticket in the VP slot against the wishes of the party bosses.

A possibly apocryphal story goes that when the Harding/ Coolidge ticket won, Will Rogers – noting that cosmic levels of good luck had elevated a flavor of the month non-entity to the Vice Presidency – said “I wouldn’t give two cents for Warren Harding’s life.” If the tale is true that joke was eerily prescient as Harding did indeed die in office, completing Coolidge’s unlikely rise to the presidency.       

Chester A ArthurNUMBER 1: CHESTER A ARTHUR

Gang Affiliation: Republican 

Became President Despite Their Poor Qualifications Because: He was Vice President when President James Garfield was assassinated.  

Comment: Arthur embodied the old saying “It’s not what you know it’s who you know.” He went from an undistinguished law practice to administrative crony appointments in the New York State Militia for two years, then thanks to the buddy system he became Customs Collector for the Port of New York City – a plum post for graft.

From there Arthur was named Chairman of the New York State Republican Party Executive Committee for 2 years and finally was forced onto the ticket with James Garfield in the 1880 election as a compromise/ sop to Roscoe Conkling’s faction of the Republican Party.

And so, following Garfield’s assassination by Charles Guiteau – who gleefully bragged about how his act elevated Arthur to the presidency – a mediocre coat-holder and party hack went where some of the most impressive figures of 19th Century America failed to go.  +++

FOR BALLADEER’S BLOG’S LOOK AT PRESIDENTS FROM EISENHOWER TO TRUMP CLICK HERE 

FOR BALLADEER’S BLOG’S LOOK AT VICE PRESIDENTS CLICK HERE 

FOR BALLADEER’S BLOG’S LOOK AT THE FOUR MOST INCOMPETENT U.S. PRESIDENTS CLICK HERE

FOR BALLADEER’S BLOG’S LOOK AT PRESIDENTIAL LOSERS CLICK HERE 

© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

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4 Comments

Filed under LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES, Neglected History, opinion, Presidential Rap Sheets

4 responses to “FIVE MOST UNQUALIFIED U.S. PRESIDENTS

  1. Lucy

    Obama should have been the least qualified.

  2. Janeen

    I would have ranked Carter a little higher but I can understand.

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