Thursday, March 15, 2018

Who was our first businessman President?

If you are going to complain to the Wall Street Journal that one of their articles has an incorrect statement, then you should first do some very careful research. But that didn’t stop Jane Genova from posting on March 13, 2018 at her Speechwriter-Ghostwriter blog about The Wall Street Journal – Did it get this wrong? She whined that in discussing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s departure they had referred to Donald Trump as being our first businessman President, but that instead George W. Bush (aka Bush 43) was. (He’d been in the oil business). And she pointed them to a Wikipedia page for background! The next day she crowed that The Wall Street Journal’s Rob Rossi replies to Jane Genova about Tillerson coverage.

The Wall Street Journal might be correct, if what they really meant was that Trump was the first president to go directly from businessman to running for President – without other prior experience as a politician.

If you look at that Wikipedia page for George W. Bush, you will find it almost immediately refers to his father George H. W. Bush (aka Bush 41) – who also was in Texas and in the oil business. Yup, 41 came before 43 so Jane clearly blew it. She also had a hilarious typo in another March 13 post titled “Doing a Tillerson” – many of us have been in that pickle. Jane spelled Tillerson’s former company with an extra e at the end – ExxonMobile. (I like to think of Jane as the Poster Girl for shallow research and incomplete proofreading. But no one is completely useless – they always can be a bad example.)

And if you look on Google under businessman and president, you will find a web article at Bankrate from February 10, 2016 by Paul Brandus titled 7 businessmen and their success or failure as US president. It lists seven twentieth century presidents before Trump as follows:

Warren G. Harding (1921-23) newspaper publisher

Calvin Coolidge (1923-29) savings bank vice president

Herbert Hoover  (1929-33)  mining engineer and executive

Harry S. Truman (1945-53) haberdasher (men’s clothing store)

Jimmy Carter (1977-81) peanut farmer

George H. W. Bush (1989-93)   oil company executive

George W. Bush (2001-09) oil and gas executive, and baseball team co-owner (Texas Rangers)
An older article at The Hill blog by William B. Campbell back on October 18, 2012 was titled History shows businessmen make bad presidents. He went back further to the end of the Civil War and mentioned:

“The unquestionably successful businessmen were Andrew Johnson (tailor), Harding (newspaperman), Hoover (mining), Jimmy Carter (farmer), and George H.W. Bush (oilman). Truman, who did so poorly in business he sought public sector employment to make ends meet, became a great president.”

Also on March 13, 2018 Jane had blogged about an Extreme glut of degreed talent – either go to T10 program or forget it – and incorrectly referred to a well-known University of California location as Berkley when she should have said Berkeley.

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