By Katie Allen
Mitt Romney may just (definitely will) run for his third try at the White House. Jeb Bush is another probable candidate on the Republican side that could announce soon. Hillary Clinton is a Democratic counterpart that may possibly announce candidacy in the coming months.
When discussing who may replace the current president, I feel as though a pretty common thought is, “who would be the best president?” This becomes problematic though because the answer to the question doesn’t mean that they would be a good president, let alone a great one. It only means they are better than the other options available.
What exactly would make a president great after all? According to Aaron David Miller, the author of The End of Greatness, a great president is rare (didn’t we already know this from history?) because of the circumstances that come with the presidency. In essence there is one main point of a great presidency – Crisis.
In order to be a good president there needs to be a crisis. Under what other circumstance is a president able to truly prove his or her leadership skills.Three presidents have governed through crisis successfully (according to Miller in our morning sessions). These individuals include Washington, Lincoln, and Roosevelt.
Washington was the first President of the United States and was the Commander and Chief as well as a Founding Father. He was able to establish a country separate from that of Mother Britain. He was faced with a crisis based upon the fight for independence as well as the national debt that came from the expensive battle. Lincoln was faced with potentially the largest and most serious crisis America has faced since its founding. He was challenged to unite the nation again since the south was receding from the Union. Lastly, Roosevelt was faced with the banking crisis of 1933, also known as the Great Depression. None of these presidents were face with small challenges.
During this crisis the true character and capability of the president is put to the test. How does he handle the White House, advisers, and media? True, at the time George Washington and Lincoln probably had very little ‘media’ to deal with, but they still had speeches. LIncon, for example, is well known for his speech about the American Dream and the ending of slavery, a speech that resonates today.Within a speech these individuals are able to reach out to their audience and prove their character. They are also able to announce resolutions or promises which opens the door to their capability of leadership and follow through.
This quote by William Shakespeare describes the American Presidency in the final of the three options. Presidents can only achieve greatness when the opportunity is thrust upon them.
Looking forward to the 2016 presidential election and who will be our president for the next four to eight years, we should ask ourselves if we really want a ‘great’ president?