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Alan Blinder: The Case Against a CEO in the Oval OfficeRoundup: Media's Take
Mr. Blinder, a professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University, is a former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve.
Mitt Romney bases his case for being president on his evident success in business, where he made a fortune as CEO of Bain Capital. But are business achievements important, or even relevant, to the presidency?
Probably not. Presidential history teaches us that the abilities, character traits and attitudes it takes to succeed in business have little in common with what it takes to succeed in government. In some respects, they are antithetical.
Think of our greatest presidents. Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and the two Roosevelts didn't have any business accomplishments to their credit. (Well, maybe Washington did, a little.) Neither, by the way, did Republican icon Ronald Reagan, who was once a union leader. Harry Truman sold a few hats, and Woodrow Wilson was a professor. On the other hand, the two truly successful businessmen to win the presidency were Herbert Hoover and George H.W. Bush.
This negative correlation between business success and political success is probably not a coincidence...
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