Friday, October 15th, 2010
14

The "Bad Dad, Good President" Theory

The BushesI have been sort of developing this theory on modern presidencies and how the successful ones have all been held by men with distant or completely absent fathers, while the failures were men who came from stable and prosperous upbringings.

Reagan's dad was a drunk and Clinton's dad died before he was born (and his stepfather was abusive), while Jimmy Carter's father was a successful businessman and member of the state House, George H.W. Bush's dad was a senator, and George W. Bush (who did at least serve two terms, although I can't think of anyone who is calling that a successful presidency-yet) was, you know, George H.W. Bush. Obviously this model works in Barack Obama's favor, but with all the bad breaks the guy has caught, who the hell knows?

As I say, it's just a theory. I have a feeling that if it holds up at all it has something to do with resilience and the ability to create your own narrative. Anyway, in researching this hypotheses to make it more plausible, I came across this, which seems to indicate that Jimmy Carter's father was actually Joe Kennedy. Which totally screws over my postulation. Back to the drawing board, I guess.

14 Comments / Post A Comment

Also, Reagan's father was a drunk.

Annie K. (#3,563)

I don't care, I like your theory. I'm going to begin believing it right now.

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

Well that would certainly explain Teddy Kennedy's sabotage of Carter's presidency.

But then, so would TK's deep-seated need (until the 90s?) to sabotage everything.

Peter Feld (#79)

I'd think about alcoholism as a factor. Of the four most recent presidents before Obama, two were sons (or stepsons) of alcoholics, one was father of an alcoholic, and the fourth was an alcoholic.

s. (#775)

I think that probably says something about the prevalence of alcoholism as much as anything. You never have to look too far find a degree of separation from a drunk; a drunk's replying to yr. comment right now!

Aatom (#74)

Yeah, I think I'd be more wary of a president who didn't have any alcoholism in his (or her!) family. Talk about un-American.

jimhart3000 (#7,974)

So what does this mean for Jenna Bush's presidency?

HiredGoons (#603)

Just don't marry a drunk or you end up like Gerald Ford.

Maxine (#1,795)

How odd, this is the second time in 12 hours I've encountered the Jimmy Carter/Joe Kennedy connection. The first being in Tales of the City. As Dede Halcyon Day says "it certainly would explain all those teeth."

jrb (#3,020)

I'm just glad these Japanese kids will be president someday.

mathnet (#27)

My uncle was 74 years old before both of his parents had died, and the man really has no idea who he is.

mathnet (#27)

(I think you're right.)

Because of the relative stability and decency of my parents, I will no longer seek the office of president. If nominated, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve.

Doug Henwood (#6,729)

I've also proven by scientific research that the economy performs better under adulterous presidents than faithful ones. I'm not kidding.

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