Monday, February 16, 2009
I don’t think it’s a prerequisite for a president to be a gentleman. I’m not even sure that it’s an asset towards being a good one. In fact, I think it’s fairly irrelevant. If you size up past presidents for their political performance, and then subsequently size them up by their gentlemanly qualities, you’ll see highly mismatched charting. I consider George HW Bush and Jimmy Carter to be quite gentlemanly, for instance.
There was a fascinating article in the New York Times about the difference in dress code between the Bush and Obama white house. Bush was very strict and Obama is very laid back. I feel that when it comes to things like this, the mark of a gentleman is that he presents himself well but allows others to be as comfortable as they please. Naturally, the wardrobe of a president is a carefully considered but unassuming refection of his relative modern professional attire. The way he carries himself, the way he treats those close to him and his content of his speech are how you would measure his gentleman qualities.
“Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.”
- George Washington
"Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?"
- Abraham Lincoln
"Speak softly and carry a big stick."
- Theodore Roosevelt
"Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.”
- John Fitzgerald Kennedy
"I want a kinder, gentler nation."
- George Herbert Walker Bush
"I have often wanted to drown my troubles, but I can't get my wife to go swimming."
- Jimmy Carter