yutsnark asked in Politics & GovernmentPolitics · 10 years ago

Successful businessmen who later became successful Presidents. Examples?

Business experience is considered a good credential for those wishing to be President. Still, I can't think of many recent examples in which business know-how translated into sound presidential decisions. Maybe those knowledgeable about history can jog my memory.


EDIT: CSO, with all due respect -- I rarely hear it argued that GWB was successful at business. I believe Carter was a successful peanut farmer ... but many would say he did poorly at managing the U.S. economy. LBJ and Reagan both had "ranches." But were those really businesses, or expensive hobbies?

11 Answers

  • 10 years ago
    Favourite answer

    Successful entrepreneurs have not proved to be effective presidents. For example:

    "Warren Harding (1920 to 1923) He studied law, sold insurance, and taught school but made his money as publisher of the Marion, Ohio, Daily Star. Harding used the newspaper to launch his political career; ironically, the press had a field day in the mid-1920s when his reputation was sullied by the Teapot Dome oil reserve scandal.

    Jimmy Carter (1977 to 1981) A pioneer in the nuclear-powered Navy, Carter left the military to run his family's peanut-farm in Georgia. After leaving the White House, he was forced to sell the operation, which had foundered due to poor management and a drought. Inflation and unemployment dogged his presidency.

    Herbert Hoover (1929 to 1933) Hoover was a successful mining engineer before he started a consulting firm and became known as the Doctor of Sick Mines. He was no doctor of sick economies, however. His handling of the Great Depression cost him his job in 1932, when he lost to Franklin D. Roosevelt.

    George W. Bush (2001 to present) A Harvard M.B.A., Bush was an executive in several West Texas oil concerns that failed to prosper as oil prices tanked in the 1980s. In 1989, he bought a stake in the Texas Rangers baseball team that he later sold for a $14.2 million profit–even as the Rangers traded away slugger Sammy Sosa." (http://www.portfolio.com/careers/features/2007/08/...

    Bush was successful only if his success is defined as consolidating the power of the largest enterprises in the world and further enriching them at the expense of the American people. From the perspective of Big Oil, Big Banking, speculators on Wall Street, Cheney, etc., he was wildly successful. As people languish in lower-paying jobs and unemployment, the wealthiest 1%, especially the top ten percent of this one percent, has become many times wealthier even than it was in 2001.

    Mark Shields has stated what we really need in leadership at all levels in this country:

    "At the same time, I say to my good friends on the conservative side of the aisle that public policy dictates that life begins at conception, but it does not end at birth. I think too often those on the right, when forced to choose between funding women's and infants' care, Head Start, a living wage, or choosing annual tax cuts for those of us who do not need them for our own survival, choose tax cuts every time." (http://www.nccbuscc.org/sdwp/csmgarticles.shtml

    Our political leadership--especially that of the corporatist right--has become one of protecting the wealthiest of us from everyone else. Anyone concerned about the well-being of our people and the future strength and progress of our country knows that leadership is stewardship, and that lifting the neediest and the weakest is not only good policy but also policy in keeping with the teachings of the Hebrew Bible and of Jesus Christ.

    ***EDIT: A case in point is Romney, whose business "success" derives from the Gordon Gekko tactic of buying up competitors, laying off employees, and pocketing the money freed up by such tactics for himself and his greedy allies.

  • 4 years ago


    Source(s): Survival Methods http://givitry.info/SurviveAlmostAnything
  • 10 years ago

    Nothing is more anathema to the way businessmen think than politics. Business focuses on results, politics is all processes. Totally incompatible. That said, when politicians try to act like businessmen, it is really important that they have at least some experience with it. Inevitably, they're still gonna suck at it, but at least they may be aware of their limitations.

    Truman and Grant went bankrupt in the private sector before entering politics. Harding was a newspaper editor. Bush 43 is still the only President with an MBA. Not that many really, which is probably part of the problem. Why would a successful businessman run for public office?

    They can still wield influence through the purse strings, without having to take a pay cut. The difference is between; being rich, or being famous.

  • Noelle
    Lv 4
    5 years ago

    Many people who start thinking in this way have become very successful. Like all those kids that had a lemonade stand. I had a little blue berry stand at 10! It's a way of thinking - good problem solving skills, independence, big-picture thinking - all really great at your age. All business is opportunistic, that's kinda a given. Business isn't done out of the kindness of one's heart, otherwise we wouldn't look to get paid. As someone mentioned, there is a human/compassion side that has to be present and to be truly successful in something you have to have a passion for it. It sounds like a cliche, but when you find the thing you love so much you'd do it for free, you will far surpass your expectations of success. Best-

  • What do you think of the answers? You can sign in to give your opinion on the answer.
  • Politics is a business. A very dirty business. Hardly anything happens in Washington that doesn't involve a lot of money.

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    Our system is so messed-up that non-working families are better off financially when Dad doesn't live at home and Momma has babies from several fathers.

    “The heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God and a belief that government should replace God.” --Todd Akin

    And people ask: Why aren't you liberal?

  • 10 years ago

    Why would a good businessman take a huge pay cut and run for a thankless job?

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    George W Bush

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    Bush had an MBA and had run 3 businesses into the ground (while making a fortune).

    Does that count?

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    There really haven't been any successful businessman Presidents.

Still have questions? Get answers by asking now.