CEO in Chief

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Vanity Fair national editor, Todd Purdum, looks at the theory that business experience is important for a president.


Todd Purdum

Comments [51]

amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night

@ gary -

I love when rightwingers bring up Sweden as a free-market exemplar, when they are in fact still strongly social democratic, have the second highest income tax rates in the world (56.5%), have national healthcare, include government and unions in many corporate decisions (like Germany), etc. Of course, Sweden has move rightward and has become more market-oriented, but from a US political economy perspective, they are still red commie pinkos (who are happier, healthier, better educated...)

Here's an article on Sweden from a pro-business, Neoliberal economist:

Aug. 01 2012 03:00 PM
adrienne from UWS

I do think culture has much to do with building a sucssesful society and many poor and oppresed societies have been able to do that. That does not make Israel's occupation is OK. By the way Israel has a terrible proble with poverty, the middle class has all but vanished. why isn't any one talking about that. I like the Brian Lehrer show but I often feel he makes the same points again and again

Aug. 01 2012 10:56 AM
Glork from Glen Ridge, NJ

1). Can someone please explain why Mr. Romney was not simply praising Poland and the initiative of the Polish people, after all that ehir country has been through?

( Without the spin, please.)

Also, Brian- a little sublety is a sign of grace and distinction. Your intonation hints that you are absolutely giddy with delight over bashing Romney. Hope it works!- and that the Obamas fund public radio BIGTIME $$$ in return for the staunch loyalty!

Aug. 01 2012 10:54 AM

@MartinC -

Up your meds or if you are not on meds, see a doctor. You have over-personalized this sh*t beyond rationality.

Have an apple, take a walk. Enjoy the summer day.

Aug. 01 2012 10:51 AM
gary from queens

@Robert from NYC,

A million Jews have been expelled from their homes from all over the middle and far east, where they lived for hundreds if not thousands of years. THAT doesnt bother you?!

Arabs had rejected UN partition agreement that didnt expell arabs from their homes, or jews from their homes. yet only the arabs rejected it and made war on the Jews.

Now there is an armed Israel, which is the sole reason there's a small patch of land with no oil or mineral wealth where Jews can call home.

Your view that more jews need to die to make this conflict fair is morally bankrupt. You should decide who are the aggressors, and then celebrate that more of them are being killed than are the peaceful defenders of their land----granted by UN mandate and not a "writ"

Aug. 01 2012 10:48 AM

@gary -

"Keynesianism has shwon to be a failure..." Now you are just making stuff up.

Marginal rates mean less in an age when loopholes are rampant and enforcement is lax. Three-fourths of the current deficit is caused by the hole that Dubya and the GOP drove the economy into. Recover first, reduce second. All of those who choose the opposite: Reduce first, recover second are opting for the pain to last longer.

Aug. 01 2012 10:41 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

JG - I thought it was due to our protestant work ethic.

Aug. 01 2012 10:39 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Feeling overwhelmed?

Aug. 01 2012 10:39 AM

"Duh, we discussed it..."

Dude, "we" did not discuss anything. They did. Your nom de plume is not your only issue. You need to see someone and get some mental help.

Aug. 01 2012 10:34 AM
Robert from NYC

Gary, thousands of Palestinians are murdered compared to the usual handful or two of Israelis so let's get away from that issue. An eye for an eye crap has become a thousand eyes for an eye. And it's reckless killing... on both sides nonetheless much heavier on the Israeli side. And YES Gaza and the West Bank ARE occupied. How would you like to have a group of folks throw you out of your home and take it over based on some boundaries they claim is theirs by writ of word.

Aug. 01 2012 10:32 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan


Look who is talking about an identity crisis...LOL....Jindal?

Remember the recent Wash Post headline
"How Obama Became Black"?
Duh, we discussed it on this show and the book's author was a guest.
Duh, duh, duh.

Aug. 01 2012 10:30 AM
Ed from Larchmont

Wow are you guys partisan.

Aug. 01 2012 10:29 AM
gary from queens

@Jack Jackson,

Yes, Hoover failed because he too was a big gov spender! Just because he was a republican doesn't mean he isnt a big gov republican like GW Bush was.

Keynesianism has shwon to be a failure. Look at Chile and Sweden today. Look what Reagan and Kennedy did with the marginal tax rates.

Aug. 01 2012 10:29 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

One can also ask why there is such a wide disparity of income between the US and Latin American economies? I have known Latinos who blame the US for Latin America's relatively poorer economies. Mexico was once rich before the United States even came into existence, due to the silver and other resources. What gave the US the edge was freedom. Freedom to start business. Freedom from feudalist landlords. Freedom for people to do more or less what they wanted to do with a minimum of interference.

Aug. 01 2012 10:28 AM
Zuwena from Manhattan

Needless to say, among the many things that Romney doesn't take into consideration in his commentary on "culture" and Palestine is the fact that the Palestinian people have not been the beneficiaries of the multi-millions the United States have showered on Israel since 1948 and is continuing to do so. I know a few millions in my pocket would make a huge difference in my personal economic outlook. How come nobody points this out!!!

Aug. 01 2012 10:27 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan


Get your facts straight....Barry occupied the HLR chair (after winning a popularity vote by well-meaning white Harvard law students, read Mandel's Obama-friendly biography) and NEVER PUBLISHED A SINGLE ARTICLE.....NOT A SINGLE SENTENCE.
Just like his Illinois State Senate experince and his Presidency....he is good at voting "present".

Aug. 01 2012 10:26 AM
Amy from Manhattan

The language used by Mr. Romney's press person didn't exactly show respect to a holy place either!

Aug. 01 2012 10:25 AM

Bobby Jindal?!? His one shot at the center stage (after an early Obama State of the Union) was roundly jeered. The GOP have no bench which is why the crackpot Tea Party get to tell them what to do!

Aug. 01 2012 10:25 AM
Pordy from Madison, NJ

Why doesn't anybody see Romney's "gaffes" abroad as just more of what he did at the NAACP (get booed and then practically boast about it). As if his base would be bothered that Europeans don't like what he said or that he offended the Palestines.

Aug. 01 2012 10:25 AM
Anonymous from Manhattan

Martin Chuzzlewit
Martin Chuzzlewit
The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit is a novel by Charles Dickens, considered the last of his picaresque novels. It was originally serialized in 1843 and 1844. Wikipedia
Published: 1844
Author: Charles Dickens

Aug. 01 2012 10:24 AM
gary from queens

There was nothing offensive–or particularly novel–in Romney’s observation. His words could have been drawn from the UN’s Arab Human Development Reports, written by Arab intellectuals, which have reached damning conclusions about the lack of freedom, education, women’s rights, and other factors holding back the Arab world. As the latest such report notes: “The Arab region is dominated by long-standing state structures which have inhibited the empowerment of Arab individuals and communities.”

The Arab Human Development Reports were considered big news when they first started coming out a decade ago because they represented a break with an age-old tradition in the Arab world: that of blaming outsiders for all of one’s woes. For decades Arab rulers, echoed by compliant intellectuals, have chosen to blame “Zionists,” “imperialists” and other bogeymen for their countries’ shortcomings. Thankfully, the Arab Spring represents a moment of self-awareness in which Arab publics are realizing that their own leaders are the cause of their woes.

Aug. 01 2012 10:23 AM
Nick from UWS

Romney said this, that country was insulted. Romney said that, this country was infantile world full of oversensitive children. What the hell is all this? Being insulted should not be the basis of any foreign policy stance. Christ, those reporters screaming at him like a bunch of schoolyard brats.....disgusting.

Aug. 01 2012 10:22 AM
The Truth from Becky

Bobby Jindal is also an idiot and not a reliable source for the truth. He also suffers identity crisis, he has assimilated to keep from being ostracized.

Aug. 01 2012 10:22 AM
brooklynmom78 from Park Slope, Brooklyn

There seems to be a divergence between the IMAGE of the person that they think is a good business person, and the type of person who actually IS a good business person. I have a lot of girl friends who say they want to date really rich guys, but the problem is, when they actually MEET those guys, they don't fit the image of what their dream man is, ad they date the personal trainer at the gym. Politics in a nutshell.

Aug. 01 2012 10:22 AM
real nyer

Did no one notice that this insistent right wing Republican heaped high praise on Solidarity - a LABOR UNION - for Poland's freedo and success?

Aug. 01 2012 10:21 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Todd Purdum -


Aug. 01 2012 10:21 AM
Kermit Frazier from Brooklyn, NY

One of the reasons, I think, that Israel's economy can be so dynamic is that the United States provides billions of dollars in military aid. If Israel had to provide that aid itself, would its economy be so robust?

Aug. 01 2012 10:21 AM
m from NY

Check out the Palestinian GDP before the last intifada, circa 2000 -business booming across the green line....

Aug. 01 2012 10:21 AM

Martin, Jindal is very wrong. Obama ran the most prestigous university publication in the country. And he ran a multi-million dollar campaign operation.

Aug. 01 2012 10:20 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Israel's per capita is about $30,000 per capita, and West Bank and Gaza is about $3,000 per capita. Actually, under Netanyahu, the prosperity and economic growth has shot up dramatically. But nearby countries like Egypt and Syria and Jordan, which are not under Israeli occupation the last time I looked are no better, and actually worse off than the Palestinians who are under so-called "occupation." The only thing Israel restricts is the importation of arms and materiel that can be used for weaponry. Otherwise, the West Bank and Gaza are free to do non-military business with the rest of the world, and with Israel. In fact an economic pact was just signed between Israel and the PA.

Aug. 01 2012 10:20 AM
Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey

@gary from queens..

I sure hope that other posters don't buy your economic history without more facts. FDR's spending blunted the worst of the Depression - remember that Hoover and the GOP had nearly four years to get it right but could not - and then the Congress of '35-'36 slowed deficit spending and the economy headed back down. Sound familiar? Final recovery did not occur until aggregate demand (and jobs) were spun up by World War II. The basic Keynesian formula : Recover the economy AND THEN pay back what you borrowed still holds. That should sound familiar, too. Romney (should he be elected despite what seem like his best efforts to throw it) will do no differently.

Aug. 01 2012 10:20 AM
gary from queens

Obama is the real insulter of the UK. just look at the return of the bust of Churchill, and then lying last week about it.

Or the Falkland Islands, etc. Let's talk about Obama's insults to the British!

Aug. 01 2012 10:20 AM
Amy from Manhattan

So many business people who run for office say, "I know how to create jobs--I've done it in the private sector!" But government doesn't create jobs the same way a business does, by hiring people, or at least not primarily (OK, FDR did), & certainly that's not what these candidates mean: usually they also say they're going to cut the government payroll, so they'd be getting rid of jobs!

Aug. 01 2012 10:20 AM

Who cares what Bobby Jindal says or thinks? He's the governor of one of the poorest states in the country- I don't see his business expertise doing anything for Louisiana.

Aug. 01 2012 10:20 AM

Mike, I was just researching the War of 1812, and we may have had parts of a standing army, but it was not standing very tall, so it's not wrong to say it didn't exist. We were still primarily a militia-based country because the founders feared a standing army could rule over us - thus the 2nd amendment's "well-regulated militia" line.

Aug. 01 2012 10:19 AM
The Truth from Becky

Already offending people around the world...tsk, tsk, tsk! What an idiot.

Aug. 01 2012 10:18 AM

I always find it interesting that the exact traits that people want in politicians (charisma, drive, high stimulation seekers who have the tolerance for lots of public speaking events and work long hours) are also associated with personality traits that people DON"T want like dishonesty and high sex drives. The personality traits that make them great at what they do also cause them to get into trouble.

Aug. 01 2012 10:18 AM
gary from queens

There's no occupation of Gaza or 99 percent of west bank.

But how did Palestinians react when Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in September 2005? By looting greenhouses that contributed to the health of Gaza's economy. Why? Because they had been operated by Jews who had been evicted by the IDF. The Palestinians cut off their noses to spite their faces.

Whether a Palestinian resides in Gaza under the rule of Hamas or in the West Bank under the rule of Fatah, from the moment they awake until the moment they go to sleep they are inundated with anti-Semitic propaganda in their homes, their mosques, their schools and their media be it print, broadcast or social. Just over two weeks ago, on Palestinian Authority TV, Israel was depicted as a monster that stabs and eats children.

What are we to expect of a Palestinian culture that dances in the streets and hands out candy to children when Jews are murdered as was the case with the Fogel family in March 2011? Can we honestly expect Palestinians to be prepared to live side by side with Israelis in peace when they delight in the slit throat of a 3 month old girl?

Aug. 01 2012 10:18 AM

You do realize WW2 was essentially a massive government spending and employment program, right? Saying WW2 ended the depression just confirms government spending works.

Aug. 01 2012 10:18 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan


I thought this segment was on business experience...NOT BASHING on taxpayer funded Obama Public Radio

Aug. 01 2012 10:17 AM
George Sr.!

So that's the new calculus?

The requirement of a CEO, preferably HBS grad, to save us from the arrogant buffoonery of the previous president, whose only professional qualification was CEO and HBS grad?

Aug. 01 2012 10:17 AM
gary from queens

Romney wasn't specifically speaking about Palestinian culture when he compared the Israeli and Palestinian economies. He was referring to the work of Harvard economics professor David Landes in his book, "The Wealth & Poverty of Nations." Read Romney's full remarks here.

Aug. 01 2012 10:16 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

More Jindal - on Barry Obama's administration business experience-

“I suspect that many in the Obama administration really don't believe in private enterprise. At best they see business as something to be endured so that that it can provide tax money for government programs."


Aug. 01 2012 10:15 AM
Mike from Jersey City from Hudson County, NJ

Hmm. More magical thinking. Ronald Reagan was successful in the movie business; George H.W. Bush was a successful oilman. Contrary to Mr. Purdum's claims, George Washington was one of the wealthiest men in the colonies. Abraham Lincoln was a very successful lawyer...

I guess I'll file this with last week's segment where we heard about how the United States didn't have a standing army in 1812.

Brian, is an Obama second term really worth trashing your credibility like this?

Aug. 01 2012 10:15 AM
Brian from Riverdale

Quite an interesting topic, but doesn't it assume or even imply that the notion of 'business' has remained unchanged throughout the centuries?

In other words, businessmen today who are involved in national politics and even those who consider the presidency are usually associated with corporate America, which is far more different than eighteenth- and nineteenth-century (and even a good portion of twentieth-century) business(es).

Aug. 01 2012 10:13 AM
Adam Holland from Bay Ridge

Lincoln was a very successful corporate attorney prior to his presidency. He specialized in representing railroads, the booming, high-tech industry of his day.

Aug. 01 2012 10:12 AM
gary from queens

Romney has business and law degrees from Harvard. Did Jimmy Carter?

In fact, very few presidents had degrees in macro economics, which would be the best preparation. But for what? The best macro economic policy for economic expansion is to keep gov out of the pricate economy.

Look at Sweeden the last 25 yrs. it is doing what supply siders have recommended, and has had eco growth over twice that of the US.

Aug. 01 2012 10:11 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Governor Bobby Jindal calls Carter AND Obama incompetent -

“We have a President, who hadn’t run anything before he was in the White House,” Jindal said, and later referred to Barack Obama as the “most liberal and incompetent President since Jimmy Carter. No offense to Jimmy Carter.”


Aug. 01 2012 10:10 AM
gary from queens

Brian, I wopuld take issue with you on FDR. You shouldn't place him in the "successful" category.

FDR, like Obama, tried to spend his way out of a recession---using printed ("fiat" money) or borrowed money. And all that had accomplished was to turn a simple recession into a decades-long depression. The New Deal----Roosevelt's "stimulus plan"----delayed our recovery.

How? When government becomes a player, it chases away private investment. Who would want to start a business in a field in which your competitor is getting government subsidies or tax breaks, or is in partnership with the government, or is bailed out by government? (Obama, for example, essentially forced non-unionized auto workers to pay for the pensions of unionized GM workers.) How many other solar companies received private investment after Obama chose his favorite----Solyndra?

And the new regulations and mandates, which always follows government investment, creates economic uncertainty. The only thing that finally created economic growth and put people back to work was World War II. Thanks to the New Deal's huge influx of government dollars into the economy, the stock market hadn't returned to it's pre-depression highs until well into the 1950s.

Roosevelt's Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau Jr. admitted that the New Deal had failed in it's mission in testimony before the Democrat majority-run House Ways and Means Committee on May 9, 1939:

We tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong… somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises… I say after eight years of the Administration (Franklin Roosevelt from 1931-1939) we have just as much unemployment as when we started… And an enormous debt to boot!

Aug. 01 2012 10:07 AM
Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey

Well, Martin, your capacity to pose slanted questions before you EVEN HEAR the segment tells anyone all they really need to know about your position. Prime facie case for bias, IMHO.

Did BHO get a tremendous boost in the polls because the guy in the seat before him was a bust? You bet he did. Does the GOP block nearly every attempt to recover the entire economy so that their chances of re-taking the executive are greater? You bet they do.

This GOP behavior is contemptible and should not be rewarded but keep talking you may actually convince others that Obama deserves impeachment.

Aug. 01 2012 10:05 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Brian/Purdum – Is this really the key question? A great diplomat (Condi Rice, LOL...Hillary), military leader (Petraeus) or experienced intelligence expert (Panetta) – might be reasonable. (That’s the problem with Barry Obama: he’s not an economist, a business leader, any of the above 3 or really ANYTHING else.)

Ask Purdum if it isn’t more important to SURROUND yourself with ADVISORS who DO know business/economics? Obama has surrounded himself with academics and political jetsam, so our economy is rum by Axelrod’s polling and Valerie Jarrett’s instincts. There is nobody in this White House with business experience.

Hey, gosh, whatever happened to Larry Summers, Paul Volcker, Christina Romer and Bill Daly? And why hasn’t Obama met with Jeffrey Immelt and his Jobs Council in many, many months?*


(*WSJ July 18, 2012, “Jobs Council Is Sidelined as President Courts Voters”)

Aug. 01 2012 09:32 AM

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