The Dumb American Presidents of The Past: Or Were They? The Ignoramus in Office.

ignoramusIt is hard to imagine that we have had so many dumb American presidents. I’m not confining this to one party but it appears this characteristic crosses both parties. For years now probably going back to John F. Kennedy, or perhaps even before him, all of those presidents have been engaged in an activity that is truly a waste of time. You would think they had better things to do with themselves.

I say they are dumb because the incoming president who says he is smart does not have to follow what they had to do. Trump said: “I don’t have to be told — you know, I’m like a smart person.  I don’t have to be told the same thing and the same words every single day for the next eight years.  It could be eight years — but eight years.” 

You see the self-described smart person is not about to follow what all those other presidents did which can only mean they were dumb. Can you imagine what those prior presidents did? They received daily intelligence briefings.

Trump points it out: “But if they’re going to come in and tell me the exact same thing that they told me, you know, that doesn’t change necessarily.  There might be times where it might change.  I mean, there will be some very fluid situations.  I’ll be there not every day but more than that. But I don’t need to be told, Chris, the same thing every day, every morning, same words.  Sir, nothing has changed.  Let’s go over it again.  I don’t need that.”

Well, I’d suggest we are pretty lucky now that we have a president who is so clever. How did we ever survive all the years up to now with our other presidents being told the same thing over and over again? Were they really all retarded that each morning the intelligence briefing was carried on for a half an hour or more and it just consisted of “sir, nothing has changed. Let’s go over it again.” 

But here is the problem that I see. If these presidents that preceded the Trump were not dumb but were clever and smart in their own right what are we supposed to make of all of them receiving daily intelligence briefings and the Trump deciding that he does not need them.

All I can conclude is that the Trump has no idea what the job of president involves. I’ve mentioned before that he is the first president ever to be elected who was not a general, politician or public servant with years of experience. He is a neophyte when it comes to working in the government. Yet at this early stage he has rejected the course followed by his predecessors to get daily briefings but has suggested because his underlings get them he does not have to receive them.

He said: “Now, in the meantime, my generals are great, are being briefed.  Mike Pence is being briefed, who is, by the way, one of my very good decisions.  He’s terrific.  And they’re being briefed.” You have to wonder that if the Trump thinks the briefings are such a waste of time why are all these other people taking the time to listen to them. Is he suggesting that unlike him they are not smart and have to be told the same thing over and over again?

My take on the whole thing is that Trump wants to run the presidency like he runs his business. He knows what is involved in constructing a building, He does not have to be appraised of daily matters.

If he were smart he would know that he is woefully ignorant when it comes to running foreign policy. Things are fluid. They change by the moment, sometimes quickly, sometimes gradually. Even if they didn’t, no briefing should ever be the same.

The idea behind day-to-day briefings is to listen and then ask questions and propose solutions. The next day the briefing will answer the questions and discuss the solutions that should bring about more questions. The day after when they come back with answers more questions must be asked and solutions suggested. The next day they are discussed and more questions asked. It is an ongoing process so that the president will have thought about things, raised questions, and received answers. Solutions do not respond to quick judgments. They have to be thought about.

The Trump’s refusal to be briefed, to ask questions, to think about it, propose solutions and have the back and forth required to really understand something is disturbing. He does not understand his job. He is an ignoramus in office.

He will not only not be prepared when a crisis arrives he will have so alienated the intelligence agencies that their work will suffer. They will think if he doesn’t care and is going to act like a cowboy why should we put in all the work to get things right. Sadly America will suffer greatly.


22 thoughts on “The Dumb American Presidents of The Past: Or Were They? The Ignoramus in Office.

  1. Dear Matt, I know you’re a grandfather with family. Millions of Americans truly love their families. This isn’t simply about punishing William Camuti or Kevin Weeks – if we allow a killer to escape justice, if we don’t fight to correct something Americans have died in battle to protect – how could we face the grave (which is guaranteed for everyone) without fearing for those we love?

  2. The Herald should investigate why William Camuti – who murdered Stephen Rakes three and a half years ago – has never faced justice! A convicted felon murdering someone in cold blood with cyanide (or anybody murdering another human being) should face justice. Stephen Rakes was a hard working man. If we allow William Camuti to escape justice, one day someone we love might be killed, and after the killer is arrested – the killer might never face justice. This is America, why has this been allowed to happen?

  3. The day Stephen Rakes was cut from the Whitey Bulger prosection witness list – the day the press would listen to him describe Kevin Weeks’ perjury – he was poisoned by Wiilliam Camuti. That was three and a half years ago – but William Camuti has never faced justice!

  4. My brother testified before Judge Reginald Lindsay at the federal courthouse about the Brian Halloran murders. Kevin Weeks testified about the same murders at the same courthouse. Why wasn’t Kevin Weeks’ testimony questioned? Kevin Weeks testified not knowing Whitey Bulger’s accomplice because he was wearing a mask. This was the person my brother watched jump on the car hood and shoot Michael Donahue through the windshield. Kevin Weeks never mentioned that part of the murders. He testified Whitey Bulger killed both Brian Halloran and Michael Donahue without leaving his car.

  5. My brother gave a police incident report concerning the Brian Halloran and Michael Donahue murders. But that witness statement was sealed by a federal judge. Kevin Weeks testified several times concerning the Brian Halloran and Michael Donahue murders. His testimony was completely different than what actually happened. He testified Whitey Bulger never left his car when murdering Brian Halloran. My brother told the truth. He had no reason to lie. Kevin Weeks had a major reason to lie – to increase his government witness status. Kevin Weeks helped kill five people. He is free to enjoy Christmas while his victims are rotting.

  6. My brother’s car was forced to stop when Michael Donahue’s car was sprayed with a machine gun and drifted across the street. Brian Halloran fled from the car. Whitey Bulger dropped him with a couple of bullets, then tortured him for two minutes. Brian Halloran wore white coveralls. Starting at the ankles, Whitey slowly moved up to his chest. My brother watched red dots appear on the white coveralls. He said Brian Halloran “flapped like a flounder.”

  7. Stephen Rakes told me about William Camuti. He explained this man was convicted of fraud and served a federal prison sentence. The day he was murdered, Stephen Rakes was cut from the Whitey Bulger trial prosecution witness list. Stephen Rakes was nervous about dropping ‘a big bombshell’ (see Daily Mail July 19, 2013).’ Stephen Rakes’ bombshell was the federal seal on my brother, Jaime Parker’s police witness concerning the Brian Halloran and Michael Donahue murders. This federal seal protects serial killer Kevin Weeks from being prosecuted for perjury.

  8. Commissioner William B. Evans said Friday’s arrests “should send a strong message to anyone who knowingly chooses to hurt or harm any member of our community. If you carry a gun and use it to take the life of another human being, we will find you and bring you to justice.” But it depends on the person AND the circumstance. July 13, 2103, William Camuti murdered my friend Stephen Rakes in cold blood with cyanide. Although quickly arrested for the murder – William Camuti has never faced justice!

  9. This indirectly relates to you post because President John F. Kennedy strongly believed in justice. Today’s Boston Herald article, “Dorchester courthouse brawl breaks out after 2 suspects face murder charges” states: “In a statement posted on BPD’s web site, Commissioner William B. Evans said Friday’s arrests ‘should send a strong message to anyone who knowingly chooses to hurt or harm any member of our community. If you carry a gun and use it to take the life of another human being, we will find you and bring you to justice.’” Below are comments I added to that Boston Herald article.

  10. Hello Matt, just heard the Federal Appelate Court overturned Jack OBrien’s convictions saying the Government overstepped their authority . Merry Christmas to you and your entire family and to the Jack Obrien Family. Hopefully their long ordeal is behind them. Keep up the good work, all of FLORIDA enjoys your Blogs. SLAINTE

  11. Obama seldom bothers with daily briefings. We don’t know the record of the other presidents. Without a ready footnote I have read that Trump attended more briefings than the President did after they both had them available. Possibly Trump came to the same conclusion as to their usefulness after speaking with Obama. Your entire case for continuing to attack the incoming Trump in this matter is based on a faulty or uncertain premise.

    As for dumb presidents, two points. One, a daily briefing can give a false sense of accurate information. Was there a single “expert” that knew diddly squat about the collapse of the Soviet Union until the day after the Berlin Wall fell. A stupid president would neglect to seek alternative points of view. Two, imho, stupid presidents are those who engage America in foreign wars. In the last century America’s five top dumb asses were in declining order of blood soaked hands – Franklin Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Lyndon Johnson, Harry Truman and George Bush, fils.

    Let us hope that deal maker Trump can match the sterling record of the five smartest presidents over the same time frame in chronological order such as Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, Eisenhower and Carter.

    When evaluating a president’s intelligence don’t swoon, as most historians do, at the sight of blood and gore. Consider the problems they solved without resorting to guns and slaughtered American boys.

  12. Bill:
    Tet ’68 was a US victory? According to who? Mainforce, and, local VC units, took some hard licks, but, Tet was the political turning point of the VN war. Walter Cronkite didn’t get on the tube to declare victory. Everything started rolling downhill after Tet ’68. Post Tet, it was obvious to even the most thick-witted of generals, that, we hadn’t won any hearts and minds. It was the end for Westy. His whole strategy for big unit actions out on the periphery proved wrong-headed. Tet ’68 made it abundantly clear, that despite the huge American military/intelligence effort, there were no pacified areas in SVN. By ’69 the America military was a demoralized punch-drunk giant stumbling around the ring beset by a much nimbler opponent. That’s not revisionism, it’s just the facts. I’ve gotta go feed the goats, so, I’ll try and fish out some good titles you might enjoy.
    The VN War is a complex subject. Many of the counter-insurgency strategies and tactics developed during the VN War are still utilized. Take the Phoenix program, for instance. During Iraq War I, the torture mills at Abu Graib, and, other US detention facilities, were direct descendants of the torture mills the CIA set up in VN. The Pentagon decision to billet penny-packet groups of troops deep in Afghanistan to enhance local security was first tried by Krulak in I Corp. They called it the Combined Action Platoon Program, and, later, expanded it into the Combined Action Company Program. Having seen a lot of their work, over the years, I’m not very impressed by generals, and/or, spooks.

    1. Khalid:

      Nice summary of the Vietnam situation. We did learn some thing from it for a while, we then seemed to have forgotten them after the neo-cons without any war experience took over but lately it seems we are pulling out the old play books and remembering the multitude of errors we made back then. We left Vietnam over 42 years ago so few if any in the military lived through it. Do you think the Trump has read any of those good titles you are going to fish out of the barn?

  13. Is what happened to the Democratic National Committee different in any way than what Aaron Swartz did to MIT? Someone hacked into a not very secure site. How competent are the Democrats to let their e-mails be stolen? Why would anyone trust that party with national security information? Is the U S listening to Angela Merkel’s cell phone any different than a foreign power hacking U S communications? 2. Bill’s assessment is correct. Don’t believe the hype and nonsense that the media puts out. A new and different approach may be a significant improvement over the failed status quo.

    1. NC:

      My recollection is the Russians stole others emails that were not public and published them while Aaron Swartz made publicly published articles available to others for free. I do see a difference in someone wanting to keep things secret and having someone publish them against his will from someone publishing something for people to read if they pay a price.

      You are in the school of US Attorney Carmen Ortiz who said as she cut off the hand of the poor young girl who was starving because she took a piece of a cup cake from her plate: “stealing is stealing.” Swartz stole, the Russians stole so let no one complain.

      Evan the most secure sites have been hacked so the DNC is not an outlier. Don’t blame the victim, blame the thief. If someone breaks into your house I’m sure some expert could point out how you could have made it safer. You seem to forget we have had no major leaks from our government while the Democrats are in power so it seems to me the national security information is safe under it.

      We listen to Merkel not to interfere in her election but for intelligence purposes. That does seem different than listening to others and publishing the information for the purpose of helping a friendly candidate.

      2. You cannot have a blanket policy to disbelieve everything in the liberal media. As an intelligent person you, especially you, are capable of weighing what you read and determine how close it treks toward the truth. I’m not sure how failed things are. They seem pretty good for most of us. I’m sort of feeling that they are going to get worse when the billionaires take over.

  14. Matt: We all opine and speculate:
    1. To me, it seems reasonable that Mike Pence and the Generals (those experienced in government) will interact with the CIA, ask the right questions, and bring salient matters to the President’s attention. Let Trump’s “experienced” advisers filter the CIA’s daily briefings, especially considering how often most entrenched bureaucracies spin, engage in cant, and sometimes flatly get things wrong. Good for Trump for taking a different approach.
    2. Mosul: As Obama’s term ends, the NYT reports Mosul getting worse. It is reminiscent of the 1968 Tet Offensive, when the Commies were resoundingly routed, and the NYT portrayed it as an American defeat. Time will tell in Mosul. Perhaps, Trump, like Nixon in 1969, will announce the withdrawal of all American troops.
    3. I’m beyond skeptical and simply distrust most reporting from the NYT, WaPo, BoGlo, etc. Thank God for the Internet and blogs!!
    4. For the next 4 years, prepare for a relentless hammering of the Trump administration by the leftist MSM.

    1. Bill:

      1. Yes, that seems right to you but it did not seem right to all the other presidents. Do you think none of those prior presidents had skillful advisers? Do you want your doctor to be briefed by others on the latest medical advances or learn them himself. I’m surprised you suggest all the prior presidents did not understand “how often most entrenched bureaucracies spin, engage in cant, and sometimes flatly get things wrong.” You praise a man for his willingness to be ignorant. Remember he says he does not like to read books.

      2. Yes, Mosul is tough. It is so because unlike the Russian in Aleppo we are trying to preserve civilian lives. We could take the city in a few days if we just unleashed bombs on it but that is the difference between us and Russia. Obama won’t back down. Perhaps Trump will as he did with the drone the Chinese seized when he said let them have it. Will he be saying that when the Russians seize other countries?

      3. You have to disregard the liberal media as long as you read it with an eye to its bias. At least they support America although a more liberal America than some would like. As for the internet we have seen it is full of fake news even more so than the main newspapers. As Reagan would say: read but verify.

      4. For the next two years (I don’t think he’ll make it for 4) prepare for the relentless hammering of the American workers by the Trump administration.

  15. Crisis is on the way. Check-out today’s NYT world news concerning the current Mosul offensive. US proxies are taking so many casualties their infantry units are losing cohesion. Morale is starting to slip. Only a fresh infusion of US combat troops will save the situation. What will Glorious Leader do, fold and go home, or, push more chips into the center of the table? Jan 20, he’ll have to start making decisions about our Iraq policy.
    I’m glad I’m not eighteen, again. The situation looks grim

    1. Khalid:

      The Trump after the Chinese seized the drone in the waters tweeted the act was unprecedented (not exactly that word) and then he next tweeted that we should let them keep it.

      True, Mosul fighting is tough. Unlike the Russians who just bomb the hell out of Aleppo killing everyone we are trying to save as many civilians as possible so our troops (Iraqi and Kurd) are taking a bad beating going in slowly.

      From his reaction to the drone incident it looks like he is going to fold.

    1. Honest:

      Yes, he was Stalin’s chief execution under the NKVD the predecessor of Putin’s KGB, Nice people.It is said of your friend Vasili “Over a twenty-eight day period, Vasili Blokhin personally performed over 7000 of these Polish executions at Katyn. Usually, the executions would take place from dusk til dawn, with Blokhin preferring to work at night for these types of tasks. Blokhin would work nearly uninterrupted each night, reportedly killing a prisoner about every three minutes, averaging around 300 executions per night.”

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