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Monday, February 16, 2015

The Business of Politics

Today (Monday) being Presidents Day, I decided to look up the latest poll information on how Americans ranked our “best presidents.” At the website they give such a list ranked strictly by people casting votes on the web.

May I have the envelope please? The top ten, starting with the most popular goes like this:
Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, James Madison, and Harry Truman.

Other notables in the middle of the pack include:

#12 Bill Clinton
#15 George H.W. Bush
#18 Barack Obama
#22 George W. Bush
#28 Richard Nixon
#29 Jimmy Carter

Bottom feeder presidents were Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, Andrew Johnson, James Buchanan, and Woodrow Wilson.

According to a Quinnipiac University poll released last summer, a plurality of voters think Barack Obama is the worst president since World War II. Obama’s predecessor, former President George W. Bush, came in at second-worst with 28 percent, and Richard Nixon was in third place with 13 percent of the vote.

Thirty-five percent of voters said Ronald Reagan was the best president since World War II, receiving nearly twice as many votes as any other former president. (

As we all know, presidents and their popularity can shift wildly. One of the most recent examples was the G.W. Bush polls around 9/11 versus the numbers at the end of his second term. Clearly a matter of, “what have you done for me lately?”

There are countless intersections between business and politics. Much has been written on the “marketing” of a candidate. Similar to developing a product or service to a point where it is desirable for the consumer, so it is with creating a political agenda that generates sufficient votes.

In the business world, talent supposedly rises to the top. But untried and undeveloped talent can lead to huge problems for a company. A lack of true leadership skills can be fatal to a firm.

Untried and undeveloped political candidates can wreak havoc as well. Looking good and gaining popularity cannot replace leadership. Simply put, it can only take you so far.

The main point of this blog is to examine a business related topic and apply a spiritual connection. Guiding America’s future is big business. Our current president had an unusually untested path to the top. Community organizer, turned State Senator, turned U.S. Senator, turned U.S. President.

Few have had such a road that did not require demonstrated leadership experience. As a nation, we assumed great risk in placing such a heavy and demanding mantle on one without a background of proven toughness for the role. Perhaps some of the public concern in polls stems from that.

Interestingly, the Bible has plenty of examples from Israel’s history of inexperienced, and sometimes very young, men becoming king. Many of them failed the test of loyalty to God and His principles. During those times for Israel, things did not end well.

The world is much more complex today. We don’t elect 12-year-olds to to the office of President. We don’t make them kings. We’ve got more players on the world stage. The ability to make wise decisions with tested leaders is critical in our nation today. We need more than “great communicators.” We need leaders who soak themselves in biblical truth for guidance.

Proverbs 16:7 states, “When a man's ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” (ESV) Psalm 72 is sometimes titled, “The Reign of a Righteous King.” The passage closes in this way: “May he judge Your people with righteousness and Your afflicted with justice.” (NASB)

God help the one who leads from the Oval Office. And may God help us discern the person best who kneels before the True King for wisdom.

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Catch “Let’s Talk with Mark Elfstrand" weekday afternoons from 4-6pm on AM 1160 Hope for Your Life. To listen to the live broadcast or a podcast of previous shows click here.

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