Home > Applying Political Science, Mitt Romney > What would a Polkian presidency look like? | FP Passport

What would a Polkian presidency look like? | FP Passport

English: Picture of James K. Polk

English: Picture of James K. Polk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What would a Polkian presidency look like? | FP Passport.

Who knew that anyone even remembered President James K. Polk?

Of course, it’s not the mid 19th century anymore and no president can perfectly adopt another administration as a template (See Barack H. Obama and the Team of Rivals template), but the notion that Romney and his people are even aware of President Polk is tremendously interesting. I have long thought that Polk was one of the more consequential presidents. He is, however, mostly forgotten and certainly not included in the pantheon of great presidents. So, I’m basically in favor of more Polk awareness.

But the Obama/Team of Rivals parallel mentioned above points to an essential problem. Historical analogies may be instructive in some ways, but they are inevitably problematic. Let’s hope that the Romney team is reading up on Polk and his time more carefully than they considered Guns, Germs, and Steel. Let me recommend that they look into another old favorite of mine, Neustadt and May’s Thinking in Time. Neustadt and May urge decision makers who look to history to be just as aware of how things now are different as they are of historical similarities.

Fifty-four Forty, anyone?

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