Can A Businessman Win The Presidency?

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 31 2012 @ 7:11pm

Byron York questions Romney's decision to run primarily on private-sector experience:

The last president elected as a businessman was Herbert Hoover in 1928. "Hoover's appeal, before his reputation became tarnished by the Depression, was as a problem solver and a solid businessman," says Princeton University historian Fred Greenstein. "Someone who was not erratic — to the point of being dull." On the stump, Romney has stressed his business past more than his governing experience in part because many in the Republican base don't like what he did in Massachusetts. … If Romney makes it through the Republican nominating process, he will likely be able to talk about his Massachusetts experience a bit more in a general election campaign. But even if that happens, he has already established himself as the businessman candidate.

Ed Morrissey counters:

York gives short shrift to both Bushes, who combined private-sector experience with varying degrees of public-sector work (the younger Bush only worked in the public sector for less than 15 years combined between two offices).  He also overrates Hoover as a businessman; Hoover certainly did well as a mining engineer, but made more of a name for himself as a relief organizer and humanitarian, and then spent more than a decade in and out of the public sector.