What kind of life experience leads to being a good president?
George Washington worked tirelessly as a surveyor and became a military leader. In between, he became a successful farmer and agricultural innovator.
John Adams went to Harvard at 15, became a schoolteacher, ran a successful farm, studied the law and repeatedly answered the call of duty to his young nation – leaving home for months at a time on treacherous journeys across the Atlantic.
Study the lives of the great presidents in American history and you will find they developed their character through hard work and challenging life experiences.
In 1992, surely for the first time, America chose to elect a president who never held a job outside of government.
In 2004, America will be faced with the second opportunity to elect a president who has no real work experience outside government.
Worse yet, as my colleague Rabbi Shmuley Boteach pointed out in his most recent column, Kerry’s main work experience seems to have been marrying extremely rich women.
There are many reasons not to vote for John Kerry. He is wrong on virtually every issue – even when he’s trying to be on both sides of those issues. He betrayed his Vietnam war comrades upon his return from Vietnam – calling them “monsters” even while they were fighting in the jungles and being tortured in prisoner-of-war camps. He is hopelessly out of touch with the American people and seems driven to achieve not as a matter of service to his country, but as service to his ego.
But if there is one characteristic of Kerry’s life that should disqualify him absolutely as a candidate for president, it is the fact that he has sought out millionaire wives to take care of him. Not to put too fine a point on it, he’s a serial gigolo.
Let me ask you this: How many single women do you know worth a hundred million dollars or more?
I don’t know too many. Kerry has managed to marry two.
“Women who repeatedly marry rich men are dismissed as shallow gold-diggers and crass parasites,” writes Boteach. “But why are men who repeatedly marry rich women not portrayed in a similarly unfavorable light?”
Kerry was born into wealth and position. His family often vacationed with the Kennedys.
His first wife, Julia Thorne, was worth an estimated $100 million.
After raising children with her, Kerry sought and received an annulment of that long-term marriage. Then he married Teresa Heinz Kerry, the widow of a Senate colleague five years his senior. She is worth approximately $500 million.
Is marrying well good preparation for serving as the president of the United States?
I would suggest to you that work – hard work – is the best preparation for becoming a good president.
Washington did it. Clinton didn’t.
Hard work builds character. It teaches us. It develops patience and maturity.
Kerry has never had these simple life experiences. You may think he’s learned a lot by serving in Congress, serving as lieutenant governor of his state. But he’s never gotten his hands dirty. He’s always had a net underneath him throughout his political career – in his case, a net woven of homespun 24K gold.
This is not a man the American people should trust to lead the executive branch of the federal government. He hasn’t paid his dues.
And, once again, as Boteach points out, his second wife, Teresa made him sign a prenuptial agreement when they were wed: “Which begs the question: If his own wife doesn’t trust him with her money, why should we trust him with ours?”
Teresa Heinz Kerry is not sure about her husband’s character. Are you?