(Original print date October 20216)
My usual position is to avoid the entire conversation regarding politics altogether but with all the hoopla surrounding the current presidential campaign and pending election I began wondering what makes the position worth all the work. In his or her quest to secure employment, any intelligent individual takes time to research the proposed employer. The company’s “track record” and employment history are more-or-less scrutinized and some even go to the extent of speaking with current or former employees. Of course, salary and benefits are an immediate consideration as well as any perks one might be awarded as a verifiable employee.
To have aspirations for the office of United States’ president, the highest office in the land, one has to consider the track records of past individuals who’ve held the position as that determines the rigors of the post. Many hold an unfavorable opinion of the sitting president, Barrack Obama, for various reasons. The Rasmussen Reports’ daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Friday of last week shows 50% of likely U.S. voters approve of President Obama’s job performance while forty-nine percent disapprove. It seems no matter which political party occupies the office though, Americans tend to allow them a “ride on the wave” of favorable popularity until something occurs to prompt a trial in the court of public opinion.
The most recent former president, Gorge Bush, left office in 2009 as one of the most unpopular parting presidents in history. This is according to a CBS News/New York Times poll that ranked President Bush’s final approval rating at just 22 percent. Since President Obama took office in 2009, the U.S. image among other nations worldwide has remained relatively strong though not having reached the higher level of forty-nine percent as seen when he first took office. According to Gallup Pole’s Julie Ray in December of 2015, for three consecutive years, leadership of the U.S. had earned the highest approval ratings among five major global powers.
When one considers the benefits of this position, security has to be realized as placing it at a level that ranks among the safest jobs in the world. Mr. Thomas Van Hare identified a presidential security detail: “An example of a Presidential motorcade is helpful to understand the extent of protection involved — this from two years ago protecting Obama when he went to Capital Hill on a published date and schedule: A Route Car (generally two police officers) drives the route to check it visually up to five minutes prior to the President’s movement. A Pilot Car (generally two police officers) drives the route a minute prior to ensure it is clear. A Lead Car (generally two police officers) drives just ahead of the motorcade to clear the route at the time of movement. Two President Cars (The Beast), one a decoy and the other containing the President, move behind the Lead Car, the driver and at least one Secret Service guard accompany the President. Halfback follows closely — this is the primary support car loaded with at least four Secret Service agents and the usual weapons, including sub-machineguns for real firepower. An electronic countermeasures and communications vehicle follows with a classified onboard team. Two vehicles follow, known as Support and Control, bring along support teams as well as a doctor and full med kit for emergency medical support. A HAZMAT countermeasures vehicle follows with a classified crew, able to respond to chemical and other non-traditional weapons attacks and pollutants. The Press Vehicles — maybe two that carry on board press, driven and manned by Secret Service agents. The Roadrunner, which is the WHCA support vehicle containing communications relay and encryption support for secure global communications, even on the move; an ambulance from the local area with a cleared medical crew. As well, along the route of travel, Secret Service agents may also be deployed in vehicles, in buildings and on streets in plain clothes to provide support and suppression of any attacks.”
Even with what might seem like overkill, there are a number of additional agencies required to coordinate any movement of the president. The U.S. Marine Corp, local police and sheriff’s deputies are actively involved with the Air Force on stand-by.
Finally, we get to the one thing that is most often the deciding factor when it comes to career selection; the annual salary. By any means, four hundred thousand dollars per year is considered a very good income. But figure in the fact our country’s leader lives in a decent house, doesn’t have to do anything overly strenuous including drive, has a dedicated plane, helicopter, and complete motorcade, and doesn’t pay taxes. In my opinion, that makes for a pretty desirable career choice. I could be wrong but it’s just something to consider.