I think it depends on how you define engineer. There's more to it, than having a degree. There are lots of people with engineering degrees who can't do the job, and lots of people without the paper who are inherently engineers.
Was Steve Jobs an engineer? By my definition of the word, yes. Could he have effectively run the country? He sure had an uncanny way of figuring out what the general public wanted and then getting it in their hands on time.
If you broaden the qualifications to that of a "highly analytical individual" you can include Lincoln, even though he was a lawyer. He like nothing better than to find a new piece of equipment and examine it from every angle; tipping it over, staring and thinking, evaluating practical uses and potential improvements, etc. He sounds more like an engineer than a lawyer!
Mr. Chipmonk, this one is too loaded a statement to be without clarification: "...and unfortunately since WW II it has become progressively so even in the US after the German - Americans who really built the US as an industrial powerhouse were sidelined."
The idea is close, but your not quite there yet!
It is not the engineering degree that is important, but the engineer's analytical thought process that is the key to successful social problem solving. All politicians are ideological in nature, and their decision making process is bound to their ideological point of view. However, a true analytical problem solver is not shackled to a particular ideological stance, but guided buy a singular desire to solve the problem.
One must first understand the difference between ideological symptom solving, a practiced perfected my the modern day politician, and analytical problem solving, championed by engineers, scientist and the like. Once comprehended, you then move on to the understanding of modern politics. Here you will see that having one or a few analytical problems in a sea of ideological politicians will accomplish very little. What is truly needed is a new analytical political party that rewrites politics as we know it. This would be a ground breaking paradigm shift in the world of politics.
We’ve been here before, not in politics, but in engineering. About a hundred years ago, we depended on blacksmith to build our most important tools and machines. Now we use engineers with particular specialties in analytical problem solving. Politicians, like blacksmith have become obsolete because of their lack of analytical skills. The problem is there is not an analytical party to replace them … NOT YET!!
Rich: look at US history! Two presidents were degreed engineers: Herbert Hoover and Jimmy Carter. Not exactly giving any great support to the concept! Now, if you broaden the qualifications to not require an engineering degree, and expand to political figures beyond the president, you could count Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson to help balance the case.
Rich - You propose a solution and then in the same breath cite two prominent examples -
"Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran, and Boris Yeltsin, the first president of the Russian Federation, are other notable examples of international engineer-politicians."
With friends to the cause like this, who needs enemies?
A colleague once told me the same thing, he was not accepted for jury duty because he was an engineer and for the reason you described. I was accepted on a jury, but I had listed my occupation as 'designer' rather than 'engineer'. Maybe the lawyers thought 'interior decorator'...
I agree that engineers could help to fix our political problems. Look at the news today. Companies are laying off workers to get to the balance they need to survive. Our government needs to do the same thing. It's easy to crunch the numbers and see what needs to be done. It's hard to make the changes that are required.
1) To give any "third party" candidate a chance, we need the "Schulze method", or similar, where you can vote for 1st choice, 2nd choice, etc. This approach would allow a third party winner where voters would, otherwise, be afraid their normal party allegiance would be "thrown away". An alternate method is "approval voting" but the Schulze method seems better.
2) It seems like today's "leaders" are mere puppets of big money. The puppet's party doesn't matter, the puppet's views don't matter, nor the puppet's degree; a pupit has to do what it's told.
3) The comment about right and wrong is spot on. There needs to be a solid moral basis for all government. "One nation under God" actually means something.