Today I watched a clip of Back to the Future, one of my favorite movies. Specifically, the scene where Marty McFly travels to 1955 from 1985, and meets the 30 year-younger version of Doc Brown, the individual who had sent him to the past. Doc Brown asks him who is president in 1985, and when Marty replies that it’s Ronald Reagan, Doc Brown very famously replies, “Ronald Reagan? The actor?!” Indeed, in 1955, few would have thought that actor Ronald Reagan would eventually become president. In light of this, I thought it would be fun to do a similar exercise with other US presidents, regarding what they were doing 30 years prior to a given point in their presidency, and make similar statements. It’s funny how so many people were at one time at a place in life in which it would never have been obvious they were on that track. I’ve done my best to stick to round numbers whenever possible.
- 1987, from 2017 – Donald Trump? The real estate guy?!
- 1985, from 2015 – Barack Obama? The community organizer from New York Public Interest Research Group, leading the May Day initiative about NYC’s public transport?!
- 1975, from 2005 – George W. Bush? The CIA Director’s son from Harvard Business School?!
- 1965, from 1995 – Bill Clinton? The freshman class president at Georgetown?!
- 1960, from 1990 – George Bush? The oil guy?!
- 1950, from 1980 – Jimmy Carter? The submarine lieutenant in the Navy?!
- 1945, from 1975 – Gerald Ford? The Staff Physical and Military Training Officer at the Naval Reserve Training Command?!
- 1940, from 1970 – Richard Nixon? The litigation lawyer in California?!
- 1935, from 1965 – Lyndon Johnson? The head of the Texas National Youth Administration?!
- 1932, from 1962 – John F. Kennedy? That crazy Irish businessman’s teenage son?!
- 1925, from 1955 – Dwight Eisenhower? The Army major?!
- 1915, from 1945 – Harry Truman? The clerk at Kansas City National Bank?!
- 1910, from 1940 – Franklin Roosevelt? The New York State Senate candidate?!
- 1900, from 1930 – Herbert Hoover? The businessman in China?!
- 1895, from 1925 – Calvin Coolidge? The law apprentice in Northampton, Massachusetts?!