Really? Because if memory serves I remember the president in office 15 years ago decided to spearhead a foreign war that has cost us, at minimum, $2 trillion dollars, killed 100,000's of people (2,000 of them ours), maimed and mutilated untold numbers, and pretty much set us down the road to unzipping the entire Middle East. The latter consequence, by the way, was predicted at the time by Middle East experts, so it wasn't like nobody was warning us what would happen.But keep to the money: $2 trillion dollars! Helluva "small incremental change". My grandchildren's grandchildren will be paying for that war.
Not to single out that president (who I voted for, to my eternal shame and damnation). President Johnson chose to expand the Vietnam War into open conflict. There was a lot of pressure on him to do so. But it was his decision, and see how that worked out for us. (I find it darkly amusing that many young Vietnamese now admire Bill Gates more than Ho Chi Minh. Talk about the most useless war on record. And people are still dying from the landmines).
But let's not stay negative. President Kennedy sent us to the Moon in 10 years, a project which ushered in all sorts of technical advances throughout society, from computing to Velcro,and cemented our dominance as an aerospace power. Use your GPS lately? President Roosevelt: well, he only saved the nation a couple of times running, from social disintegration and world war, but who's counting?
So, with respect, I'm going to have to take exception with your "small, incremental changes" statement. It is demonstrably false. And my opinion is that leadership of the world's only superpower and greatest economy is the gravest responsibility. The person put into that responsibility had better be a known quantity, not a loose cannon. One little mistake, one little gaffe, and people die, and billions go wasted. Even the most admired and gifted of leaders make grave mistakes. Reagan your man? Remember Lebanon and Iran-Contra? Fancy Churchill? Look up Gallipoli. And those were known quantities with governmental expertise.
Also, while you are entitled to your view of the World in general, as evidenced by your comment "Most of what a good President can accomplish is just to hold back the rate at which things go to hell by just a little bit...": I may be taking your comment out of context. I apologize if I am. But I must say that never in the history of Mankind have people been fatter, been better educated, better traveled, had bigger houses, more TVs, fancier cars, had better health care, more teeth in their mouth when they do kick the bucket, owned more guns and yet been shot at less than they are today, had so much crap they needed to rent room to store it, had more ways to communicate with their fellows and yet spend it in petty tirades (like this one). For most of human history reaching the age of 40 was a struggle. Never have people lived longer than today. And yet it is my considered opinion that never in the history of Mankind have people whined more, over less.(Not you, tugsailor, I'm just being rhetorical).