Episode Three: an Independent Cast of Mind J. Adams, Taylor, Hayes, Carter. Is an independent cast of mind the best approach to the presidency? The four men profiled in this hour pursued a course that took little account of political affiliation, becoming presidents, in essence, without being politicians. Taken together, they present a cautionary tale: all had difficult presidencies, and neither of the two who sought a second term was granted one. Episode Four: The Professional Politician Van Buren, Buchanan, Lincoln, L. Johnson. In our nation's early years, taking part in political affairs was considered a duty and an honor, but not a way of life. It was not long, however, before the professional politicians, and the parties they represented, began to find their way to the White House. While the skills necessary for political success can be helpful to a president, they are not sufficient to guarantee success in the office.