The duel for top spot in the primaries is centered around a claim of “experience” versus an ill defined “New Direction”. Since there is not an incumbent (which would naturally have the most experience) all those claiming experience are counting whatever time they have been interested and involved in politics. Experience cannot be measured by claims or testimonials of celebrities. Experience can be counted if it is action taken that corresponds to the kind of actions a President must perform. What primarily does a President do and what should he do?
Since there are so many Senators in the race they must think the manipulations they perform to get a piece legislation passed qualifies them for a job that requires good decision making skills, leadership and most of all a set of principles that characterizes him as honest, trustworthy and charismatic. Since there have been so few Senators ever elected to the presidency it would make one wonder why there are so many in that body that seek the office and mostly fail.
When a person says they have experience that is relevant to the Presidency, they have held an executive position where they were accountable and have some positive results to show for the decisions they made. One cannot claim they are ready to go on the first day if they admit they have made some major blunders in the past but they have learned from their mistakes. One has to ask what caused the major mistakes and what changes has the candidate made in their decision making process to avoid such mistakes in the future. If all they have to offer is a mistaken decision on a narrow issue this does not provide comfort that decisions of greater magnitude will benefit from their past oversight.
Neither should one be comforted by a person who makes decisions “driven” by faith. Osama Bin Laden could make that claim (and does). Decision making is the biggest job an executive has. it is imperative he understands how to make decisions. He has to know what his objectives are before he goes into weighing a myriad of options. There is a hierarchy in decision making that precludes putting the cart before the horse. Here’s an example: If President Bush had entered the Iraq war with a decision to attain a well defined victory he would have been able to clarify his objectives and make appropriate choices to attain this purpose. But since victory was ill defined we wasted many lives and dollars on activities that had nothing to do with achieving a well defined victory. This demonstrated a poor ability to make good decisions. The fact that there was so much dissatisfaction with the war was the result of this poor ability. No American cursed Harry Truman when the Japanese surrendered in World War II. The nation was united in seeking victory and that victory was defined as unconditional surrender. World War II was the last war where that expectation was a part of the decision to go to war.
Most of the current candidates for President of the United States have a decision making apparatus geared to getting elected and little else. They believe that if they get the job they will know what to do. Some want to steer the country into socialism ( in fact all of them are headed in this direction to differing degrees ). Others have a fantasy in their head that by redistribution of wealth they will rid the nation of poverty. LBJ had a war on poverty back in the 60’s and if that failed what makes anyone think a revised push in that direction will be any more successful today? Where was that bit of history factored into the decision to reactivate the same old arguments that proved to be wanting.
The only persons that should be considered qualified for the Presidency are those who we can see positive results based on decision making skills that explain why and how they accomplished what they did. Being a spouse of a politician certainly cannot be called experience in good decision making particularly if the spouse is a disgraceful philanderer. One cannot attach years of being a bystander as a good decision maker. Just being in the spot light is not enough to qualify anyone for elective office particularly if the office requires decision making which has never been demonstrated. Coming up with spending ideas is analogous to going on a shopping spree with someone else’s money. Who couldn’t do that?
The issue of leadership simply means that people trust the person they are electing to lead them. And good leadership comes from demonstrating that the decisions being made are sound and verifiable. They don’t always have to be correct but they do have to be based on good factual evidence and processed by methodology that is easily understood and honest. No one can reasonably expect a person to make perfect decisions all the time. We can expect that if a bad decision is made there is a way for that decision to be corrected. Some one with a lust for power will never possess this attribute. The power they seek gives them the ability to be boss which is all they really seek. All dictators operate on this premise.
So as we look at the candidates claiming experience and leadership we need to ask them just exactly what they mean by these claims and how do they fit with the requirements of the Presidency. Talking about diplomacy while they rail against their fellow Americans of a different political party rings hollow. Claiming experience that a President doesn’t need or use is hardly useful experience. I know of no President who took charge of the decor in the White House. Since the Presidency is a separate branch of the government I hardly think legislative experience has much to do with administration.
It is the political philosophy of the candidate that will give us the leadership we need but just getting into office hardly qualifies. Does a leader want to lead us into the abyss of socialism in spite of historical global failures? Does any candidate understand what capitalism is and why it should be defended? Does any candidate understand that an honest government insists on honest accounting? We have a poor crop of candidates and we have to pick the least offensive primarily from members of a Congress that has a very unfavorable rating from the American people. What criteria can we rely upon? A sound decision maker that understands what freedom can do and what government can’t is all we can hope for. Unfortunately these traits are rare in the current crop but the obvious scamps can easily be dumped. And they aren’t hard to spot.Tags: experience president