Thursday, February 21, 2008

Ignorance of the Presidency

Many Americans seem ignorant about what the job of President of the United States involves. The debate over who to nominate largely ignores the fact that the President is the nation's Chief Executive Officer.

Democrats are preoccupied with the color or sex of their candidates. Many Republicans are preoccupied with which candidate is "conservative" enough.

Too little attention has been paid to who has the most relevant experience to be an executive. Democrats had the candidate with the best resume, Gov. Bill Richardson, but they have rejected him in favor of media stars Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton who have never run any large organization. We can evaluate Richardson on the basis of how he ran the Department or Energy or how effective he has been as a governor.

Republicans at least considered experienced executives, even if they devoted more attention to their ideological views. We can evaluate John McCain on how he ran the Navy fighter wing he was in charge of. Governors Mitt Rommey and Mike Huckabee could be evaluated on how they handled their governorships.

Ignorant voters blindly assume that a candidate who agrees with them will be able to implement policies they support. The reality is that even the most well meaning candidate cannot automatically gain support for his or her proposals. Gaining approval for an agenda requires experience.

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