Is America shallow when it comes to choosing our presidential candidates?

The presidency is not a beauty contest

This article is inspired by the recent article in Politico by Ben Smith, “Rubio’s path,” which mentions that some are touting Marko Rubio as a presidential candidate.   But my ire is not just aimed just at Rubio, but many politicians from both sides of the aisle. 

President Obama is a walking breathing Exhibit A of why we should not elect inexperienced politicians about whom we know very little.  But Sarah Palin is no more qualified to fill in than Obama.  Both gave a great speech (Obama at the 2004 Convention, Palin in 2008), and are photogenic, and able to raise money.  But that should not qualify one to become President of the United States. Before talk of Rubio, we heard talk of Scott Brown running for president. We don’t even know what the hell he believes in, but he won in Massachusetts so some think he is qualified to become president.  

Similarly, I’ve heard some talk about people wanting Gen. Petraeus to run, just as many wished Colin Powell would run before him.  Sure, both are distinguished generals, but we do not even know what they stand for on the issues.  Being a general in and of itself does not teach skills that transfer to being the president.  See, e.g., General Grant and Ike, but it doesn’t rule out one becoming a great president.  See, e.g., Geo. Washington and Andrew Jackson.

Good speeches catapulting the speakers to prominence is not new.  Many remember the speech by Andrew Cuomo that instantly caused him to be considered presidential timber.  Bill Clinton rose to prominence based in part on a speech he gave at the 1988 convention.  Jack Kennedy is still considered one of our top five presidents by many dumbasses citizens, in large part because he spoke well, was handsome, and the press treated him as though he was a rock star.

Kennedy was too young and inexperienced.  So was Clinton, and GWB, and so is Obama.   Of course, Clinton was special, the best politician in my lifetime except for Ronald Reagan. 

So what do I want in a candidate?  I want executive experience, not just long years in the House or Senate.  Military experience is a plus.  Business experience is a plus.  Good looks and the ability to speak contemporaneously is a plus.  But I’m more swayed by a solid history of being consistently on the right side of the issues, not a recent “come to Jesus” convert to conservativism (see, e.g., Mitt Romney) or a say whatever it takes type (see, e.g., John McCain). 

Yes, I like where Rubio is on the issues.  Yes, I like the fight in Sarah Palin.  I’m glad Brown won in Massachusetts, but I’m leery of anybody from MA, let alone having them be president.  So gain some experience, dudes, and let’s talk in a few years.  Maybe ya’ll are presidential timber, maybe you aren’t.

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