Experience Versus Judgement

The 2016 Presidential primary process is drenching Americans in rich rhetoric which leaves one scratching ones head thinking, “what did he/she just say?” The candidates, or more correctly their strategists and speech writers, have distilled everything down to a 10 second, hopefully highly memorable sound bite. Hmmm.

The President is called the chief executive. I can’t remember one, Democrat or Republican, who has actually acted as the country’s top executive, Instead the vast array of Departments, Agencies, and the Military seem to operate on their own agendas which call first for survival and only later for delivery of services. They are the civil service crowd, immune from dismissal except in severe situations. Any senior official has long ago learned it is better to “go along and get along”.

The Presidency has instead morphed into an auxiliary legislative branch proposing new regulations or laws, or issuing a veto to thwart laws originating in Congress. The Presidency has reinforced its roll in setting foreign policy (with the advice and consent of Congress).

So where does “experience and judgement” fit in?

Does being a State Governor or corporate leader prepare one better than being a former member of Congress? Supporters of Donald Trump, Carli Fiorina, John Kasich, Chris Christie, and Jeb Bush certain think so. The politics of corporate life, however, are completely different from that involved with a President and Congress. Further the whole idea of profit motive is totally missing from Government (at all levels).

Experience can also refer to age and life lessons gained over time. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, who occupy different points on the progressive axis, would stress this type of experience as a plus for them. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, on the other hand, represent the “fresh, new faces” who bring the theme its time to change forward. Hmmm.

Judgement is not so straight forward. One could say George W Bush exercised poor judgement when he allow the Iraq invasion and occupation to take place. Unfortunately the only proof of this is history. At the time the country and Congress was only too willing to surrender commonsense and due diligence to the elusive fear of terrorists and the warmth of patriotism. History, however, has coldly shown the foolishness of Bush’s “judgement”.

As we listen to the current crop of would be Presidents one would do well to look beyond just experience and judgement. Neither may be relevant. One might better judge the candidates upon their stand alone intelligence, their emotional maturity, and their apparent executive skills (like problem solving, prioritization, and strategic thinking).

One might ask, how can I make these judgements?

It won’t be easy because 150 million voters can’t get one on one with each of the candidates. In addition, each serious candidate has a backroom full of script writers and strategists parsing each and every issue. (That’s why these campaigns need so much money!). But here’s a place to begin.

Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper and ask them to assess these personal characteristics for each candidate. Then, write or simply go to the Facebook page of each of the major television networks and repeat this request. If enough people were to make this type of request, it might alter the line of questioning to something far more substantive.

I am not going to hold my breath waiting for the news media to ask substantive questions rather than colorful, headline grabbing ones. I will probably look to the candidates’ policy platforms and make a judgement on whether these policies, if enacted, would be good for America.

Barack Obama, when elected, had a long list of proposed policies, Affordable Care Act being the only noteworthy one enacted. President Obama has faced his last six year a “just say no” Congress. History is likely to record Obama, brought the nation back from near depression, did not do anything “stupid”, and steered the ship of State bravely and safely. That might be the best we can expect from his successor given the divided nature of America.

How many of the candidates, Democrat or Republican, do you think can steer the ship of State bravely and safely?

Explore posts in the same categories: 2016 Presidential election, Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, congress, Conservatives, Democratic Party, George W Bush, GOP, Hillary Clinton, marco rubio, obamacare, Politics, Republican Party, Uncategorized

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