Sunday, August 19, 2012
I'm using the race for the Presidency as an example because it's looming before us, but this should apply to all politics. Don't get me wrong - I don't mind that the President is paid for what she or he is doing. It's a job, it's a stressful job, and it deserves pay.
I'm not sure I understand why we have to keep paying the President a salary for life, though. I believe they call it a pension, but since when does someone get a pension of that amount for a mere four (or even eight) years of work? Every President that sits should be a working President. He or she needs to take off their four or eight years from their regular job in order to do the work of President, yes, but that job should still be there when they're done. Or failing that, you have to admit that having "President of the United States of America" on your resume is a fairly good reference.
Bill Clinton was the last President to get "Secret Service for life". From Bush Jr. onward, the American people cover ten years of SS protection, which doesn't seem unreasonable to me. Again, the job is pretty stressful. I could even go for "full medical equal to or less than what they would get from work as a high ranking officer in the Armed Forces" since technically that's what the President is (Commander in Chief).
Regardless, though, if someone wants to be President they should be able to sell their merits on their own. Take a train from city to city rather than flying in a personal jet. Or if you want to jet, fine, but pay for it yourself. You want the job; show me why you'd be the best person to hire for it.
As I do every four years, I remind people, this "race" to the Presidency is not some kind of popularity contest (or should not be). It's a chance for those who wish to hold the job (which is about to become vacant) to show us their resume, to show us their skills and abilities. It's their time to show us, the American people, their employers, why they should get the job.
One talking point is not enough to sway me to hire someone. The Presidency is not about abortion rights or gay rights or fences in Mexico. It's about all those things and more. Just because a person running for President doesn't agree personally with abortion doesn't mean that they will (or even have the right to) up and change the law to make abortion illegal. That's why we have the Senate and the House. That's why we have Congress. The only "overreaching power" the President should have, to my understanding, is the power to say NO (veto). That doesn't make laws/bills pass; it simply shuts them down without making changes.
What would make me want to vote for Barack Obama? What would make me not want to vote for him? What would make me want to vote for Mitt Romney? What would make me not want to vote for him? What would make me want to vote for the other candidates, probable or possible? What would make me not want to vote for them?
It's not one issue. It isn't even ten issues. Look at the bigger picture. Look at the resumes of these people who apply for the job of running our country. What skills do they bring to the table that will make our country better? What drawbacks do they have that will need to be improved on the job or worked around? What items do we, the People, need to address about the candidates before we're willing to give them a try?
More importantly, what are they doing now and what have they been doing for the past four years, to show that they are the person who should hold the position of President? What is their job experience, so to speak? I don't mean how many babies they've kissed or even how many political jobs they've necessarily held. I mean what are they good at that they bring to the office of President? Are they good with people? Do they know how to balance a check book? Are they aware of the various problems affecting the country right now? Do they have suggestions and ideas for how to fix those problems? Are they physically, mentally and emotionally capable of holding the position of President?
Please, everyone... remember that this is not and should not EVER be a popularity contest. It doesn't matter if Obama looks good in a Speedo or if Romney is a good guy who goes to church. Look at the Big Picture. Don't vote for your favorite cause - vote for your country's health and welfare.