|Hiring a president
||[Jan. 28th, 2016|09:41 am]
In the commotion surrounding the primaries, caucuses (cauci?), and election, I try to focus on the task at hand and what it is not. The task is hiring a president for the country; it is not winning a contest or proving the "other side" wrong.
Hiring a person is a rather mundane task, sometimes with no perfect solution, many times with several solutions that are all acceptable.
The job description for president is long. A president must be knowledgeable in many areas, including: law (constitutional law and law enforcement); budgeting and national spending; domestic issues such as farming, disaster recovery, energy (oil, gas, coal, hydroelectric, wind, and solar), transportation (automobile, trucking, rail, and air), social security and medicare, and environmental issues; international issues such as trade relations (China, Canada, India, Japan, Germany), conflicts (the Middle East, Russia), end economics. A president must meet with other heads of state, and appear at ceremonial functions within our own country. He (or she) must prepare an annual budget and present it to congress.
Such a list is too long for a single person, and the president appoints members to his cabinet to advise him. Beyond the cabinet, there are offices with lawyers, analysts, and other folks to assist in the job.
So when electing a president, the real question is: which candidates can assemble an informed cabinet and effective support team?
This is a very different question from the typical election-period questions, yet probably more important. Our government is built to be slow and deliberate; we elect a president and not a king. The president must work with congress and develop solutions jointly.
In this light, let's review our current candidates:
Martin O'Malley: My favorite, so he goes first. I've spoken with him; he is intelligent, knowledgeable, and capable. As mayor of Baltimore he implemented (or his team implemented) programs to collect and track data for issues in the city (from crime to potholes) which let him hold district managers accountable. (Previous administrations used a casual, who-knows-who system that saw repairs and initiatives handled inconsistently.)
Hillary Clinton: Certainly knowledgeable of national and international affairs. A Democrat in good standing and capable of obtaining cabinet members. Will have strong opposition from Republican members of congress (as will all Democratic presidents).
Bernie Sanders: Knowledgeable and experienced. Will have strong opposition from Republicans. May have resistance from Democrats.
Ted Cruz: Experience as senator, yet no accomplishments. His experience is limited to blocking legislation. Has poor relations with other members of congress, may have difficulty reaching agreements.
Marc Rubio: Experience as a senator. Better relations with members of congress than Cruz, which is an advantage in achieving goals.
Jeb Bush: Experience as governor of Florida, a large state with both urban and rural areas. Knowledgeable of domestic and international affairs. Family will help with ties to folks for cabinet and staff.
John Kasich: Experience as governor of Ohio, a large state with both urban and rural areas. Probably the least repellent to Democrats; good possibility of reaching agreements.
Paul Rand: Experience as senator. Strong knowledge of international affairs. Knowledge of budget and spending. Libertarian leanings may make it difficult to find cabinet members who share his beliefs and almost impossible to draft new legislation that will appeal to Democrat and Republican congressmen.
Chris Christie; Experience as governor of New Jersey, a small state (geographically) with large population split between urban, suburban, and rural areas. Willing to compromise. Seems to have no friends or allies, but also not beholden to extreme groups.
Donald Trump: Businessman, no experience in politics. May try to run the government as a corporation, a sure formula for failure. Expect strong opposition from Democrats and Republicans. Not beholden to extreme groups. Seems to be an opportunist, which means he will compromise when necessary to obtain his goals. Not sure that this candidate is looking out for the best interests of the country.
There is a long list of candidates. The ones I have listed, in my opinion, have a chance at the job.
So the question is: which of these candidates are acceptable? Which will be an effective president? I keep in mind that our union has survived many presidents, good and bad. The object here is not to pick the best and vilify the others, but to list those that would be "okay".
So here is my list of acceptable presidents:
Any of these, in my opinion, can get the job done. The other candidates, should they win, will have a very difficult time.
I'm not going to get emotionally wrapped up in the primaries and election. I'm not going to be happy at "winning" the election. (I didn't win, the candidate did.) Nor will I be depressed if my one candidate loses, for I have multiple candidates that I consider acceptable.