Who Is Qualified? Who Gets Elected?
[The following is a recent press release from Paul Streitz of the 2012 Draft Sarah Committee. It is featured here tonight because of its excellent historical analysis of the how and why of our Nation's choices of President. Its inclusion here does not imply agreement with all statements made about present candidates -- although it comes pretty close -- nor does it imply endorsement of a particular candidate. -- DLA]
The most frequent negative comment I receive about Gov. Sarah Palin running for President is, "she is not qualified." However, none of the writers provides any clue as to what the qualifications are. Is it the ability to run the one hundred meters in less than ten seconds? Is it graduating from an Ivy League school? Is it being a lawyer?
Obviously, no one is going to say that it is being of a particular sex, race or religion, even though that might play a factor in voting.
If we look at the past fifty years or so, we can see the minimum qualifications to be nominated for President by either major party. Nominated candidates have always been sitting Presidents, sitting Vice-Presidents, Senators, Governors or military heroes.
There have been no House of Representative members, big city mayors, or independent businessmen nominated in recent years. Woodrow Wilson was President of Princeton University. He was a disaster.
By this measure, Gov. Sarah Palin is certainly qualified to run for President. It should be remembered that as a sitting Governor, she is the executive branch of government that decides the direction of the administration. In short, what gets done and what won't get done. When a bridge falls down, or another such calamity occurs, the press doesn't want to speak to the Speaker of the House, or a government bureaucrat.
Governor Palin has responsibility for the budget and can veto bills passed by the legislature. She appoints administrators. In Alaska, she receives national security briefings. The Governor has negotiated multi-billion dollar contracts with oil companies.
United States Senators certainly take part in the legislative process of the federal government, but individually, they have nowhere the responsibility of any sitting governor. They have no executive powers, law enforcement responsibilities or governmental department responsibilities.
Those who are not in the select circle never get the nomination. They do not raise enough money, the media do not take them seriously and the voters do not "waste" their votes for what they perceive as a non-contender. To be in contention, that is be nominated, a potential candidate needs enough social status and experience and that is proven by the five positions named above.
"Who gets elected?" is another question. Obviously, the issues at hand matter and ideology as represented by political party count heavily, but other factors enter into the equation.
In general, the taller of the two candidates wins. Surprisingly to most people, Richard Nixon was six-foot one inch, but Jack Kennedy was six foot two inches. Barrak Obama is six foot four, while John McCain seems about five foot eight.
Intelligence as measured by high IQ or graduating from elite universities does not seem to matter very much. In fact, the Harvard-Yale axis of stupidity has given us twenty-four years of elites, in which Americans have had their country attacked, four wars, Kuwait, Kosovo, Iran and Afghanistan, $5.00 per gallon gas prices and now an economic meltdown that is not going to get better by throwing trillions at it.
Mitt Romney is the perfect "too smart candidate." He spent years in New Hampshire courting voters and lost. With his stiff manner and formal presentation, his speeches and personal appearances always seemed like boardroom talks to fellow Harvard lawyers and MBA.
He may have had the Midas touch in his business dealings, but he could not communicate to the average person. When he compared his son's religious missionary work to that of soldiers in combat, the average family that actually had sons and daughters in the military knew how out of touch he was.
McCain was equally out of touch, though not particularly, because he was brainy. His pitches for Free Trade lost him the industrial heartland of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio. His open borders amnesty, simply enraged his party's base.
The more optimistic candidates usually win. Obama's political talk of wonderful "change" was on target in terms of emotion, although nobody knew what the content was. John McCain promised one hundred more years in Iraq, Iran or someplace in the world.
Obama promised wonderful, but nebulous "change," while John McCain went to Michigan and promoted Free Trade to NAFTA victims. Obama was selling the future, while John McCain was selling a failed past.
Americans have generally preferred the more aggressive candidate, even when they might totally disagree with the policies of the candidate. Harry Truman was not seen as much of a President by the voters. Thomas Dewey was inevitable thought the Republicans. Thomas Dewey conducted a back porch campaigned that was exceedingly dignified, while Truman kept battling right down to the end. Voters awarded Truman the Presidency.
The old war hero McCain refused to attack Obama. Perhaps too many years in the gentleman's club known as the U.S. Senate had taken the fight out of him. He refused to make an issue of Obama's association with Bill Ayers or Reverend Wright. He refused to ask to see Obama's birth certificate. He made nothing of Obama's most leftist voting record in the U.S. Senate or his habit of voting present in Illinois.
Gov. Sarah Palin wanted to attack Obama on his record and his associations. She was aptly self-described as a "pit-bull with lipstick." John McCain could aptly be described as a French poodle. John McCain in the last weeks of the campaign was more prepared to be the gentleman loser, and immediately after the election, he unctuously pandered to the new President elect.
The final nail in John McCain's self-made coffin was his behavior during the mortgage crisis in the last two weeks of the campaign.
John McCain had previously warned of the dangers of the subprime mortgages and had gone on record against government policies. He knew the issues. He knew the players. He was in a perfect position to take charge of this issue.
McCain could have gone to Washington, rallied the Republicans around him, presented a sound plan that did not give $700 billion to the banksters (a plan that 70% of Americans rejected) and presented it to the American people in a forceful and convincing manner.
McCain did nothing of the sort. He called off and then resumed the debates. He said nothing of substance on the bailout. He voted for the bailout. As leader of his political party, he did not rally his party supporters. He exhibited zero executive or leadership ability in a national crisis. His election tanked.
In summary, the qualification to run for President is experience as a vice-president, senator, governor, or military leader. The winning presidential candidate is more likely to be taller, more positive, a good communicator to the average person, and assertive.