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Election '08

Site updates each Wednesday | Read comments from our readers on our Letters to the Editor page.

Electing the Best Qualified Candidates

Has anyone ever stopped to ask if maybe we shouldn’t be treating our elections more like job interviews? Anybody who has ever been on the hiring side of an interview understands the process of reviewing resumes, checking references and calling in the few most qualified applicants for the position for an interview. When they arrive, the interview consists of asking them a series of questions and even sometimes testing them on their knowledge of the different aspects of the job. We do this so that we end up with the most qualified person for the job. For those on the other side of the table this process can often be grueling and frustrating with the end result frequently not matching with their desired outcome. They may not understand why they didn’t get the job but chances are, they either didn’t know something they needed to know or there was something about their performance in the interview that told the employer that they were not the best fit for the job. In most cases when I have been on the interviewer side of the table, I have chosen candidates who were the best able to maintain their composure and communicate accurate information to me in a clear and concise way.

So, my question is why is it that for the most important job in the land, we the hiring employers don’t even pay attention to the resumes of the candidates? And then why do we compound our foolishness by not really paying attention to the substance of the prospective employees’ statements during the months-long interview called a campaign? How can we expect to have good public servants if we don’t even look at the substance of their qualifications for the job?

A good example of this is the current pool of candidates running for president. If you looked at just the resumes of the candidates and put aside the ideological issues for a moment, you would see that some of the front-runners are some of the least qualified for the job. Take for example Rudy Giuliani. He has been mayor of New York and other than that he’s been pretty much a government lawyer and a businessman. How does that qualify him to lead the nation? Where is his foreign policy experience? Where is his executive level leadership experience? He hasn’t even run a state at the executive level nor has he ever brokered any type of international agreements or conducted multi-lateral talks of any kind. He is a political novice at the national level. Then we have Hillary Rodham Clinton. She was the president’s wife for eight years. OK, and… Senator from New York, and…. Lawyer, and… Well, from there it goes to a bunch of things she’s done as a Senator and as First Lady. She has been an effective Senator for the most part. Nothing outstanding as Senators go but she's done a good job there. Better than Giuliani but still kind of light on the qualifications. Foreign policy not terribly strong other than as an observer of her husband in office. (My wife is an event planner. I’ve watched her do her thing and I’ve even helped her work some of her events but that doesn’t mean I’m qualified to do her job.)

Then you come to the middle-back-of-the-pack running Bill Richardson. Twice-elected Governor of New Mexico, executive level experience… Served under Bill Clinton as both a cabinet member and ambassador to the United Nations, more executive branch and international relations experience… During his time in Congress, Richardson served as a special envoy to nations around the world and even negotiated American armed services members’ release from foreign detention, more foreign relations and legislative branch experience… Wow! This guy should run for President! He's more than qualified!

So why is it that despite all of his experience and qualifications is Richardson running near the back of the pack? It would seem to me that it is because the American people have no concept of how to look at someone’s resume to see if they are qualified to do a job when it comes to politics. I like Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani just fine but Bill Richardson seems to be better qualified to do the job. Of all the candidates running for the two major parties, he seems to be the most qualified for the job. Why is it so hard for people to separate personality from substance anymore?

In 2000, many people that voted for Bush said that they thought Gore was better qualified but Bush seemed "nicer" and "less stiff" than the more qualified Gore. Have we lost our freaking minds America!?! This is not a popularity contest! This is not voting for prom king and queen! This is voting for the leader of the free world!! We need to start treating elections like job interviews and looking at the resumes before we vote. George Bush ran a Texas oil company into the ground and made a Major League baseball team lose money! He lost money on OIL in TEXAS!!! How much of a bad businessman do you have to be to manage that trick? An inbred goat boy could make money on oil in Texas! This man is not qualified to run a 7/11 let alone America yet we voted him into office because he seemed like a nice guy!?! Come on now!!

We need to start making smarter choices about our politicians. Qualifications do matter and we need to make sure the applicants are the best choice and not just the lesser of two evils. It’s time to start putting substance ahead of style and making sure that the person that has their finger on the button actually could look at a map with no names on it, point to a spot and tell you who the leader of that place is as well as what they export and who our ambassador to their country is. We need leaders who can pronounce "nuclear" as well as understand the basic concept of nuclear weapons being a last resort and not just one "option" to have on the table. What church someone goes to doesn’t matter half as much as how they can deal with pressure and conflict. Whether someone inhaled doesn’t matter anywhere near as much as how well he or she can perform when faced with a crisis. Experience and knowledge do matter and we need to start reminding ourselves of that and soon.
Troy Wilson-Ripsom - Staff Writer | Give your feedback on this article.

Governmental Change or Liberal Witch Hunt?

In the interest of full disclosure, I want it to be perfectly known that I am not a Far Right Conservative, Nor am I against what the Democrats are doing in Washington DC. However in light of recent events in Washington DC, I am compelled to write this editorial. I, in fact, do wonder aloud, are the Democrats in congress on some sort of Liberal witch-hunt against the Conservatives in Washington DC?

Now, Please, do not misunderstand what I am saying here, I realize that Bush and Co. have royally screwed up, with the Iraq War, with this idiotic immigration reform proposal and the laundry list of other questionable things that have taken place over the last 6 years. Therefore, before anyone sends me hate mail, I am fully aware of the Attorney General scandal. I think that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales should in fact resign his position. Gonzales, in fact, has compromised the integrity of the Department of Justice because of the politically motivated firings.

However, one must look at the broader picture here, we just had an interim person working at the Dept of Justice withdraw his bid for his position, because he was worried about a Senate fight. Is it getting the point now, where anyone, who is not on the side of the Democrats going to be scared to do anything in Washington DC, for fear that some Liberal clan, carrying torches and swords are going to show up and carry him off to his political death? While I do not agree with every jot and tittle of the Republican Party’s polices, and ideals, I steadfastly refuse to believe that every conservative that walks the face of the planet is inherently evil by some cosmic default. Now if we were referring to a Neo-Conservative, It would be a different story. (That is sarcasm for you simple folk.)

I do hope that the Democrats do not descend into the corruption that the Republicans were guilty of, when they held court in Washington DC. I do truly hope that they do practice the Bipartisanship that the Democrats of old practiced and not become so isolated; that they go into a full bore frontal attack, whenever someone from the other side approaches them to work together on an issue. Above all, I do truly hope that the Democrats do carry out the will of the American people after the election in 2008, and do not cater to the interests of the special interest groups in Washington DC. We need change, not quagmire. I just truly hope that the Democrats can deliver.
Chuck Adkins - Editor - The Populist | Give your feedback on this article.

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