Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Often the best solution to a quandary is a simple idea that
is so obvious that most of us miss it.

With an open race for president coming in only two years,
no incumbent running, perhaps the simple but invaluably
best criterion for either party is to select as their nominee
someone who is “good at governing.”

We have currently in the White House someone with no
prior experience at governing, and look at the mess we’re in.

Our best modern presidents have been successful governors
of states --- Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin
Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, and although they are today
controversial, I also include Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
Occasionally, someone with no real governing experience
turns out to be exceptional, Harry Truman comes to mind,
but they are very much the exception.

Being a governor, of course, isn’t enough by itself. Jimmy
Carter was a governor, and he’s among the very worst modern

For the Democrats, the frontrunning candidate for president
has little real governing experience. Hillary Clinton was first
lady, then a U.S. senator, then U.S. secretary of state. The latter
was in part a management position. Mark Warner is now a U.S.
senator, but was previously governor of Virginia, and before
that, a very successful entrepreneur and corporate president.
Andrew Cuomo is the governor of one of the largest states, and
before that, he managed, as cabinet secretary, one of the largest
U.S. departments. Brian Schweitzer was a two-term governor of
Montana, and before that, a businessman and developer. Joe
Biden has been a legislator most of his adult life, and has
virtually no governing management experience.

For the Republicans, the two leading candidates either are
(Chris Christie) or were (Jeb Bush) governors of major states.
Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz are U.S. senators with little or
no executive or governing experience. Paul Ryan is a congressman.
Susana Martinez, John Kasich, Bobby Jindal, Mike Huckabee and
Rick Perry, on the other hand, are or were successful governors.

Of course, many factors go into a voter’s choice for president,
and personality is one of the major ones. A candidate’s “story”
or their biography is another. Being first, that is, the first Catholic
or Jew, the first black person or Hispanic, the first woman, to be
president is another. Good public speakers attract voters. But the
most valuable quality of a future president, I suggest, might well
be the skill of being “good at governing.”

After all, that is what being president of the United States,
purported to be the toughest job in the free world, is truly all about,
isn't it?

Copyright (c) 2014 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

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