Mitt Romney claims that leadership is more important than expertise on topic. “They are looking for judgment, wisdom, willingness to reach out to others, gaining the right information to make choices… Instead of asking who has the most expertise we should be asking who has the most executive leadership experience…. ” Very interesting points.
John McCain says “Maybe we haven’t gotten the best results from choosing Governors…” Another interesting point.
They are both correct, so far as they go with the argument. Romney and McCain go around with each other – that’s what candidates do. But the point is made – what are we looking for in choosing a President?
Expertise is useful. Executive experience is useful. Knowledge is useful. Let’s look at history – who are generally accepted by historians as great Presidents? Washington, John Adams, Jefferson, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman? We’ll stop there for the sake of argument. Had any of these men ever been a Governor of a State? Were any of these men Christian Ministers? Had any of these men served in the Congress? How did their past experience influence their Presidency?
Senators will say they understand best. Governors will claim they have Executive experience. Even Mayors will make this claim.
The best Presidents were men who were intellectual, mature and responsible. They were leaders who were able to make decisions based on what was best for the country rather than what was best for them or their party. They were not interested in personal power. They had firm understandings of the role of government. They worried about the future of the country more than about their personal legacy.
Washington, Adams, and Jefferson were founding fathers who participated in forming this government – one might expect them to have a profound understanding of how the thing was supposed to work. Lincoln came from the State Government of Illinois, a man of legislative experience. Each of the Roosevelt’s were men of extreme personal confidence which translated into the courage of their convictions. Franklin had been a Governor. Truman was the last President who did not graduate from college. Truman drove a horse drawn plow until he was 33 years old, then participated in the military in WWI, as a County Executive, and then in the Senate – he had a fundamental understanding of working class people, of national security, of Executive management, and of the legislator – but his real value was in his personal self confidence. He was comfortable enough with himself to allow George Marshall to rebuild Europe – and for Marshall to get the credit.
Great Presidents have come from all walks of life. It is not about their personal experience – it is about what they have learned from their experience. The Presidency will offer challenges beyond what any of them really imagine – ask George Bush about this. What prepares a man or woman to face those sometimes horrific challenges?
This is an critical time in the history of this great country. I am pretty sure we don’t need someone who just tows a Party Line, or makes decisions based on polls.
Readers: I corrected an error noted in the comments. Thanks – Ohg