v'ܩ Leader or a Lawmaker?
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Leader or a Lawmaker?

October 26th, 2008

I find it interesting the large percentage of presidential campaigning, all executive branch campaigning for that matter, that is centered around the long drawn out policy ideals of the candidates. Guess what? Their policies don’t matter.

When we vote for the next president over the next few weeks most of us will be considering all of the policy ideas the candidates have proposed and measuring whether or not these policies correspond well with our own particular belief set. There is some value in this. The next president will likely have the opportunity to appoint two new supreme court justices and possibly change the alignment of the court. We also know that a president may veto any policies they disagree with. The President will decide the budget and his own personal views will certainly play a large part in this. And thats it for domestic policy. Oh, the president can apply pressure to his party members to ‘encourage’ them to introduce his bills for him and also vote his way on various bills - but they can easily ignore him, a problem G.W. has had. Foreign policy is a different issue, as chief diplomat of the united states the president has significantly more power there.

The point is this,  why does it matter so much what any presidential candidate says he will do, fix, or change when most of these things he simply has no power over? Because it is hard to measure someone’s character and good judgment. Their policies provide us with a way to look at a candidate and say, “These guys came to the same conclusion as me, I have good reasoning skills, so they must have good reasoning skills”. While this is a fairly obvious logical fallacy this is the thinking people follow every day. We don’t consider whether or not our decision making abilities are actually good, “Well, I did decide to get piss drunk at that company Christmas party last year”. We also struggle with separating a candidates true reasons, thoughts, and policy ideas from the content they are spoon fed from their party members, both politicians and civilians.

We need a way around this. As voting American’s we have to search out and demand some metric by which to determine the quality of our candidates thinking, reasoning, and leadership. We aren’t hiring another legislator, the president will not be taking on the title of “Head Legislator” (Unless of course he convinces congress to change the name of his office). The president must be a leader so we need more ways to measure his leadership capabilities. A friend of mine recently told me that one of the only, and best, methods we currently have for measuring a candidates leadership abilities is by how he runs his campaign. What this says to me is “We will know who is the better leader by who can convince the most people to vote for him”. This just sounds to me like a lot of people jumping on the winners bandwagon late in the game.

I propose formal unscripted debates between the candidates. We give them a series of topics and make them develop positions on these topics without access to any staff members. We than allow them to present their positions and the REASONING for their positions. They will each go then they will have 5 minutes to discuss any points of contention amongst themselves and why the other fellows reasoning is wrong, we encourage the contestants to use research they performed during the preparation time to dispute their opponents claims. A bit like a high school debate.

Or maybe we just use one of those online personality tests, either of these two options will be better than what we have now.