By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
There is an old quiz about, “Who do you think would make the best president?”
It goes like this: Candidate one is a known womanizer, smokes and drinks at least five martinis a day. Candidate two is constantly in debt, drinks a pint of Brandy before he goes to bed at night and was expelled from school for cheating on exams. Oh yes, and he smokes cigars constantly. Candidate three is a military veteran, is very health conscious, does not smoke, exercises regularly, is very patriotic and is a one-woman man.
Of the three who would be best suited to be president?
In deciding on a president or any public servant character matters, personal responsibility matters, what one does in their private life does matter. When it comes to public service ability, experience and wisdom matter as well. I have heard it said that the American public wants a president that they would like to have a beer or dinner with. I find this laughable if not utterly absurd. I want a president who is too smart to have a beer or dinner with me. Someone who, for lack of a better word, is better than me. Likability is an overrated virtue. I don’t want to like the president. I want to respect their ability to think rationally, understand the situation of domestic and foreign affairs, execute the office with wisdom and to govern with all Americans in mind rather than one party or another.
In other words, someone who is up for the job!
Yet for the last 12 years it seems our presidents have been in dire need of remedial lessons on history, warfare and debt.
For over a decade the greatest nation on earth has been led by amateurs, one supposedly likable and other inspirational. The lack of experience by both Bush and Obama put the nation on a dangerous course but the people like them.
No one in their right mind goes to an auto mechanic for open heart surgery.
No matter how affable, the mechanic’s ability with a torque wrench will not translate into a successful heart transplant.
Presidents are people and as anyone who has a brain in their head knows, people are flawed. Any doubts look in the mirror. We tell our kids that anyone can grow up to be president. While that may be true in theory, out of the millions and millions who have lived and died in our republic, only 44 of our citizens have held office of president. Of the 44 we have had good ones, bad ones, mean ones, lazy ones, imperialist, populist, crooks and more than a few liars, and all in all the country has survived.
However, our nation’s current situation looks as dire as I can ever remember and yet there is always hope.
Sadly, a trip to Wal-Mart leaves one questioning the wisdom of a democracy.
In these turbulent times, we need more than a drinking buddy or a dinner guest.
So, when we hang out the help wanted sign at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., we need to focus on ability and not likability, expertise and not single issues and pray we the people choose wisely.
Oh, as for the three candidates above, the first was Franklin D. Roosevelt, the second was Winston Churchill and the third was Adolph Hitler. Who got your vote?