Presidential nomination bullshit


When it comes to finding presidential nominees, we’re doing it wrong.

Here’s what enables you to succeed — that is, to survive — as a presidential nominee in the early going:

  • Ability to create striking soundbites in debates and other forums with no regard for whether they are factually inaccurate.
  • Quick wit in criticizing other people on a stage.
  • Looking good in a suit.
  • Braggadocio regarding how you’ll either “talk tough to,” bomb, or snub leaders of other nations and movements.
  • Ability to generate simulated off-the-cuff answers that have nothing to do with the question asked.
  • Willingness to take money from billionaires knowing that they will demand special treatment from a future president. (Alternatively, being a billionaire with no loyalty other than to one’s self.)
  • Ability to win over ignorant people through advertising, sound bites, and coverage of outrageous statements, thus generating poll results that indicate “electability.”
  • Blind loyalty to a set of party principles dictated by the most extreme elements of one’s party.
  • Expressed intention to ignore rulings of courts, constitutional amendments, and other elements of the legal system at odds with one’s beliefs.
  • Statements about future plans that completely ignore the cost of those programs.
  • Promising that you would be completely unwilling to compromise with those with opposing viewpoints.
  • Stamina combined with the ability to change direction multiple times per day in response to media-created “issues.”

Here’s what it takes to actually govern this country as its chief executive:

  • Ability to hire smart people and take advantage of their expertise.
  • Ability to manage a vast federal bureaucracy with millions of employees.
  • Understanding and acting on actual facts.
  • Ability to lead people with opposing viewpoints to a productive compromise.
  • Willingness to work with world leaders, including those who threaten us.
  • Operating within the rule of law in a system that involves judicial and legislative powers, rather than as an unopposed dictator.
  • Recognition that use of military force often leads in the long term to creating a worse situation than the original problem you were trying to solve.
  • Focusing on an actual budget that balances priorities, costs, and taxes.
  • Ability to explain to the American public that difficult problems require compromise solutions and forbearance, not simplistic pronouncements.
  • Stamina, combined with the ability to concentrate on actual issues long enough to make actual progress.

Is our current process going to get us the person we need? Does anybody other than me see the problem here?

Photo: Chris Carlson, AP.


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  1. Great post.

    Perhaps we should acknowledge one thing about Donald Trump.

    He is a man with no vision, no strategy, no experience, and no content.

    The only thing he has going for himself is that he expresses himself in plain language. He is clear; he is brief; and he isn’t boring.

    I think that is why he is getting traction! Wouldn’t it be amazing if another candidate displayed those qualities plus the qualities you outline above. Perhaps that person (Bernie?) would win the election.

    1. “He is clear; he is brief; and he isn’t boring.”

      LOL! Thank you Louis! The only thing in the whole post about the topic of the blog! Maybe you should do a blog about effective writing and free Josh up for more time with the DNC talking points committee.

  2. I think it is time to give up the pretense of this being a blog about effective writing and just go work for MSNBC and be done with it.

    1. Feel free to give up. I am an equal opportunity critic. Take a look at my critique of Bernie Sanders for example:

      If I criticize Republicans it is because of the way in which they speak. And I will do the same for Democrats.

      There is no pretense. If you feel there is bias, please provide evidence or cogent arguments to that end. Name-calling doesn’t add to the dialogue.