Our national political conventions have thankfully come to a close. The spin, outright distortions and personal attacks energized the delegates. It was a sad commentary on our political system and those on hand in Tampa and Charlotte and encouraged by the pathetic media coverage of the events.
The agendas of the speakers were so blatantly obvious. Not one important speech was written only to support a candidate. Chris Christie wants to be president; and Michelle Obama appears to moving in the direction of a predecessor, Hillary Clinton. Both sucked up the limelight and, frankly, sounded more like candidates than supporters; it was not difficult to look past the rants and the tears. Bill Clinton, who wowed the crowd, could barely resist the opportunity to talk about his legacy. In fairness, many of the presentations were superlative, but the objectives of the speakers were suspect from my vantagepoint.
The biggest losers were voters who wanted the candidates to tell them how they would get our economy back on track and protect our way of life. Rather, all we heard were vicious personal attacks and touchy-feely claptrap about the sensitivity of the candidates.
The conventions were a colossal waste of time and money and the voters should now be looking forward to the debates when each candidate will be forced by moderators to answer questions about their vision for America.
Nevertheless, I am very concerned about what the voters might be thinking about when they go to the polls and would like to offer 11 suggestions to them.
1. Scripted speeches.
If the elections were based upon the most entertaining speeches, the Democrats would win hands down. But, the gift of gab is not necessarily reflective of a candidate’s ability to govern. Previous successes and failures are more important than flowery oration. The past four years proves this point definitively.
Campaigns and speeches are chock full of promises. Candidates say what the voters want to hear. Just remember, if a candidate disappoints you once, he will do it again if reelected.
3. Opponent bashing.
If an incumbent candidate’s only effective campaign strategy is to demean his opponent, he is probably trying to cover up his own anemic performance.
4. Leadership under adversity.
Any two-bit politician can govern when things are going well. The candidates who have a history of fixing big problems are the ones we should elect.
5. Respect for all Americans.
Candidates who demonize groups of Americans are dangerous and should be shunned. Rich and poor people and those of all colors and religions deserve the protection, and not the scorn, of our leaders. Populism looks very much like bigotry if taken to an extreme. No group that abides by the law deserves to be ridiculed and used as a campaign whipping boy.
It is virtually impossible for any candidate to have experience in every issue that may surface while he is president. But, Americans should not let emotion and /or personality overwhelm the importance of electing qualified candidates.
7. Business background is important.
Although Americans would like to believe that business is only a small part of government and our lives, it is totally untrue. The housing crisis, large corporate failures and the like had a huge impact on average Americans in recent years. We should actively seek out candidates who have substantive business experience.
8. Listen to Americans.
For the last four years, our government officials did not listen to America. We want more jobs, an end to wars that kill our young people and waste our resources and comity in Washington. All these things have been elusive. Our leaders are beholding us, not their parties or their personal agendas.
Endlessly, Americans hear from politicians that someone else is responsible for our problems. It is time to end this outrageous tradition. If you are elected president, you are responsible from the moment you take office for all that ails America.
10. American traditions and institutions.
Beware of politicians who want to change the building blocks of our country. America is great because we are free; we are capitalists; we support our allies; we fight bigotry and injustice; etc. Anyone who is anti-American should not hold office.
The importance of legacy to many of our leaders has grown to epic proportions. The presidential library, the history books and the future benefits of serving have become too influential on current decisions. Our leaders must govern and legislate now and deal with retirement after they leave office.