Imagine, if you will, that you have just been awarded a new NFL franchise. One of the big things you have to do, other than coming up with gobs of money, is pick a head coach. So you look around at head coaches, assistant coaches, offensive and defensive coordinators, etc., and develop a short list of perhaps five people.
Your interview process is one question: How popular are you going to be with the fans? Dumb! You will ask lots of questions; do you believe in run and gun offense? Do you think defense is more important than offense? Whom would you pick to be your coaching staff? Assuming the following list of players from an expansion draft, which would you pick and why?
But here we are more than halfway through our Presidential election cycle and we haven’t asked any of the short list candidates about the kind of advisors, assistants, and team they would put together.
Look at some of the bad advisors and team members from the last 50 years: Sherman Adams, Richard Nixon, Bush I, Dick Cheney, Ed Meese, Earl Butz, Halderman and Ehrlichman, John Dean, Oliver North. The list goes on and on; this is just the tip of the iceberg.
But that is exactly how we pick our Presidents. We get the candidates to prove how popular they are with the voters, then nominate them. Almost without exception there has been no input on the candidates for Vice President, let alone for the team members the candidate is contemplating. And I do not for a second believe that McCain, Obama, or Clinton would be telling the truth if they said, prior to the election, “I haven’t given it any thought. I will after I have been nominated.” I wonder if John Kennedy would have won in 1960 had the public known that he was intent on having his brother as Attorney General. On the other hand, he may have won much more handily if the electorate had seen that he did have a team in mind, and not too bad a team at that.
I would like to see one of our three frontrunners be the first to take this step towards giving the voters a look at his or her team-building ability. I wish I could sit there on the podim at the next debate and say to each of the candidates: Who is on your short list for each of the following positons and why? What are their characteristics as people and as managers? What makes you think they can work with one another well at the Cabinet level to ensure that you have the best administration we as voters can ask for?
I don’t want a politician in a poke, I want a team approach to running our government.