No #2 pencils allowed

no pencil allowedThe rumbling, bumbling, stumbling of the GOP frontrunner has once again prodded me to take keyboard in hands and (reluctantly) devote another blog post to this year’s presidential election.

 

The test for becoming the President of the United States is long and grueling. There’s a written part and an oral part. Failing either part (usually) disqualifies you for the final interview.

Still, while more taxing than any other job interview, there are opportunities built into the process that makes it more than fair for any candidate.

Most importantly, the job process gives you plenty of chances to study before each test.

History will show there are occasional statistical outliers who can pass True-False or even multiple choice tests by sheer guessing or gut feelings. History rarely shows someone who can graduate trying to pass all tests that way.

After watching the GOP frontrunner during the past few weeks of his media exposure, there is a conviction that he is not studying before his exams.

In his most damaging recent misstep, he appeared to be making his mind up on a critical policy issue in the few seconds after a question was asked.

Many people want to give him credit for making himself available for so many media questions and appearances. Others take the media to task for “basking” him in the spotlight so often. Neither is the real problem.

The issue for the GOP frontrunner is that his “plain-speaking” often comes off as uninformed. It’s okay to admire him as genuine and applaud that he is not “Washington smooth”, but he is running (more importantly, leading) in the race to be President of the United States.

That position bears a responsibility for the words that come out of the office and the guiding thoughts behind them. It is not “political correctness” to carefully consider the impact of your words if your job title is “Most Powerful Man in the World”.

That consideration is called diplomacy. It’s called being responsible. It’s called promoting a set of values that we all aspire to, if not always attain.

Americans may wink and shrug at campaign “theatrics”; the rest of the world reacts with more unease. As the frontrunner for one party’s presidential nomination, those nations closely read and listen to statements that are made by him.

When it comes to the position of leader of the free world, you don’t get a rubber eraser to make the effects of misstatements or misinformation go away.

The application for President of the United States is filled out in ink. No #2 pencils allowed.

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