by Mark Davis
Election season is one of my favorite times. All things seem right with the world. Politicians are in full demagogue mode, promising everything to everyone. Saturday Night Live is actually worth watching, and somebody always says something stupid that we all know will doom his or her presidential aspirations. The hard part, of course, is actually picking which of these ultimately disappointing candidates is worthy of your vote. So allow me to outline the criteria I use when picking a candidate: What is good for business is good for America. I suppose a strong national defense is important too since, well, nobody else in the western world has an army.
First is the most important question: Who is actually running? Honorable mentions have to go to Governor Chris Christie and Sarah Palin for being the candidates everyone thinks are running but aren’t. The real candidates, however, consist of a pizza magnate who has never held political office, a governor who has never worked in business, a businessman who is also a governor, a woman who likes to spew things someone else told her, and a libertarian with a cult-like following. Yes, there are a few more but, let’s face it, though they are better candidates than Michele Bachmann, they aren’t going to get elected.
I suppose that is a good place to start. Bachmann, the woman mentioned earlier, is not worth voting for. To make this simple, there is one major reason: the debt deal in August. Bachmann voted against every bill that would raise the debt ceiling, even the very last one when it was too late to write a new plan. All one needs to do is ask the simple question: What would have happened if the rest of congress voted with her?The answer is that without any further spending, our country would default on its debt payments, which it had already accrued, and it would be up to President Obama to make the necessary cuts. The truth is, Bachmann’s vote was largely a symbolic one due to a widespread misconception of what the debt ceiling is. Any congressman (or congresswoman, as the case may be) who votes based upon a populist misconception, is missing the purpose of a representative democracy and is not qualified to be our president.
Ron Paul, the object of an almost cult-like following, has one very important thing going for him: consistency. Paul is possibly the only man running for president who does not promise to be a complete demagogue. Paul has two problems, in my opinion, and neither one has to do with business. Honestly, Paul would probably be very good for business, but even if his strong following wins him the nomination, Paul will be very hard-pressed to win the general election against Barack Obama. The second reason is that America is no longer in the 19th century. Isolationism is no longer an option. America is a superpower whether we choose to admit it or not, and changing the presence of our military and economic standing in the world will not help any country, not even the United States.
The pizza magnate, Herman Cain, would be an excellent candidate for president if he had more understanding of foreign affairs. The most significant of Cain’s business experiences was his tenure as CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, but such a characterization hardly does justice to his career. Cain served as an analyst for Coca-Cola, a manager for Burger King, chairman of the board for both the federal reserve bank of Kansas and The National Restaurant Association, not to mention his service as an officer in the Navy. Every one of Cain’s business ventures has met with success, and he manages to display a noteworthy understanding of how the American people really make a living (Hint: not because of government hand-outs). Cain’s downfall is in his misunderstanding of foreign affairs. When asked at a presidential debate what he thought of the Palestinian right of return, he did not know what it was. This is a worrying deficiency for a man who would lead the most powerful military in the world.
Mitt Romney is my favorite candidate for a number of reasons. Foremost among these is his experience in business as the founder and CEO of Bain Capital, as well as his position as a corporate level officer for Bain and Company. Furthermore, Romney is the only CEO of any Olympic Organizing Committee to have actually turned a profit for the city in which the games were held. Unlike Herman Cain, Romney also has served as governor of Massachusetts for one term. His political experience may not seem like much, but it is essential experience that is characteristic of a man who has other things worth doing. Romney’s business experience shows that he is capable of understanding what really makes America run, while his political experience gives him much needed insight into leading the legislative process. Among Republican candidates, Romney is clearly the most qualified choice.