Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Do the Candidates Have What it Takes?

The 2008 presidential elections is shaping up to be an exciting race. As the candidates try to sell themselves to the American people as the best person for the job of President of the United States, one question comes to mind: What exactly qualifies someone to be president?
Throughout this campaign, Obama has been painted as lacking in experience. On the other side, recent comments have been made by retired Gen. Wesley Clark, foreign policy adviser to the Obama campaign, questioning whether McCain's military service and horrendous war experiences qualify him for the job.
What do the American people want? Well, we don't really know. We say that we want someone who shares our values and can relate to our everyday problems; an every day joe, if you will. Yet, we want someone with "experience." The American media criticized Obama for being an "elite," accusing him of being out of touch with the average American. Yet, we must understand that to reach this point in one's political career, you have reached the point of a "political elite." McCain is just as an elite as the next guy or gal running for president. Being an elite means that you are knowledgeable and qualified. Is this a bad thing? That depends on whether you want someone qualified for the job of leader of the free world or someone who is just like you.
Criticisms of both candidates for flip-flopping have also inevitably come about: McCain on issues such as immigration, and Obama on issues such as public campaign finance. Americans want a president who is steadfast in her or his beliefs, right? Well, President Bush is pretty steadfast in his beliefs, I would say. He "sticks to his guns" at every turn, especially the war in Iraq, and yet he has a fairly low approval rating. When a politician changes her or his mind, does that make him or her untrustworthy? Probably not. It is human nature for people to change their minds; it helps us grow as intellectuals. Would it be better if the candidate never took any other opinion than his or her own into consideration? With such a variety of viewpoints in our diverse nation, it probably would be better for our leader to be open to new ideas.
So, what does it take to be president? Is it being an average American with steadfast ideals, or is it being knowledgeable and qualified with an openness to grow? America may never know...


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