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Saturday Column: U.S. needs more quality candidates for public office

The United States is a great country, a world leader in most every category. Critics can point to specific areas where some country may challenge the excellence or leadership of Uncle Sam, but, overall, the U.S. is the best.

Americans have more freedoms, more opportunities, excellent health care and great universities and research centers. The nation enjoys tremendous generosity by its private citizens and can offer fiscal and technical assistance to other countries in times of need. It has a superb military and is a force for freedom throughout the world.

Sure, the U.S. has problems, challenges and strong differences of opinion among its citizens, but it is, indeed, the shining star in the eyes of millions of people living in other parts of the world.

With such a history of leadership and excellence, why is it, in this country of more than 300 million, it seems to be increasingly difficult to encourage good, honest, talented, properly motivated and knowledgeable individuals to be candidates for public office at the local, state or national levels?

These days, this question seems to be raised relative to the four top individuals seeking the U.S. presidency, the world’s most powerful elective office. However, the same question can be asked relative to city commissioners, county commissions, boards of education, mayors, state legislators and governors and members of the U.S. House and Senate.

Are today’s candidates for the presidency the best this country can offer?

• A flawed former U.S. senator and secretary of state, a political insider for 30 years, a very wealthy individual who is identified in public polls as being a liar and untrustworthy.

• A U.S. senator from Vermont, a long-time political insider running for the presidency on a socialist platform.

• A first-term U.S. senator from Texas, a legal scholar with few friends or supporters among his Senate colleagues, a super conservative and a gifted debater.

• A business entrepreneur who has had many successes, as well as failures, who is untested in public office, is self-funding his primary election efforts and has a style and manner that generates strong support, as well as strong dislike.

Are these four candidates the best this country has to offer for the world’s most powerful elected leader? Are they the most qualified, the most respected, most honest, most knowledgeable and best leaders this country has to offer?

A fifth candidate, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a former U.S. House member, who once was considered a long shot, might end up as the GOP’s nominee. So far, he has been able to dodge personal attacks on his character or record as an officeholder.

This writer recently asked a highly respected and successful news executive why more talented and able individuals do not seek public office, specifically the presidency and congressional seats.

His answer:

“Technology, which has transformed our lives, made government people less relevant because they no longer have more information than average citizens who now can get all the information they need or want on their iPhones.

“The result is that fewer people of stature see politics now as a worthwhile profession, which leads to superficial people and debates with mainly name calling, and our two major political parties with little or no influence. And, there is an underlying tide for change in America that our media and most politicians have missed. Establishment and elites talk mainly with people like themselves, while the public moves elsewhere.

“The present day media has now built its business almost entirely on personalities, especially show business people to sell their products in print, on TV and to attract notice on Facebook and the Internet, etc., etc.

“The problem is, none of these media people and politicians know anything about the thoughts and desires of ordinary Americans, and none of them have access to or a desire to pay for the expensive, time-consuming research required to understand American politics today.

“Even the media conveyors of political news themselves are now nothing more than show business-type personalities talking from a script they are handed and who are without any idea of what they are talking about.”

Closing his analysis of the current political scene and why so few talented individuals, men and women who could add so much to government and the betterment of our country, choose to enter politics, he said, “Our only hope is that our brilliant American political system is still, as usual, more important than the political players and that, in the end, ‘the Republic will stand.’”

This thoughtful response should merit the attention of those in the media. There also is the matter of why a talented and able individual would decide to run for a high public office when the media will expose every facet of the person’s life, good and bad, and the family loses any vestige of privacy. Can the desire to be a good citizen and offer public service override the negatives of a highly publicized and costly campaign?

Something needs to be done to encourage more properly motivated and honest men and women to make the sacrifice of serving in public office. The future of our country, to a large degree, depends on the quality of those serving in public offices.

Comments

Paul R Getto

"Politics is the entertainment division of the Military Industrial Complex." It has little or nothing to do with selecting the best candidates. Frank Zappa was right.

1 year, 7 months ago

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James Roper

We clearly do not have "the best democracy that money can buy". Repealing the ruinous Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision would be the best place to start if you mean more qualified candidates representing more flesh and blood citizens. Otherwise, many of the current crop of candidates are doing a great job of representing their benefactors interests. I'm genuinely surprised you don't approve, Dolph.

1 year, 7 months ago

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Darrell Lea

Toute nation a le gouvernement qu'elle mérite.

Joseph de Maistre (1753 – 1821)

1 year, 7 months ago

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Bob Summers

What kind of candidates did you expect of an Obama post-transformation America?

Another Bill Clinton? Another JFK?

Those days for America are over.

America has evolved.

You best be happy with what you got Doph C. Simons JR.

btw. Putin, Jong-un, and Jinping watch the candidates too.

1 year, 7 months ago

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Richard Heckler

IF voters would simply repeal this bogus GOP across the nation would open some doors to better candidates.

The current GOP across the nation has earned space for itself in the dumpsters.

1 year, 7 months ago

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Bob Summers

Feel the burn.

http://www2.ljworld.com/users/photos/...

*While the self-described Democratic socialist said his economic proposals would provide free college, Medicare for all and a slew of other new welfare programs, the cost of the expansion of government is far steeper than he is letting on*.

>Sanders, who has said moving people out of poverty is critical for the success of the country, would tax Americans from top to bottom to carry out his plan. Indeed, with Sanders in the White House, every income bracket – including the lowest bracket – would lose at least 7 percent off what they take home.

http://dailycaller.com/2016/04/17/thi...

1 year, 7 months ago

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Bob Summers

But. Nigh half the population sucks the life out of the other half.

Maybe more Refugee's and *future Americans* from south of the border will pay for Bernie's plan?

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/45-o...

1 year, 7 months ago

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Kendall Simmons

Politics in America have been rife with corruption and incompetence since...well, pretty much since the beginning.

Dolph and his "highly respected and successful news executive" ought to have known this since elementary school.

1 year, 7 months ago

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Richard Heckler

OF COURSE I will vote third party for Bernie Sanders..... absolutely.

Voters GO VOTE - Bernie CANNOT win if WE don't vote.

Hillary and Bill Clinton are not democrats. They are tied to Koch dollars by way of the Democratic Leadership Council which is tied to the American Legislative Exchange Council agenda and platform. Koch funded the Democratic Leadership Council.

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/33...

How the Koch brothers helped dismantle the Democratic Party
https://samsmitharchives.wordpress.co...

Social Responsibility IS NOT Socialism
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/5/...

--- Robin Hood Tax to Fund College Education
http://ourfuture.org/20150519/a-robin...

Bernie Sanders is the candidate that will represent the largest number of voters which encompass moderate republicans,moderate democrats/progressive democrats and Green Party constituents.

NEVER VOTE Democratic Leadership Council Blue Dog democrats …they are NOT democrats. The DLC Blue Dogs are an extension of ALEC.

1 year, 7 months ago

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