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March 10, 2007


Gary L Wilkinson

In "Blsg 18 "R" Us" the author laments the terrible mistakes our country's leadership has made over the past few years. To be sure there have been awful failures and all of us are looking for the kind of leadersip that befits a great democracy. But the problem is - how do we do that? In my career I helped establish and participated in "assessment centers" for senior Federal leaders. We knew it was not foolproof - some of those who were selected went on and failed in their careers. But we did improve the track record and we did have criteria established to pick those who would be assessed. However, we are faced with a situation where the only qualification for being president is that you have to be 35 years old. So what do we look for? The author indicates that "someone who's already done it somewhere" is to be desired. But what is "it" and where is "somewhere"? I imagine you can say governors have done "it" but when you consider that our last two presidents have been governors I say we need to keep looking. Congress has failed miserably in their oversight responsibilites over the last few years so I don't think we can say they have done "it" either. If we analyze the office of the president we realize he/she doesn't run the country - they run the office of the president - and there is a difference. Perhaps character is the most important characteristic we should be evaluating. I'm not sure Lincoln or Kennedy would fare well under the "already done it somewhere" test when they launched their campaigns. There may very well be another Lincoln or Kennedy out there - the problem is recognizing that when we vote. While our current method of assessing candidates is both brutal and mean at times it may be the best way to assess someone's character.

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