One has to wonder, with Herman Cain now withdrawn from the presidential race due to his drop in the polls and the excessive media coverage over several sexual allegations and scandals, can any of the prominent figures in government stand up to the trust and expectations of the American public? Cain’s support seems to have drifted over to Newt Gingrich who was criticized early in his campaign for actions in his personal and public life. Is all that now to be overlooked or will he now become the target for personal flaws?
Is there no one person let alone two candidates the public can agree has the undeniable right stuff and are able to stand up to the intense public scrutiny to lead this nation to a more stable economy and guide it through the ever changing world events? Do we really know, beyond seer perfection, what we expect from the individuals we place in the nation’s highest office?
When we look back over our past leaders few presidencies were without flaws both privately and professionally. From George Washington forward we’ve come to understand that our leaders are human with faults and short comings. Despite our desire to see them reach perfection the reality is none can truly measure up as the ideal candidate.
In this era of constant media surveillance, smart phone journalism and political spin masters is it any wonder we should be surprised or disappointed when these candidates fall short of the super-human demands we expect of them?
Is it too much to ask of our leaders that they be truthful, honest, hard working, fair, faithful, intelligent, loyal, god-fearing, respectable, even tempered, kind, understanding, tough and well spoken? Is it too much to ask a leader to not have a past criminal record, bankruptcy, sexual indiscretion, or harassment charge and above all not be egotistical or self centered while possessing a basic common sense that allows them to reach across political parties to solve the nation’s problems? Well that would depend on who you speak with, but it really shouldn’t be that much of a stretch to expect these individuals to be of solid character. But if you think about it and realize our most successful president in recent history was an actor it brings things into perspective. It may be far easier to play the role of a president than actually be one. President Reagan had his faults but he was able to lead the nation successfully. How much of what he accomplished was borne out of acting the role history will be the judge over time.
President Obama has proven to be the type of president many thought he was, which was an inexperienced community organizer who lacked the executive skills to lead the country out of a struggling economy. Many hoped his promises, charismatic charm and political savvy would create another Camelot era in the country. Combine that with the feel good, lofty thoughts of placing a black man in the office as somehow making up for the way his race had been treated in the past would create a story book administration as only Hollywood could write. Unfortunately, that has not come to pass. Today we blame the man for everything that has gone wrong in the past three years and aside from his most staunch supporters, even criticize the few things that have gone right. With an approval rating that is one of the lowest ever recorded, President Obama’s best chance at a second term rests in the unknown facts surrounding the republican nominee that might derail their candidacy in the same way it did Cain’s untimely departure.
But who is really to blame when any of these candidates fail to meet the high standards we’ve come to expect? Is the fault all theirs or do we share the blame for trying to make these men and women something they can not possibly be…. perfect in every aspect of their lives both personal and professional. Youthful indiscretions, poor decisions, hidden details, a dark side, criminal activity, a closet full of skeletons, or affiliations we deem unacceptable. Who can predict what fortunes or misfortunes await us in the next year as the presidential sweepstakes plays out again? But do these unattainable standards rest with the public or is it the media that takes an issue and blows it up beyond proportion. Americans gravitate to perceived winners and we are quick to jump onto and then back off the bandwagons based on the attention given by the media outlets. Like a scab, that we just won’t let heal, we continue to pick at it until it become far worse than when it started out.
Our collective logic over the years has been if you can’t be trusted in your private life how can we trust you in the public arena. Yet President Clinton, despite his private flaws, proved he could compartmentalize the issues and served very effectively as the leader of the country. In the end we must decide what is the more important; a flawed candidate who can lead the country back to prosperity or selecting a candidate who appears near perfect and says the right things but is unable to address the wide array of issues affecting the nation. Is the election about the person, the job performance or the party? As is the case every four years, if nothing else, it’s always entertaining, but in 2012 we need to look beyond the feel good beauty contest and hire a leader who can solve the many issues affecting our country.