I Want a Politician Like Me, Only Smarter, Wiser, Able to Leap Across the Aisle…..

January 2009.

One of the topics rallied about last week on The View was why Sarah Palin was on a “why is everyone picking on me” media tour.  Whoopi suggested that despite Palin’s popularity in various circles, some people prefer their candidates to sound like them. I would be one of those people.

Unlike Sarah Palin, I never wink at my audience. I prefer my orator not use cute colloquiums to sell serious subjects like war, the economy, civil rights and who will get us out of the recession. Cute expressions in the context of convincing others should be left for cocktail conversations or less weighty forums.

As women continue to make headway in public and prominent positions, it’s no longer necessary, in my opinion, to be “as good as or better” than a man, it’s about being better than the competition, your opponent, the person in line for your job.

Regardless of gender, when someone wants to convince me of something I’m more apt to listen to assertive, genuine straight talk, which I admit Palin has had plenty. I could however, pass on her “say it isn’t so-isms,” soccer mom push and general lack of federal experience.

Not that Palin’s package or persona is wrong it’s just wrong for me. It’s not what pushes my voting button, (okay that and her politics). Had Hillary winked and used cute to sell her platform, I would have been equally turned off, if not more so.  Winking is not Hillary’s style, which is why some people don’t like her, and one of the many reasons I do.

Appearing intelligent matters more on my tally sheet than if the candidate mirrors my demographic. Because the fact is these people are not just like me, they’re only similar. We might both be parents, women, hard-working, struggling, and so on.  But unlike me, they’re  probably a lawyer, Senator, former First Lady, Governor, or some other prominent position.

At her confirmation hearing, Hillary threw out the term “Smart Power” to describe how the U.S. should wield their power in the global playing field.  This term could also mean that if a politician wants our vote and to inherit power, they need to be smart and appear smart.

Another View host mentioned that although we tell our kids that “anyone can be president” we harp on Sarah’s inexperience.  I do agree everyone does deserve the right to try for the top job, but not everyone should. Only the smartest, hardest working, head of class, most noble, most wise, most ethical (I can dream), most proven, should bother. I may border on sounding elitist, but I do expect only the best candidates even consider running for the top jobs.

In our growing attempts to be politically correct, let us not forget that we should demand excellence from our elected officials, regardless of their gender or race. Inherent in the definition of excellence should be a leader’s ability to communicate effectively to a melting pot of audiences at the same time. This seems nearly impossible. But what better represents a melting pot of audiences than the entire nation during a debate or high profile interview (ie. Katie Couric).

I don’t want politicians to talk above, below or around me. I don’t want cute expressions thrown out that make it appear we’re having a casual chit chat about global warfare. This is serious stuff. “My friends” and “you betcha” don’t do it for me. I understand we need to grasp the issues in order to vote, to see likeability, to share the same values, ideals, concerns and action plan, but the same “I’m just like you” persona?

I’m quite sure most folks don’t live the Bush lifestyle and we’ve elected two of them so far. So soccer mom or not (and I’d qualify as one) if you’re selling something I don’t want, in a package that doesn’t speak my language, you will not get my support.

I need all my elected officials to be better, smarter, faster — able to leap Congress in a single bound. They don’t need to be superhuman, super cute or super aggressive. They need to be super smart, super ethical, super experienced, super communicators, and super effective.

They must talk to me like they talk to Congress, only in simpler terms because I don’t work for the House or Senate. They need to avoid winking or throwing out “say it isn’t so Nancy Pelosi” lines while presenting a weighty issue. My candidate has to mirror what I am, what I want to be, and what I strive to be. They must be me, only much, much smarter.



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