Today’s the day. If you’re an American citizen and haven’t voted yet, please exercise that right in a year when the outcome promises to have real consequences for civil liberties, national security and pocketbooks. If you voted already, thank you for being on top of it.
For those still unsure at this point, I’m not going to comment on the candidates or parties. Instead, I offer this: think of yourself as part of a review committee recommending the finalist for the most powerful and difficult job in the world, and weigh your options accordingly.
The successful candidate for the job must:
- hold a master’s degree or equivalent in political science, law, economics and/or history;
- have a minimum of 15 years of prior professional experience in fields related to the position, with at least five years in a management role;
- demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the U.S. Constitution and court rulings on its application;
- be able to identify the three branches of government, including their powers, responsibilities and limits;
- understand the roles of federal, state and local government and how they interact;
- score at least 90% on a test on major events in United States history;
- score at least 90% on tests of U.S. and world geography, including locations, capitals and key physical features;
- score at least 90% on a test of current world events, including names of heads of state and forms of government;
- have a working knowledge of economic theory and world trade;
- have a working knowledge of the U.S. military, including its assets, protocols and chain of command;
- know the structure, memberships and roles of NATO and the United Nations;
- demonstrate mastery of clear written and spoken communications.
Preferred skills and experience include:
- willingness to listen and show respect to a large, highly diverse and frequently contentious constituency;
- ability to develop policy to address constituents’ needs within the scope of law and budget;
- ability to convert policy concepts into practice through legislation and/or bureaucratic operational changes;
- ability to negotiate and build consensus both internally with Congress and with world leaders;
- ability to recruit, hire and retain highly qualified, eligible individuals for Cabinet posts and other appointed positions;
- ability to pay attention to and understand intricate details of law, policy and public issues;
- ability to apply critical-thinking skills when sifting information and advice;
- ability to address emergencies in a timely, balanced and decisive fashion;
- ability to work amicably with communications professionals;
- ability to exercise self-restraint and respond appropriately when challenged;
- ability to represent the United States with dignity at state functions;
- willingness to divest him- or herself of businesses, investments and other commitments that may create a conflict of interest;
- willingness to work overtime most days with minimal sick leave or vacation time;
- willingness to commit to upholding the rule of law in the United States.
This is the short list, but it’s more than enough for most people. Think it over, then get out there and offer your recommendation. And thanks for exercising your right to vote.