Friday, June 27, 2008

George Stephanopoulos and the Godfather Test

There's a cool article written by George Stephanopoulos about voting in America. I think he makes several good points about how to pick the best president that work for conservatives and liberals and all those who fall in between. I especially like his defense of the flip-flop, with his historical example of Thomas Jefferson and the Louisiana Purchase. But what I liked the best was his advocacy of the Godfather test. When I first opened the article, I was almost afraid it was going to be an homage to The Godfather, the film.

Instead, George suggests switching our criteria for president from "guy (or girl) we would most want to drink with" to "guy (or girl) we would entrust our children to". Sometimes they are the same person. It is hard to give your child's welfare over to someone you don't like. But what confounds me is the amount of people who vote for the candidate they find most personable or most like them. I knew someone in college who voted for George W. Bush because W. wasn't a good public speaker and neither was this particular student. That line of reasoning seemed stupid then and has only continued to cement itself as particularly idiotic in my mind. People who vote for president based on whether they would want them for a neighbor or drinking buddy confound me because as much as I love my drinking buddies (and like my neighbor), I would never want them to be president. Because of that, I hope that Stephanopoulos' test is widely accepted as the better criteria.

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