Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Letters to the Editor

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Letters to the Editor

Article excerpt

Policies matter more than character (or 'experience')

In response to John Hughes's Sept. 4 Opinion piece, "The 'experience' question: Judgment trumps pedigree": Mr. Hughes says that the principles, character, and common sense of presidential candidates should count in our evaluation, along with policy questions. I suppose so. Yet a highly principled, extremely likable, and accomplished common-sense president with bad policies is still what? A president with bad policies.

No one can predict how the personality of a president will interact with events and the office for good or ill. Trying to do so is a fool's errand.

Better stick to picking the one with the best set of policies for the country.

Theodore S. Arrington Charlotte, N.C.

Professor of political science, University of North Carolina at Charlotte Regarding the recent Opinion piece on candidate experience: I think that it is not just "experience," but, rather, preparation that should be evaluated. As a physician, I understand that before taking on serious responsibility, I had to prepare myself for many years. Ability was not enough, temperament was not enough, brains was not enough, desire was not enough.

John McCain, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden have all spent many years specifically preparing themselves for this challenge. Sarah Palin has not. She cannot, having stated only a month ago that she didn't know what the vice presidential job entailed, demonstrate the preparation that taking on the most important job in the nation would entail. You would not trust a surgeon with only a few weeks of specific preparation for your operation to operate on you, would you?

Rolf Nesse, MD Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

Regarding the recent Opinion piece on "experience": Hughes discusses common sense regarding Harry S. Truman and Ronald Reagan. I wasn't around for President Truman, but from Hughes's description, he was exceptionally well read - might not that account for his success (in hindsight, for he ushered in a long period of Republican dominance) rather than some hypothetical common sense? …

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