Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Godfather Test

Admit it. You probably read the free Parade magazine that comes with your Sunday newspaper. Stuffed in there with the TV Week, the circulars, and the comics, Parade is about as Sunday as church and football games. For me, it's normally the first thing I look at in the morning, especially if the brain isn't yet functioning properly from a successful Saturday night. And let's be honest, it's 20 pages of human interest stories and stuff you probably already knew, but occasionally there are a few decent articles that show up. Today, George Stephanopoulos had a piece in there called "How To Be a Better Voter" which was pretty interesting. It had 6 "tips" for making yourself a more informed voter come November. I particularly liked the second one, "Use the Godfather Test." Stephanopoulos writes:

"Political pollsters love the beer-buddy question—namely, to ask voters which candidate they’d most want to hang out with over a couple of cold ones or a cup of coffee. But I prefer to use the Godfather (or Godmother) Test. What that means: Pick a candidate as if your child’s life depended on it. While liking the politician should be part of your thought process, having a Best Pal in the Oval Office isn’t enough. The decisions made by the next President will help determine whether your children will have to fight in wars, how dependent they’ll be on foreign oil, and whether Medicare and Social Security will be there when they retire. Vote for the candidate who has the competence and character to guide your child—and the country."

That's pretty good advice, George. If I had a dollar for every time I heard "I hate President Bush's policies but I would still have a beer with him"...well, I would have a lot of dollars. And to be honest, I have said it in the past myself, mainly circa pre-spring 2003. But elections are not about drinking beer or picking someone you want to have at your July 4th party, they are about choosing who has the best judgement to lead the country. This is why it was so frustrating to hear all that talk a month or so ago about the "elitism" of Senator Obama.

Anyone who runs for president - let alone becomes one - is an "elitist." Once you hit the national scene and have thousands of people chanting your name at rallies or driving around with your name on their bumper stickers, you have given up your "common man" status, period. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. Being in a position of power does not mean you can't still look out for the public good or connect with everyday people. It just means you do so from a different position within society. So let's take all this elitism talk (whether it's about Obama or McCain or whoever) and send it to sleep with the fishes and Luca Brasi.

To check out Stephanopoulos' other ideas, click here for the article.

No comments: