My wife Lisa and I were driving to the beach the other day and I had the radio on NPR. After listening to some of the campaign rhetoric for a few minutes, she said, "If this is the caliber of what it takes to be President, then I think I could do it."
As I reflected on other candidates compared to her qualifications I concluded that she should at least be considered for President of the United States.
Lisa is to the Right of Ronald Reagan
First, Lisa is not a Socialist, and so shouldn't be immediately excluded. Certainly not like that Ronald Reagan was when he was in the Screen Actors Guild, and president of the union for the Hollywood Elite. Through a collective bargaining strike Reagan did negotiate money away from the large corporations and have it shared with the people who produced the product. One day we might be able to delete this stain from our Capitalist heritage, but for now we will just have to ignore it. My point here is that Lisa is more than a little bit to the Right of Ronald Reagan and so that should stand as decent conservative credentials.
At the same time Lisa knows about balance. You can't just have a full free for all in the financial markets and let everyone fight each other for their own. Her friend has arthritis since childhood. Her friend's husband's injuries as a vet also creates challenges. Without the disability insurance and VA benefits they would be in dire straits. Sometimes we take a hit and get knocked down. We need each other as a community in this country to help each other up instead of get trampled. Government services are a way to do that, they just need to be done well and efficiently. It is about balance.
Second, Lisa has a really good brain. Certainly having a good brain is not enough or the only requirement. Also important is to have the good sense not to have a need to tell people about it. If Lisa ever did boast about her good brain, she outgrew this need when she was five years old.
Unfortunately, Lisa doesn't have large hands. This seems to be of importance out there on the campaign trail, although the reason for this has been lost on me, and her. In this category she is at a disadvantage. At 5 foot 7 inches, her hands are nicely proportional, and serve her just fine. Probably the nicest thing about her hands is that, combined with her very good brain, she doesn't feel so insecure that there is a need to defend the size of them. More importantly, the fact that she finds these issues absurd is evidence to her having a good brain. However, this good common sense may make her overqualified for some media commentator positions.
Lisa has Traditional Midwest Values
You may want to know about her business background. Some people think this is somehow important, even though President is a public service position. She's done pretty well for herself given that she grew up poor in rural Indiana. Lisa ignored her high school career counselor's recommendation to be a secretary or a nurse as the only options. Aside from studying fashion and design, one of her accomplishments was growing out of a prejudiced mindset that the world put on women.
Lacking a million dollar gift from dad, Lisa worked through school, paying her own way, and advancing in retail positions. Later she became a buyer for a large department store chain and was in charge of getting merchandise into the store that would sell. She seemed to know how to sell things and make money because she kept getting promoted. She didn't sell any steaks, but it seems other candidates didn't either.
Because of her success, Lisa didn't get any bankruptcy experience. Some candidates have had their companies file 4 or 6 times depending on how you count them.
Some people might have figured out to personally profit as they got their company into debt, and then legally walk away leaving bond and stock holders with the collapse. That's why when they are asked about their bankruptcies they never talk about it as a failure. They often mention that they did quite well. They fail to mention the impact of losses to investors and stock holders. Lisa hasn't figured that out, but then again, she wouldn't want to learn how to do that to other people. I think it also speaks to her character. Character may not be taught in business school, but she learned it anyways.
Lisa would also be the candidate for change. While on buying trips to New York she began to become a nervous flyer. Fear doesn't sit well with Lisa. Her motto about fear is, "Get it before it gets you." With her willingness to attack fear, and always willing to learn from others, Lisa decided to get some flying lessons. She figured that if she knew more about what was going on she wouldn't get nervous. At 30 years old, a personal growth task turned into a passion. Today she's the chief pilot and manages a private jet for a private owner.
I think the ability to make life and death decisions at 500 miles an hour should count as something. Practicing engine loss on take offs in the simulator also carries over to other areas. Lisa is not likely to get thrown into tilt if someone makes a negative tweet.
Government Provides Solutions As Well
While used to getting things done at 500 miles an hour, Lisa hates red tape. Skillful with a scissors from her fashions studies, I have no doubt that Lisa would be cutting a lot of red tape. Lisa is a fan of less government, when possible. Again always, about balance with her. I know Lisa doesn't like those FAA exams and check rides they make her take. They are stressful. However, she sure does like the feeling of getting on any commercial flight knowing that the pilots in the cockpit (a pretty sexist term she will tell you) had to do the same level of training to fly her.
Lisa might also be impatient with the county inspector that comes out to count the number of nails in a sheet of roofing plywood to make sure it is installed correctly. At the same time she is grateful that when she goes to buy a house, the inspector made sure that roof was installed correctly, and won't fly off in a big wind the first winter after she buys it. Lisa knows that what you pay for with your taxes costs you something, but that you also get something for that money, like roads, fire protection, defense, and help when you might need it in a disaster. So that idea about getting rid of all the red tape might be going too far. She will want to cut the wasteful stuff she can find with a skillful scissors, but she will want to keep the stuff that helps people stay safe and prosper. Not enough financial oversight and regulation leads to collapse of big banks. Just like not enough of the right rebar steel in the concrete and your foundation will crumble. It's good to have some kind of government agency somewhere looking after things like that. If you can't see that there are benefits to what your government can do with money then you may need an eye test.
How to Give Everyone a Fair and Safe Opportunity.
I don't think you will find Lisa saying that the solution to sexual harassment is just for women to go get another job. When you are 20, putting yourself through school working at a retail store that isn't always an option. When the manager presses a woman up against the shelves of the stockroom and tries to get personal benefits when he isn't providing any real benefits to her you don't have a lot of negotiating leverage. With $20 to make it to the end of the week for food and bus fare you can't afford to just quit. Even the option to go tell someone in the HR department doesn't work if there isn't an HR department because there are only 12 employees. Lisa understands the importance of having a legal system on your side when the unfairness of corporate or personal power is being abused. Government regulations are supposed to help with that balance and fairness.
Lisa is fair. These days, if another pilot engages in some good sexual humor in the workplace Lisa is going to laugh, although not so much on the outside, her dry wit doesn't have room for that, but on the inside she will laugh and appreciate it. Then in a there will likely be razor fast reply and innuendo three layers deep tossed back his way. I think this quality of humor is missing with some candidates. It's too dark with sarcasm and criticism out there and I'd like to see her clever wit instead.
And if the sexual joking goes too far, if it goes into inappropriate with someone Lisa works with, she will talk with them in a reasonable way. Lisa is fair like that. If that doesn't work, then like a good boss that she is, she will fire him. That's not an option she had when she was 20 and the power of a boss wasn't checked and balanced with the law. Of course if you are the head of a news corporation you don't have to be fair and balanced in this regard either.
The American Success Story isn't measured by Success
Lisa also has some good real estate skills. She's making money in that business too. This has left her without that valuable bankruptcy experience mentioned earlier. She didn't have a dad hand her a check for a million dollars when she graduated school and say, "Go start your business." This seems to be the way most wealthy people get wealthy. They get it handed to them from their family. I think it is hard to judge someone's good business judgment if they had it handed to them. I trust Lisa's judgment because she built it herself. I think she would have a lot more if her family handed her $400 million at some point, but we shouldn't be electing someone based on how much their parents had accumulated and handed over as a head start. I think character and work ethic are more important in these areas.
I think that a person that starts from nothing and builds it into something is also more of the American story, and dream that people identify with. Most of us don't start out with a lot, and we have to work for it. In that way we value having a home, food on the table, and our family and friends as support all the more for it. It's that kind of value system that makes us strong as a culture, as a country, and as an economic force that will help more than anything that is dressed up with gold plating.
Lisa also supports small business. On those real estate properties we have to occasionally hire a plumber, or electrician, or a contractor. She always makes sure they get paid. Yes, she could make more money if she reneged on the contract or made the contractor go to court to get what they earned. I think the lack of any lawsuits against her is an indication that she is a good and fair person to work for and with. Small businesses have always gotten a fair deal, not a corrupt one, and I think that is a good track record to have. This is something to look into when you consider your candidate. We have to do more than pursue our own dreams, we should help others achieve theirs, or at least not make it harder. I don't know that all the other candidates can say this.
Pro Choice or Pro Life? Women don't get to Cut Men
Then there is that one question that some people always want to know about a major candidate: "Are you pro-choice or pro-life?" Lisa is going to support a person's right to choose. A woman should have a right about what she does with her body. "Women don't get to vote on whether grown men get circumcised. If men are willing to let women vote on what doctors should surgically to men's bodies, then we can have a discussion. Until then men should stay out of women's bodies unless they are invited. When the government takes such a personal freedom away, or even makes it difficult, we are on the wrong path."
Lisa is clear on this. Not like some of those candidates that seem to contradict themselves month to month.
I Respect Her More than some of the Other Candidates
I like her clarity. I respect her. I think she makes a lot more sense, and has more real life experience to draw on then some of the candidates out there. If you grow up in the household of a multimillionaire you don't know what real life is like for people. You can't grasp their challenges and day to day concerns when you never had any of your own.
Lisa is also a really nice person. If you are running for office, and you have lost most of your friends in the party by the time of the election, then something is intrinsically wrong. I think that is important because if we are going to really get along as one country, then we all need to practice being nice to each other, especially the people we don't agree with, and she is a great example for that. You can be firm, have boundaries, and still be respectful and kind. These are some of the reasons why I believe my wife Lisa should be considered for President.