Looks like our presidential candidates keep flunking their foreign policy exams. Question is, how much do we care?
Weeks ago, Governor George Bush failed a reporter’s pop quiz. He could name the leader of Taiwan but not the leaders of Chechnya, India, or Pakistan. More recently, a reporter tripped up Senator John McCain. McCain couldn’t recall the name of the Prime Minister of Ireland.
Of course, we do want Presidents who are knowledgeable. But they don’t need to be walking almanacs. There are plenty of smart people in the presidential race-even those who don’t quiz so well. But the most important job requirement is strength of character. Yes, that’s right. Character. We voters care about honesty and integrity, and with good reason. Voters know that it makes a difference in times of trouble. Voters are looking for a person of character. To most Americans this means someone outside of Washington, or at least someone battling against the capital’s leaders.
Vice-President Gore has lost so much ground against Bill Bradley, who is viewed as more of an outsider, that Gore moved his campaign headquarters out of Washington, DC to Nashville, Tennessee. Bradley recently chirped, “Only those who have never left Washington have missed the lessons of the last decade.” Maybe it is a good thing if a candidate can rattle off the names of foreign heads of state. But folks really want the next president to know a little bit more about America that is, outside of the Washington Beltway.
This is Common Sense.Â I’m Paul Jacob.