Many perspectives, 1 simple etiquette

OPINION: Running a Business Does Not Qualify You to be President

Author: Trevor Hayes
Created: 18 September, 2015
Updated: 18 October, 2022
4 min read

Being a business mogul has never been a qualification for being the President of the United States. That is because the United States government is not a business. Being able to run a business, grow profits, and expand a company is not synonymous with being able to run a complex federal government that oversees 50 states.

The position of the President of the United States has almost universally been the purview of generals, law experts, and community activists and organizers. In short: people who have experience in governance and truly care about policy.

The CEO of a Fortune 500 company is none of these things. Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina are none of these things, and their debate performance demonstrates that better than anything.

When we begin to evaluate the claims made by these two candidates in particular during the CNN primary debate, the cracks begin to show. Carly Fiorina got big points for her comments on how she would deal with Vladimir Putin because she made specific comments about policy changes she would enact. The only problem is when you look into those claims, what she is really saying is that she would change nothing.

First, she claimed that she would immediately stop talking and negotiating with Putin in any way, and instead start "rebuilding the 6th fleet." This comment reads like it was taken from a Wikipedia article that was not fully understood, because the 6th fleet is a command structure that determines which areas deployed ships are responsible for defending.

If Fiorina had said she wanted to deploy more ships in the Mediterranean, that would be a valid policy consideration, but the unfortunate nature of her words leave her policy shockingly unclear.

Second, Fiorina said she would begin to rebuild the missile defense system in Poland. There is only one problem: there is no point in rebuilding something that never stopped existing in the first place. The United States currently uses the AEGIS ballistic missile defense system located in Poland and it is quite robust.

She then claims she would conduct regular aggressive military exercises in the Baltic states. Strike three. The United States began "aggressive military exercises in the Baltic states" earlier this summer. In fact, she is about 3 months late on this. So in total, Fiorina claims that she will continue doing exactly what President Obama is already doing.

Not exactly a robust policy stance.

And yet, she managed to one up Donald Trump, whose only policy stance on Russia is that he would "get along great with Vladimir Putin." What the American people are supposed to take away from that statement, no one knows, but it's time to recognize that being able to negotiate is not a foreign policy stance.

When pushed on the issue and asked for an answer to the original question beyond simply "reaching out," Trump reiterated his "record" of getting along great with people all over the world, apparently indicating his ability to negotiate deals with foreign leaders in the most complex global political climate this world has ever known -- without any experience.

Amazingly, Trump has somehow made it this far without taking a policy stance on almost any issue.

Hilariously, when visiting his own campaign site, clicking on the "positions" section greets you with one thing: his stance on immigration. That's it. He has no economic policy, he has taken no stance on the military, women's health issues, voter access, student loan debt, equal marriage rights, or any of the other issues that many American voters care about.

Here is the bottom line: Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina are playing to the lowest of low information voters. Candidates who can get by sounding aggressive or playing a persona.

This cycle, the persona du jour is the "Washington Outsider." The only problem with this persona is when it coincides with actual ignorance to the state of world affairs, it means the candidate it woefully unqualified to hold the highest office in the United States.

In the words of Carly Fiorina herself, "[O]ne of the benefits of a presidential campaign is the character, capability, judgement and temperament of every single one of us is revealed, over time, and under pressure. All of us will be revealed, over time, and under pressure."

It would seem that two candidates in particular have just been revealed.

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