What Kind of President Do We Want?

Mon, July 16, 2007


In know that’s a really broad question, but it’s been one that’s been heavily on my mind with the news reports of the White House trying (and it looks like they will be successful) to put the kibosh on funding for health insurance for children whose parents can’t afford it.

There’s just a real disconnect when the leader of the free world says, according to a New York Times op-ed that, “being without health insurance is no big deal.”

” ‘ After all, you just go to an emergency room,’ ” is the quote from President Bush Paul Krugman uses in his column today. (Again, it’s behind the Times Select firewall).

This is clearly the attitude of someone who has grown up with privilege and entitlement. I know he tries to play the part of a man of the people, but no matter how often he dons the western shirts, the ten-gallon hat and the cowboy boots, I suspect there was never a time he had to decide whether he could afford to have his children see a doctor.

Think how differently decisions would be made in Washington if more of our representatives, and the President, had to worry about whether they had enough money for a well-baby visit or whether their sons and daughters looked at the military as their only option for funding college.

As the daughter of farmers, I thought long and hard (granted, it was decades ago) about whether it would make sense to spend a few years in the military to earn some money for the college education I was determined to get.

As college students, I’m sure that Barbara and Jenna didn’t have to decide how to finance tuition, books and some meager health insurance policy.

I did.

And can you imagine what recent Supreme Court decisions would have looked like if any of the Justices in the majority on privacy and discrimination cases had daughters who had ever faced an unwanted pregnancy or learned they had been cheated out of a fair salary just because of their gender?

While it’s obviously important to me to hear what all the candidates have to say about issues, maybe it’s time to dig a little deeper and learn about their roots.

Who grew up with the silver spoon? For the candidates who attended Ivy League schools, did they get in with the help of family connections or did they have to work for it? Do any of them really know what it’s like for families to have to choose who gets health care?

Presidential candidates who have lived lives that more closely resemble the day-to-day lives of most voters could bring an amazing new perspective to this country.

Is one out there?

Also, I’m still thinking about the Pew Research study on working mothers over at PunditMom’s Spin Cycle!

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16 Responses to “What Kind of President Do We Want?”

  1. Becky68 Says:

    Oh so true! Very well put, I still remember when that fool’s father was in office & was so amazed at the scanners in a grocery store he visited!
    I often wonder if many of the dyed in the wool Republicans who live around me, (I’m a liberal in Southwest VA) really realize how far away from their own lives those whom they choose to represent them really are.

  2. Mrs. Chicky Says:

    Well said, friend. It bothers me when the haves, those who have never suffered for anything, get to make the decisions for the have nots. When they walk a mile in my shoes then I’ll feel comfortable with my elected officials deciding what’s right and just for my family.

  3. Paige Says:

    I want you to run for President, PunditMom…because you get it.

  4. painted maypole Says:

    I really enjoy your blog, and it always makes me think. As a relative new visitor to your site I am a bit shy to say this, but I will say it anyways. Do with it what you will. I find it really difficult to read your blog when it is the light pink on the burgundy background. Sometimes, I even stop reading. i know, I know, I’m sorry. Perhaps I am just undedicated. ;) But I would want to know if people had a hard time reading my blog because of a design issue. So there. I’ve said it. Don’t hate me.

  5. PunditMom Says:

    Painted Maypole, Never fear. Others are having the same problem, I think because of the browser used to read it. But IzzyMom is working on a fix anf I hope to have a better, more easily readable blog in a week or two!

  6. Andrea Says:

    It’s that whole “walk a mile in our shoes” kind of thing. I don’t so much care if a candidate had a silver spoon in their mouth growing up as long as that person can grasp the struggles of the everyday family, worker, American. While I agree with you that the chances of the Silver Spoon set grasping all the nuances are slim, I think there may be one or two people out there with level heads regardless of their privileged background. I hope I’m right, anyway, because the chances of Joe or Jane America getting a shot at the Presidency are pretty slim considering the amounts of money it takes to campaign.

  7. CPA Mom Says:

    I agree with you but wonder if there will ever be a fix. Without the “silver spoon” how would a candidate ever get elected when it takes millions of dollars to do so?

    I would vote for you too.

  8. Mamacita Says:

    I think it matters that the candidate have these issues on his agenda. After all, FDR was born privileged and helped return people to work; Johnson was affluent but started “the war on poverty.” Being president involves so many capabilities but what I would like to see most is a good, boring administrator who will get both sides working to meet the people’s agenda.

  9. Julie Pippert Says:

    Good question, good point. I agree.

    And as for Bush’s agenda re. health care, and his quote about using the emergency room…that’s DEMENTED.

    What a misunderstanding, misuse, abuse, and lack of understanding of health and health care.

    I hope the health care lobbies hop on railing that. I can’t imagine the hospital systems are okay with that plan, at all!

    I could rail on and on, but maybe I should save it for my own blog.

  10. Momish Says:

    Great post, as always. It is funny you should write about this because I too just touched on the education issue briefly today (as a result of my cousin being mentioned in a book about this issue).

    The health care issue is always a huge problem in this country because all the people making the decisions have the luxury of not knowing what it is like to be without. Sadly, they never might. Even if one person gets in there that has a clue, they are up against a majority, not to mention history.

    (I’m rambling, will shut up now)

  11. Mauigirl Says:

    Very well said!

    I agree about the whole silver spoon thing (in fact I just wrote something similar before reading your blog!) but Andrea makes an excellent point; it’s not just about whether someone was born with the silver spoon but whether they can relate to the common person. Franklin Roosevelt was born rich but he cared about the common person and his policies reflected that (sometimes with help from Eleanor!).

    Conversely, Dick Cheney has a lesbian daughter, and despite his close connection with his daughter, he has done nothing to advance gay rights in this country.

    So it’s not always about whether they’ve walked the mile; it’s whether they can imagine walking it.

  12. Mom101 Says:

    Nice post! Personally, the silver spoon means nothing to me. What matters is, among other things, a life dedicated to service. You look at Clinton or Obama’s past, and they have actually done good for humanity. You can see into their hearts. Look at W’s past and he’s the schmuck who traded Sammy Sosa.

  13. Scribbit Says:

    Reading the previous comments, I have to say that the whole “silver spoon” gripe doesn’t ring true. Were any of the original Founding Fathers anything but rich landowners?

    Wealth isn’t the issue. After living in the beltway myself it really bugged me that there was this vague notion among residents that D.C. was the center of the universe and everything west of Appalachia was considered with a grand sweep of the hand to be nothing more than “California.”

    Live in public service for too long attending fund raiser after fund raiser and having the kind of media scrutiny that public office requires and you’re guaranteed to get a skewed view of reality, Democrat or Republican.

  14. Ruth Dynamite Says:

    Great post! Right now, we need a peacemaker. A diplomat. A sensible, resolute-in-the-face-of-corruption/idiocy/old-school nonsense leader.

  15. impromptublogger Says:

    Great perspective there. I have thought more often of FDR recently. He probably would not have been the great president he was if he had not polio. I bet before that he was similar to Bush in outlook and perspective.

  16. Lawyer Mama Says:

    Ah, wonderful post! My husband (a farm boy) joined the Navy for the same reason. I second the nomination of Pundit Mom for president!

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