It’s a pretty simple question, really.
That’s what I want each candidate running for President to answer.
Not the canned soundbites they all could recite in their sleep by rote (and probably do).
What we need is a televised event (you know, they’re not really debates), where each candidate is grilled on that one question they ought to have an aswer for:
“Why do you want to be President of the United States?”
Then, I want lawyers who are really good at depositions to ask the follow-up questions. Sure, some journalists do better than others , but what we need are some questioners who’ve been trained to put people on the hot seat, under oath — people who have been trained to really listen to an answer that someone gives and then follow up on each aspect until there are no further paths to follow.
Oh wait, that would be me!
My career is pretty evenly split in two — the years I’ve spent as a journalist that wrap around the years that I spent as an attorney. In a deposition, you don’t just ask a list of prepared questions — you listen really hard. And each time there is something in an answer that looks like it might take you down a new path, you follow it, and, when necessary, keep asking, “Why?”
I’d love the chance to just ask each candidate the simple “Why?” question, but with unlimited follow-ups to what he or she says. Who knows what we’d find out!
Yes, all the other answers the candidates give are important to the extent that we can believe them and that they really reflect the views and goals they’re really going to pursue.
Wouldn’t we learn a lot more about the next POTUS-to-be if we could get to the bottom of that question? Maybe all we’d get would be a speech about public service and moving the country forward.
But we might get more — wouldn’t it be worth a shot?