Wed, August 15, 2007


It’s a pretty simple question, really.

That’s what I want each candidate running for President to answer.

Really 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?

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6 Responses to “Why?”

  1. Lawyer Mama Says:

    Wouldn’t that be a lawyer’s dream? (Or a journalist for that matter – they have a lot in common.)

  2. karrie Says:

    Do you think most people would be receptive to real answers? It seems whenever pols have shown a bit of personality–say, the Good Doctor Dean–the press and the general population freak out.

    I think Kucinich gives real answers. But he’ll sadly never be elected, and I suspect that is part of the reason why.

  3. Sornie Says:

    I think it would be cool to se an average Joe or Josie with good ideas and a level head to run and have a chance but sadly to be president you have to be a political insider.

  4. Her Bad Mother Says:

    Every politician, everywhere, should answer that. While strapped to a lie-detector.

  5. David Says:

    so, what in your opinion would be an example of an answer that is NOT completely full of crap?

    (btw, I like the new blog format.)

  6. aimee / greeblemonkey Says:

    I agree with both Karrie and HBM. I think they should have to, but I am not sure the public would wrap themselves around the answer is it didn’t fit into a nice little generic soundbite.


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