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Your Views: Candidates for president have little practical training for job

POSTED: February 29, 2012 1:00 a.m.

The current presidential debates put me in mind of the last Eisenhower-Kennedy transition meeting, Jan. 19, 1961. The emphasis of that meeting was Indochina. We do remember the ensuing, ill-fated Vietnam War do we not?

About that meeting, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara wrote: "The meeting illustrates a weakness in our form of government — the lack of an effective way to transfer knowledge and experience from one administration to another — and suggests the heavy price we pay. In parliamentary systems, a new government's ministers have usually served as opposition shadow ministers for several years before they take office.

"I recall, for example, dealing with Denis Healey of Great Britain and Helmut Schmidt of West Germany when they became defense ministers of their countries. Both had been trained, in effect, for their responsibilities by serving as opposition party leaders and studying their country's security issues for many years. I, in contrast, came to Washington from having served as president of Ford Motor Co. The meeting between the Eisenhower and Kennedy teams was a poor substitute for such training." ("In Retrospect.")

If the presidency of Ford didn't qualify McNamara to manage one federal agency, how does the presidency of Bain Capital qualify Mitt Romney to manage the entire country? And what has Rick Santorum actually managed as a senator?

I opt for a brokered GOP convention and the nomination of a truly experienced candidate. I repeat Mr. McNamara's quote of John Locke: "No man's knowledge can go beyond his experience."

Our country needs more than a Santorum, a Romney or an intellectual organizer of "community activities." We need an experienced Eisenhower type, and if we need to turn to the military once again to find him or her, that would be fine with me. And, I suspect it would be fine with a majority of voting Americans.

Fred Dissen
Flowery Branch



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