Letter to the Editor: Hiring an Outsider-in-Chief

By Robert Davis
President-elect Donald Trump takes the stage before a crowd of approximately 4,000 people in Des Moines on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016. -- photo by Zak Neumann
President-elect Donald Trump takes the stage before a crowd of approximately 4,000 people in Des Moines on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016. — photo by Zak Neumann

We knew better than to vote for a president that is a celebrity “outsider” with no public service experience. I know we did.

Do we ask a hair stylist to wire our garage because electricity is boring and needs a fresh new look? No.

Do we ask a concrete guy to design Bed, Bath and Beyond labels because an outsider will finally get the colors right? That’s pretty absurd. We know it is.

Experience and education in particular fields matter — whether we like it, or are jealous of it, or hate it.

Think of your skills, your hobbies, the crafts and activities you enjoy doing. Think of how much better you are at them since you started. You’ve experienced successes and failures, read or watched how others do it. Your competency has developed over time.

  • This tool makes that job simple and quick.
  • Gently press the pedal.
  • Elbow grease is the only solution.
  • This type of motion finishes it off nicely.

Public service jobs are the same way, especially the presidency. Foreign diplomacy is as much a learned and studied skill as when and how to harvest the soybeans.

Effective public speaking and inspiring people with words (and telling jokes) are as much a learned and studied skill as rebuilding a Harley engine. (Public Speech Rule #1 — Jokes that demean others are not funny.)

And creating enough steady momentum to move helpful legislation forward is as much a learned and studied skill as decorating a three-tiered wedding cake. Do we want the five-year-old niece making it because she is cute and has an Easy-Bake oven? (No. But she can place her adorable effort next to the one done professionally.)

Having the particular skills and experience for the job is good and typically necessary, including in areas of governance.

So if our daily household decision-making puts a priority on hiring people who know what they are doing, why would we select someone with no experience and no skills — and no apparent interest in improving — in the most crucial position in the world?

We knew better when looking at that little ballot circle on November 8th. We knew that you don’t call the volunteer fire department for a house practice burn-down, when all you want is trim molding on the bathroom cabinets.

It’s time we start realizing that blind adherence to electing “complete outsiders” is a crock. It’s a ripoff. Because we now have — in our incoming outsider president – an incompetent diplomat, a degrading and chaotic speaker, and a hopelessly indecisive legislator.


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So in four years when we vote for this office again, I propose we say to ourselves first, “Yes, I am a pull-up-my-own-bootstraps-kind-of guy or gal. But do I really want my neighbor doing open heart surgery on me in his welding shed because he’s ready to give it a go, and he’s cheap?”

Let’s think on that good and hard. Then — because we’ll know better — let’s vote for a presidential candidate from any party that has some public service experience and training based on firm democratic values. Let’s vote for somebody who can quickly become proficient at running our great country. Because it looks like there will be one heck of a mess to clean up.

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