Why not License Politicians Seeking Public Office?

By John W. Lillpop

State Senator Bruce Patterson of Michigan recently rocked the journalism trade with a proposal that would establish a state licensing board for journalists.

Patterson, a Republican, based his proposed legislation on the following incongruity:

“What’s the definition of a reporter? I haven’t been able to find out? What’s a reporter? What’s a journalist?” Patterson said. “I thought you had to have a degree in journalism but apparently not. I could retire and be a journalist.”

Although Patterson’s legislative proposal is not likely to become law any where soon, his reasoning and logic could give rise to another terrific idea: Why not license politicians seeking public office?

After all, what is the definition of a politician?

One who can speak eloquently and raise hundreds of millions in campaign funds? One with charisma and good looks? One with great personal wealth and influence?

Patterson’s proposal makes even more sense in light of recent revelations that South Carolina Democrats actually nominated Alvin Greene to run for the U.S. Senate in November, despite the fact that Greene has a felony arrest that has not been adjudicated, and has little or no experience which would qualify him to serve in the U.S. Senate.

We Americans take enormous in our sophisticated and world-class Democracy. Yet there is no existing means for confirming the intellectual and moral qualifications of those in whom so much public trust is to be vested.

Vetting of politicians used to be a function that was entrusted to the care of mainstream media. However, the proliferation of liberal bias has rendered mainstream media useless, or worse, when it comes to providing objective and probing analysis of candidates and issues.

Still, with so very much at stake, us the people need to demand that our electoral process include a rigid, impartial, and scientific method for certifying candidates before they are handed the keys to power political domains.

Indeed, before any man or woman is permitted to run for U.S. Congress or the presidency, said candidate should be exposed to a thorough examination of his or her qualifications including:

* A full and complete background check to search for criminal arrests and convictions and matters indicative of a problem with integrity and or ethics;

* Verification of eligibility to serve (age, natural born citizen, etc.) through rigid review and verification of birth certificates and other pertinent documents relative to the office sought;

* Comprehensive testing of the candidate’s understanding and knowledge of economics, financial institutions including banks and Wall Street practices, American history, constitutional law, national defense and homeland security, massive entitlement programs, American sovereignty, global markets, labor unions, foreign governments and political leaders, and American culture and values.

Testing should include a mechanism for rejecting any prospective candidate who lacks “sufficient experience or knowledge to effectively serve the American people in the office being sought.”

Think about it: The American system for confirming nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court subjects nominees to exhaustive examinations of both personal and professional lives, rigorous interrogations concerning issues of the day, and sometimes humiliating exchanges with hostile members of the U.S. Senate.

Why should those seeking the vast power of the U.S. Presidency or a seat in Congress not be subjected to the same degree of intensity and thoroughness?