Friday, April 13, 2007

Let's Find a Better Yardstick

Dan Panorama, aka Benjy Sarlin, posted this yesterday on The Purple State ("Political Commentary from the Youth Vote"):
I really hate the old “gallon of milk” test. Why should someone who’s been a major politician the last fifteen years know the cost of milk or bread offhand? Do we expect him to be taking care of his food shopping; is that a major qualification for office? I don’t care whether or not the guy is buying his own groceries or carefully reading the receipts for them, he definitely won’t be if we elect him president.
He's referring to Giuliani, but the same litmus test has been used for decades to gauge whether a politician is in touch with the everyday lives of the average American. The first time or two a reporter (I wonder who was the first?) asked the question, I thought it was pretty clever and felt rather smug each time a politician stumbled over the answer. That was then. The question has since become tiresome and irrelevant.

Frankly, I don't care whether national-level politicians know the cost of a gallon of milk. Many of them don't live in our reality, but then, we don't live in theirs, either. I don't know how to get us out of the mess we've made in Iraq; give me a leader who does. We need that leader in the White House and not in the grocery store.

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