Public Office- Are We Scaring Away the Best Candidates?

In light of the so-called Bernard Kerik scandal I am concerned again that we are creating a real problem with the incredibly intrusive vetting we do of potential candidates for office. The issue of trying to find the perfect candidate has reached insane heights as we see that this has forced Giuliani to apologize to Bush for recommending Kerik as the nominee.

It seems to me that we have lost all perspective and common sense at judging the men and women who would serve us as public servants.

The way things stand now you can be certain that every detail of your life is going to be investigated, as well as that of your family. And there is no statute of limitations on judging you for the actions of your past. A 50 year-old man who was arrested for a DUI when he was 19 is judged as if it happened last week.

A 45 year-old woman who had an abortion at 15 is forced to relive the experience and account for why she acted in such a fashion.

This is just nonsense and a growing problem. What this does is provide more and more incentive for people to avoid pursuing careers and positions that will subject them to this scrutiny and it is to our detriment.

There is nothing wrong with engaging in fact checking and researching a candidate’s suitability for a position. But we need to pull back and slow down, the horse has the bit in his teeth and we are careening wildly down the road.

Some of the things that we express such dismay at should be viewed in context, life experiences that are long past. Poor choices that would not be made today.

I am not excusing these actions, but are you the same person you were as a child? At 35 are you the same as you were at 19? Think about it.

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  1. Anne December 14, 2004 at 3:39 pm

    I liked Kerik. Then again, I liked Rudy too, and that seems to be really unpopular around here. So, what do I know?

  2. vince millay December 14, 2004 at 3:16 pm

    I’ve long thought this, though I am hoping, as more of the people who came up in the 60’s start running for office–people who inhaled and then some–that maybe some of this stuff will get to be less of an issue. I hope.

    One thing on Kerik…his relationship with the press here in New York was, um, let’s just say contentious, so they are going to keep chewing on him for a while.

  3. Jen December 14, 2004 at 2:49 pm

    I wholeheartedly agree.

  4. Gilly December 14, 2004 at 7:47 am

    It certainly seems that the best candidates are being scared off if Kerry was the best candidate to challenge Bush…..

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