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Campaign 2012: Verify, Then Elect

Campaign 2012: Verify Then Elect

We Americans don’t care how much a president knows or what they can do
until we know what they have gotten done for people like you and me

With the selection of Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate, it seems all but certain that the campaign is going to turn even more negative between the Republican and Democratic tickets.

As it appears the campaign is headed towards a “cold war” I am reminded of President Reagan’s signature admonition, borrowed from Suzanne Massie, regarding the Soviet Union that we “Trust, but verify,” before accepting anything they say. This may then be a time to vet each party’s candidates further before we trust and then elect either candidate.

For America to make an informed decision regarding all of the candidates’ abilities and capacities to lead our country as President, we would do well to reverse and then tweak Reagan’s words into, “Verify then elect.”  We more clearly know President Obama’s record as President compared to what a President Romney’s record would look like, however there is a widely held view that past performance is a good predictor of future performance.

We should therefore ask both candidates (and their V.P.’s or V.P. nominee) to provide the following to us about what they have done and have gotten done that is:

  1. Verifiable – Please provide us with references of people closer to the 99 percent American public than the 1 percent American wealthy who have directly benefited under you and your decisions and we will check them out regarding the following.
  2. Recent – Mr. Obama, we can see what you have gotten done and not gotten done. However Mr. Romney, if you want us to overlook your Bain Capital years, what did you get done during your years as Governor of Massachusetts that benefited the 99 percent as much as the 1 percent?
  3. Relevant – To both of you, what actions have you taken that demonstrate your ability to actually create and drive job growth, help the financial well being of the 99 percent, enable you to deal effectively with healthcare and other domestic challenges and direct an effective foreign policy?
  4. Positive – What positive and negative outcomes did you achieve and what did you learn from each?
  5. Measurable – Metrics, metrics, metrics. You can’t manage what you can’t measure. It has been reported that Congressman Ryan in thirteen years in office only succeeded in turning two bills into law.
  6. Results – Show us actual outcomes instead of anything intangible, seeing is believing.
  7. Because of you – Which of the positive, measurable results above where you were actually key or instrumental in achieving as opposed to benefiting from them.
  8. Taking initiative – What is your ability and what has been your track record to get things done across party lines to achieve results?
  9. Accessing resources – What is your ability and what has been your track record of accessing and marshaling resources both within your party and also across opposition to achieve results?
  10. Sustainable without you – What have you been able to build and create that has added value for the 99 percent that has lasted or will last without you?

As a final suggestion to all the candidates, if you want to gain “buy in” from the American people, provide us with specific plans providing specific solutions facing our country that will to the 99 percent most impacted by them provide concrete steps that will: a) make sense; b) feel right and c) be doable to and by the non-rocket scientists or financial whizzes amongst us.

Mark Goulston, M.D., is the author of the new bestselling book Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone.

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