Carroll County Times
Carroll County Times Opinion

Rothschild: Screening candidates for elected office at all levels

Why are so many citizens disappointed with their elected officials? Why do so many elected officials fall short, or advocate policy inconsistent with expectations?

I could be philosophical and talk more about the fact we have mostly purged God from our schools, government and culture. Or, perhaps it is because Hollywood seems intent upon glamorizing the fringe margins of society, whether it is the urban "gangsta rap" culture; consumption in excess; or depraved reality show participants that love to use the "F" word in every other sentence. Is it any wonder we make defective choices at the ballot box?


I won't go there. Today, I want to be pragmatic.



Imagine what would happen in federal, state, and local government if we issued simple questionnaires to all candidates as part of the process of running for office. Most defective candidates would be knocked out before their campaigns began.

The most compelling screening processes could occur at the federal level. Specifically, shouldn't anyone who wants to be president, and tasked with defending America, at least be able to qualify for a standard Department of Defense Secret or Top Secret security clearance? This is the one where they ask your references if you have any financial challenges or other difficulties that could make you vulnerable to being bribed or blackmailed. They also investigate and ask if you have contacts with any communist or subversive groups that advocate the overthrow of the United States. Clearly, if these tests were applied today, it is quite possible that neither Barack Obama nor Hillary Clinton would qualify for secret clearances, much less higher levels of Top Secret clearances.

Why does major media overlook these serious issues?

Case in point: While having breakfast at a major hotel chain, I watched a liberal television news network drone on for more than an hour about whether Donald Trump issued a tweet that offended someone. Who cares? I care about about whether our next president (a) loves America; (b) respects God and our Constitution; and (c) has the business savvy to rescue our country from the brink of a financial implosion caused by nearly $20 trillion in debt. I also want to know if they're cozy with anti-American groups that advocate overthrow of our Constitution.

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Why isn't major media concerned with these issues? Or, perhaps as John F. Kennedy would ask... why not?

That, of course, brings us back to the philosophical issues I mentioned in the beginning of this column. The American people will get what they demand and deserve. Isn't it time to restore God, patriotism and personal accountability to our voting choices in government?

At the state and local level, there are several salient questions candidates could be asked as part of the process of running for office. Perhaps this is the level that most resembles a small to mid-size business. Wouldn't it be nice to know (a) candidates' credit history; (b) how much personal debt they have buried themselves in; and (c) their net worth? After all, we can reasonably presume whatever they've done to themselves, they will also do to your local or state government. According to a recent article in Forbes magazine, former Gov. Martin O'Malley had estimated net worth of $0. This is exactly what I would expect in light of the defective policies he advocated.

I would bet dollars to doughnuts more than half of all elected officials don't know the difference between a million vs. a billion vs. a trillion.


It might also be helpful to ask candidates about the oath of office they must swear to uphold. For example: What does the oath to the Constitution mean to you? What will you do if government attempts to infringe on Constitutional rights of your constituents? How far will you go to uphold your oath? Have you ever read the document you must swear to uphold? If not, won't they be committing perjury the minute they take the oath of office?

After all, if a candidate for local government claims to be a financially savvy conservative, wouldn't it be reasonable to ask him to put up or shut up?

Richard Rothschild is a Republican county commissioner representing District 4.