John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Questions That I Would Like To Be Asked During a Debate

Posted on September 13, 2011
Here are some questions that I would like to be asked at the next debate:

1. What kind of person are you going to hire to lead your Office of Presidential Personnel?
2. Will that person be an expert at executive placement or will they be the person who is most loyal to you?
3. What kind of relationship do you envision with your Vice President? Will he or she be a rival or a partner? Will you give that person specific jobs and tasks or will they be without a specific portfolio?
4. How do you expect to organize your Cabinet? Do you expect that you will dictate everything from the White House or do you believe that your Cabinet officials will have the flexibility to get the job done?
5. Tell us about your Chief of Staff. Will that person be the gatekeeper, the person who controls the daily information that comes into your office or will you have flatter structure?
6. Outside of your spouse, who has complete access to your office? Who can walk in to your office at almost any point without an appointment?
7. How are you going to get your information? Will you rely on daily briefs from senior staff or will you reach out beyond your circle? Will you have a blackberry or iPhone or Android?
8. Tell me about your management style. Do you like to keep close tabs on your staff? Do you like diving into details? Or do you like to hire good people, give them the measurable goals and then let them get the done the best way you see fit?
9. How will you interact with the Congress? Will you leave that to staff or will you negotiate yourself? What is your opinion of the House and the Senate? Do you believe it has too much power or will you be more deferential to it?
10. When will you use your Veto pen? Does legislation have to meet all of your principles or are you willing to give a little to get a little?
11. What kind of people will you appoint to serve as Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Israel, France, England, China and Brazil? Will you give the best posts to the biggest contributors, as has been the style?
12. What kind of person will you appoint to the United Nations? What is your view of the U.N.? Should we just give up on it?
13. Do you think it is better to have a former military person run the CIA or is it better that it is controlled by a civilian? How do you envision the DNI and CIA director working together?
14. How will you work with the nation’s Governors? Do you think that the Governors should be given flexibility on things like welfare reform and Medicaid or do you want more control over how they use federal dollars?
15. When appointing a Surgeon General, do you want someone who agrees with you on key issues or someone who really knows their stuff when it comes to medicine and can communicate that to the American people?

Being an effective President has much less to do with coming up with clever solutions to the nation’s problems and much more to do with hiring good people and letting them help run the government effectively and efficiently.

It turned out that Ronald Reagan was an effective executive and Jimmy Carter wasn’t. That is why Reagan is revered today and Carter isn’t.

The media loves to stir up hot-button issues because they find that to be the best way to attract interest to the story. The reality is that we should focus more on how the candidates will actually do the job of being President, and focus less on what they say about all of these controversial issues.