If we want better-qualified (and honest) presidential candidates, let’s amend Article II, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution. This section says:
No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty five years, and been fourteen Years a resident within the United States.
How about adding the following clause after “United States”: “and who has not passed a lie detector examination consisting of the following questions:”
â€¢ Have you used a statistic out of context or selectively to exaggerate your record?
â€¢ Have you ever used a statistic out of context or selectively to denigrate your opponents or their positions?
â€¢ While an appointed or elected official, have you improperly accepted money from lobbyists?
â€¢ Have you extolled the number of times you cut taxes while failing to say the number of times you raised taxes?
â€¢ To make a political point, have you exaggerated a claim about you or your record?
â€¢ Have you misrepresented your service (or lack thereof) in the armed forces?
â€¢ Have you directed that an action be taken on your behalf but in such a way as to provide you with plausible deniability should it fail?
â€¢ Have you commissioned a push poll?
â€¢ Have you placed a friend or relative on the public payroll?
â€¢ Have you placed an unqualified friend or relative on the public payroll?
â€¢ Has a relative or friend placed you on the public payroll?
â€¢ Have you personally profited from a publicly funded expenditure?
â€¢ Do you have a criminal record?
â€¢ Do you have a history of substance abuse?
â€¢ Are you physically, psychologically and emotionally healthy?
â€¢ Have you cheated on your spouse?
â€¢ Have you lied to your spouse or children?
â€¢ Are your IRS tax returns for the past 20 years a true accounting of taxes owed and paid?
â€¢ Have you knowingly misrepresented yourself in a rÃ©sumÃ© or curriculum vita?
â€¢ Have you plagiarized?
â€¢ Have you been sued?
â€¢ Have you been fired?
â€¢ Have you lied to protect your public image or political position?
â€¢ Have you paid anyone to lie on your behalf?
â€¢ Would you appoint corporate executives and business leaders who have contributed to your political campaigns to public policy positions, including ambassadorships?
â€¢ Do you support more stringent reporting rules for campaign contributions?
â€¢ Do you support more stringent freedom of information, sunshine, sunset and journalist shield laws?
â€¢ Have you undertaken or ordered an illegal action to enhance a business or corporate interest in this or another nation?
â€¢ Have you legally accepted money or favors to promote a business or corporate interest in this or another nation?
â€¢ Have you illegally accepted money or favors to promote a business or corporate interest?
â€¢ Do you support “fast-track” presidential power on trade legislation?
â€¢ Do you support current treaties and pacts regarding “fair trade”?
â€¢ Should private, charitable, faith-based organizations be provided public funding?
â€¢ Do you believe in a Supreme Being?
â€¢ Will your religious beliefs take precedence in deciding matters of public interest?
â€¢ Will poll results take precedence in your decisions on matters of public interest?
â€¢ Do you believe the president can commit American troops to combat on foreign soil without the consent of Congress?
â€¢ Do you believe control of primary and secondary education curricula should rest with local governing school boards, including standards for evaluation and assessment?
â€¢ Do you believe that any mandate imposed by the federal government or Congress on state or local governments should be fully funded by the federal government?
â€¢ Do you support radical overhaul of the American system of regressive taxation?
â€¢ Do you believe the needs of people should always take precedence over considerations of environmental impacts?
â€¢ Do you believe human progress should always be measured with concepts stressing growth?
â€¢ Do you believe all human beings â€” regardless of race, creed, sexual preference or gender â€” are equal?
â€¢ Do you believe the First Amendment should be altered?
â€¢ Do you believe the Second Amendment should be altered?
â€¢ Do you believe the Fourth Amendment should be altered?
No doubt other questions could and should be added to this list. This is just a beginning.
But while we’re at it, let’s amend Article I, Sections 2 and 3, to put the same questions to those who would represent us in Congress, too.