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Political aptitude tests
January 31, 2008 - Rob Weaver
Leave it to a reader to add some interest to the beginning of the work week. Greeting me Monday morning was an electronic missive containing the following observation regarding the current campaigns:
“It seems the only shot at getting the best candidate would be, at a specified date in the beginning, to give all candidates the same political SAT test. Publish these results and keep all discussions to the answers on the test. Publish no polls, no finger-pointing or opinions, just what the candidates said — let the people decide.”
The thought occurred to me that this should be how the candidates’ debates work. Far too often, participants sink below the purpose of communicating their views and policies, usually dragging opponents with them.
Thus, I find the suggestion of a political aptitude test appealing. No more pundits labeling one candidate a fiscal conservative and a social liberal; the test answers could tell voters plenty about each candidate.
Of course, a PAT would have to be administered in a manner similar to that of the SAT, to ensure the questions would be answered by the candidates themselves and not a combination of think-tank members, policy advisers, campaign managers and spin meisters.
This proposal conjures a mental image of the candidates, sequestered in a room, toiling over their answers. I find that picture to be mildly amusing.
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