For now, Schultz is just dipping his toes into the murkiest of waters. But with the amount of free press he’s getting—even, with apologies, in this column—he cannot expect a coronation. For example, he’s mostly trafficking in generalities about broken Washington without demonstrating any real understanding of how government works. To wit: When asked how he would solve our health-care challenges (which he hasn’t really defined), he said he would get serious people to sit around a table. Does he really think that, up until a Howard Schultz presidency, no leader has put serious people around a table to tackle health care?
But if he feels this harassed by requests to explain himself more fully, then he is in for a rude awakening. A political campaign is a job interview unlike any other. Should he decide to run, the American people, through their intermediary—the media—will comb through everything Schultz has ever said and done. They will examine his finances, critique his business choices and make fun of his hair. They will delve into his personal life and pull apart his biography. They will question his policy agenda and ask for more details. And as a candidate, he must go along for the ride, mostly in good cheer. Seeking the presidency outside of the traditional party structure does not leave him free from the scrutiny appropriate for one who seeks to govern our whole country. That is the job, and that is the process.