I told him I’d been thinking about something and wanted his response. You can argue that a governor is a better presidential nominee than a senator because governors, unlike lawmakers, have to do something and can be judged by their performance, which is measurable. You can look at their terms and say they raised or cut taxes, which helped or hurt the economy. They reformed the prison system, or they failed to. They balanced the budget or they didn’t. They improved education or not. They succeeded or failed in creating a favorable business climate. There are numbers and statistics that can to some degree test their claims. They know domestic issues and can be judged on domestic issues.
But they know nothing about the world. They haven’t been filling their brain-space with foreign policy and foreign affairs the past 20 years; they’ve been filling their minds with the facts of Indiana or Louisiana or New Jersey.
And so when they go national, they farm out these key areas to the party’s foreign-policy eggheads. And they unknowingly become captured by this worldview or that, this tendency and attitude or that. And they don’t even know they’ve been captured, they’re not that sophisticated. They just think they handed the foreign-policy portfolio over to someone respectable who’s called a thinker. (The first thing the thinker usually shares is not a thought but political advice: “You have to sound strong!”)