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By Romney's reckoning, Ryan is unqualified for presidency

August 14, 2012|By David Lazarus
  • Mitt Romney, right, shown with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), has an anecdote about a businessman wanting a constitutional amendment requiring at least three years of business experience for presidential candidates.
Mitt Romney, right, shown with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), has an anecdote… (Getty Images )

How valuable is a business background in running the country? Mitt Romney, for one, says it's very important.

He's placed far more emphasis on his private-sector experience than on his stint at governor of Massachusetts. If you want to create jobs, he's said, you need the steady hand of a CEO.

Does his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, pass the Romney test? Apparently not.

As BuzzFeed reports, Romney told an audience in Las Vegas about a local businessman who wanted a new constitutional requirement for presidential candidates: that they have at least three years of business experience.

"You see," Romney elaborated, "then he or she would understand that the policies they’re putting in place have to encourage small business, make it easier for business to grow."

So here's the thing: Ryan doesn't have that kind of experience. He's been a congressional staffer and a lawmaker for almost his entire professional life.

To me, this is no big thing. When it comes to governing, I want a public servant who knows how to work the system, not some corporate fat cat who's accustomed to barking orders and getting his way.

There's no question that being in the private sector can teach leadership skills. But that doesn't necessarily translate to governing. The two are quite different.

I've always been more impressed by Romney's tenure as governor than his stint as a corporate turnaround specialist. The former showed that he can handle the responsibilities of public service. The latter showed that he can make a lot of money.

In that sense, Ryan, not Romney, seems more qualified for the presidency. You don't send a CEO to do a politician's job.

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