There was only one Franklin D. Roosevelt and even if there were a reincarnated version of him about to step onto the political stage tomorrow, the days of being able to run the country from a wheelchair are well and truly over. Waiting for overseas phone calls to be arranged or messengers to arrive with important documents to sign no longer provide periods of rest. Nor do leisurely riding the rails between states or sailing across the ocean to visit allied countries.

Today everything happens fast. Important phone calls come one after another. Documents needing signatures or assessment fly off fax machines or through emails. There’s no such thing as down time in the oval office.

Today’s president needs to be on top of his (or her) game both mentally and physically 24/7, prepared to jet to New York at 5am, California at noon and then be back in DC before before midnight. During the few hours of travel on Air Force One the president needs to conduct normal business, catch up on reading proposed legislation, take part in video conferences, meet with his staff and answer to the press. There’s no such thing as weekends off, early bedtimes, afternoon naps or long vacations.

For anyone aspiring to the office of the United States in the year 2012 to think he or she can do the job at less than perfect health and without one helluva work ethic is delusional. It may be our inherited right as natural citizens to run for the office – but to be able to fulfill the duties once elected is a horse of a different colour.

Herman Cain, a 65 year old cancer survivor who apparently can’t give a cohesive television interview on 4 hours of sleep and whose wife wears a pacemaker and prefers ‘quiet’, had no business wasting anyone’s time, energy or money running for president.The job is relentless. Demanding. And you can’t cancel an engagement just because you’re fatigued.

When John McCain ran his campaign in 2008 I watched as he went from standing up straight at each venue in August to slumping over, barely shuffling his steps at town hall meetings in October. And that was only one campaign over a course of three months. How on earth did he think he was going to physically cope with actually ‘being’ president?

Malia Litman reports here on the number of days Rick Perry actually worked at his job of Texas governor:

1. Of the last 355 days Governor Perry only reportedly worked a total of 164 days for “State Scheduled Business”. Thus, for 191 days out of the last 355 days, Governor Perry had no “State Scheduled Business.” That means he worked less than 50% of the days in the last 12 months, or just 46% of the days.

2. Perry did not declare his candidacy until August 13th, 2011, and even before that he failed to work 144 days out of approximately 9 ½ months, or 285 days. That means that he worked less than half time as Governor of Texas, even before he declared himself a candidate for President.

 3. Of the days that he did perform some type of state business, he failed to work a significant number of hours during a normal work day. Examples include:

 a. Thurs. April 7th Total hours worked- two 10:15-12:15 when he attended a funeral.

 b. Mon. April 11th 7:00-8:30 attended a dinner

 c. Tues. April 12 one hour

 d. Thurs. May 12th, Only work was a “bill signing”

At best it’s a pathetic showing and outs him as being a career politician with a poor work ethic and no desire to fulfill he gubernatorial obligations to those who elected him into office.

In the year 2012, we will not be able to afford a president whose attention is blurred by failing health, mental stamina or by a lack of ambition to do the actual job.

POTUS is not a video game. It is not run from a comfy chair via command console. You can’t put the world on pause while you run to the kitchen and grab a sandwich. You can’t log off when you’re tired. You have to be there. Alert. Attentive. Every day. Every. Day.

There are no do-overs at the White House. There are no extra lives. You get one shot – and then it’s game over.

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