There's a big reason I could never be president of the United States. You can probably guess what it is. Go ahead.
OK, there are 500 big reasons. But the main one is that whatever pops into my head usually comes right out my mouth, and a president needs to have a good grasp of the art of shutting up.
Case in point would be presidential candidate Mitt Romney recently telling a bunch of wealthy Jews that their culture's ability to make money is what made it great.
Jews and money. Stereotype?
Even if this is true and I'm not saying that it is Mitt shouldn't have said it within earshot of the media and the Palestinians, who immediately started looking around for rocks.
Whoa, there was another stereotype. See what I mean? Rich Jews, rock-throwing Arabs a president should be smart enough to not say things like that.
It's even more important not to let things fall out of your mouth when it's to one of the few friends America still has. By this I mean our British cousins across the pond.
I don't know what Mitt said to the Brits regarding their efforts with the Olympics that made them so mad. I'm not going to look it up, either. It's enough that it drove them to respond in kind.
Peeved by Mitt's remarks, British Prime Minister David Cameron shot back by referring to Salt Lake City as "the middle of nowhere."
Although intended as scurrilous, Cameron's remark didn't register that way with me. Utah being "the middle of nowhere" is precisely why my Mormon pioneer ancestors came here. From England.
Still, you can't go to someone else's country/home/yard and comment negatively on the behavior or the dÃ©cor. Not only is it rude, but it's also dangerous. Wars get started with less provocation (see First Flintstones War and every war since).
Note: Words aren't the only things that come out of our mouths at inopportune moments. Remember when the first George Bush threw up on the prime minister of Japan? That was regrettable.
It isn't just Mitt saying things before he gives them a think. President Obama and every other politician have made a few comments they'd probably like to have back, too. It's the nature of the business.
Actually, it's the nature of being human. Think of all the things you've ever said that you wish you hadn't. Now imagine them being heard by 7 billion people before you get chance to take them back. Worse, imagine having them follow you around for the rest of your life.
That's why I'll never be president. Given my poor impulse control, I'd probably start a war with Antarctica by saying something about penguins my first week in office.
Fortunately, I can't do that as a columnist. I have an editor who screens everything I write in order to make sure I only offend the right people.
Were I president, my edited live speeches would look like this: "Let me just say [comment removed by editor] and so that's why [this gets pulled as well] on top of [edited out] and [no way can we print this]. So it's obvious that [?] should be [get rid of this] no later than [deleted]."
Come to think of it, every politician could use a live editor.
Robert Kirby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/stillnotpatbagley.