EMAIL THIS PAGE       PRINT       RSS      

45 Things I Want in a Presidential Candidate

A year from now we will (very possibly) have a new president-elect in the U.S. As a registered voter in California, I will have zero influence in deciding the election. But that doesn’t keep me from having opinions about what kind of candidate I’d like to see succeed in becoming America’s 45th president. If I did happen to live in a state like Iowa, New Hampshire, or one of the other “primary” battlegrounds where my vote might feasibly matter, I would be looking to cast a vote for a presidential candidate who fit the following qualifications. Are there any good candidates out there?

Someone who…
  • Is ethical and principled.
  • Is eloquent, nuanced, and good with the media.
  • Is well-read and can speak the “intellectual” language without sounding aloof.
  • Can relate to working people, NASCAR folks and the NPR crowd without seeming inauthentic
  • Has a record of being nice to and working with members of the opposing party for the sake of getting things done for the people.
  • Stands by convictions, but isn’t afraid of compromise.
  • Can give “moderate” a better name and can build consensus and temper the intensely partisan nature of Washington.
  • Is a Christian. The authentic, “I think about everything through the lens of Christ-following” kind.
  • In list of favorite books, films, TV shows, music, etc… has at least a few things that are bold and/or unpredictable.
  • Reads, and could feasibly write for them.
  • Saw The Tree of Life and found at least some value in it.
  • Is generally in favor of lower taxes, but willing to compromise and isn’t shouting “no new tax hikes EVER!” from the rooftops (we need to be reasonable).
  • Has read a Cormac McCarthy novel.
  • Can find Kazakhstan on a map.
  • Is a good politician in the “I have great relational skills and can win friends of all stripes” sort of way.
  • Does not believe that the Garden of Eden was in Jackson County, Missouri.
  • Favors smaller, streamlined government, but doesn’t see government as a n’er-do-well bogeyman either. Rather, looks for what government does well and has done well historically and what states & the private sector do best, and budgets accordingly.
  • Genuinely, passionately, actively cares about the poor and suffering.
  • Has a reasonable plan to simplify the tax code and shrink federal bureaucracy.
  • Recognizes that America needs to be weaned off of oil; seeks policies that are friendly to clean energy and alternative fuel research/development.
  • Can be articulate and impressive on Meet the Press.
  • Hated the term “freedom fries.”
  • Cares about human rights and is against torture.
  • Doesn’t want American to be more like Europe, except in having a less car-reliant culture.
  • Policies are friendly to business and favor job creation.
  • Has the leadership style and familial demeanor of Coach Taylor on Friday Night Lights.
  • Is pro-life on abortion, stem cells, cloning, etc.
  • Also pro-life on things like helping the poor, reducing global misery, ending slavery/trafficking, etc.
  • Has experience as an executive (preferably in business and government).
  • Cares for his or her spouse and children.
  • Sees the separation of church and state for what it was originally intended to be: a protection for religion (against government meddling), not the other way around.
  • Favors policies to protect the rights of private schools and private businesses on matters of religious preference.
  • Reads constantly.
  • Supports gradual draw-down of troops abroad and perhaps a slight reduction in military spending.
  • Supports reforming TSA and Homeland Security to make them more efficient.
  • In general does not have an “America is the police of the world” attitude, but isn’t isolationist either.
  • Doesn’t believe in bailouts.
  • Can reasonably articulate “The Bush Doctrine” and situate it within history.
  • Has a favorite Radiohead song. Or at least knows who Radiohead is.
  • Would consider asking someone other than John Williams to compose music for the inauguration.
  • If elected, won’t spend half of his or her time in office fundraising and campaigning for reelection.
  • Values intellectual nuance, complexity, and avoids simplistic black & white binaries.
  • Favors faith-based charities and boosting the non-profit and volunteer sectors.
  • Wants the world to flourish, but not because America is the “last, best hope” for mankind.
  • Isn’t perfect.


This is a joke, right? NOBODY who watched Tree of Life saw any value in it and wished to God they had that time back. The only people who say they liked it said so because they want to appear to be intellectually artistic.

Seriously, though, my guess is this was done in fun - and I think the obvious conclusion to this list is that the only person who would fit all of our desires for the perfect president only exists in fantasy land. I think these are all reasonable, but I'm afraid the best candidate will only have about 25% of these... And I'd replace Radiohead with Gungor...

I did find it humorous that you ended the list of attributes that you want a president to have with "isn't prefect." So its okay if he or she has none of these qualities? Or can we end each attribute with, "at least most of the time"...

Agreed, almost down to the punctuation.

That said, what's wrong with John Williams? (Sure, I'd prefer Powell or Horner) But, at least he has some variety. Give the job to Hans Zimmer and all we'd get would be President of the Caribbean... Though that might be an improvement at this rate.

Stands by convictions, but isn’t afraid of compromise. - this is of great importance to me. Someone who has balls big enough to say NO and knows when to say "LETS talk!"

»  Become a Fan or Friend of this Blogger
Brett currently works full-time for Biola University as managing editor for Biola magazine. He also writes movie reviews for Christianity Today and contributes frequently to Relevant magazine.