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?
- Is ethical and principled.
- Is eloquent, nuanced, and good with the media.
- Is well-read and can speak the “intellectual” language without
- Can relate to working people, NASCAR folks and the NPR crowd without
- 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 Grantland.com, 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
- 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,
- 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
- Has a reasonable plan to simplify the tax code and shrink federal
- Recognizes that America needs to be weaned off of oil;
seeks policies that are friendly to clean energy and alternative fuel
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Wants the world to flourish, but not because America is the “last,
best hope” for mankind.
- Isn’t perfect.