If there’s one thing I’ve always hated about our presidential election cycles, it’s the fact that they start way too damn early. Though we’ve only just passed the halfway mark for 2011, we’re already pretty deep into the Republican primary season for 2012. This, ladies and gentlemen, is why campaigning costs so much.
I’ve held back from discussing the candidates who are currently in the running mainly because I want to do this properly. I don’t want to judge who’s on the stage based on what they say or what they promise. That’s the kind of approach to politics that gets us a charlatan like Barack Obama in the top seat. No — I want to give SABR Matt and myself the time to look – and I mean really look – at these candidates’ public records because, in the end, it matters what people do when they are in power, not what they say.
Which is not to suggest that I don’t already have opinions regarding the type of person the Republican Party needs to select to challenge Obama. Indeed, the purpose of this post is to explain, briefly, what I am looking for in our candidate.
First of all, as the president is the Commander and Chief of our armed forces and is ultimately in charge of our foreign policy, the man* who wishes to receive my vote in the Republican primary must demonstrate, through his words and actions, that he understands who our friends and enemies are. He needs to be willing to hit Obama good and hard on the disrespect with which the current administration has treated our long-term allies (like Israel), and he needs to project a confidence in America’s basic decency in her role as a superpower. I’m not looking for a jingo, mind — just someone who will not reflexively apologize for our military strength or our past and present involvement in world affairs. No hardline pacifists or isolationists need apply.
Secondly, our candidate must be a strong fiscal conservative. His words and his record must indicate a willingness to cut wasteful spending and shrink government according to the principles I outlined in my series on the federal budget. Moreover, our candidate should ideally be a man with a proven ability to revitalize and grow an economy. We need to get a true recovery going and get people back to work (and off the dole).
Thirdly, our candidate must be at least vaguely conservative on the social issues. At this point, I’m pretty much looking for “better than Obama and the Democrats on abortion,” and that’s definitely not hard.
Lastly – and perhaps most importantly – our candidate must be able to cut through the media noise and communicate all of the above to the American people in a way that doesn’t cede ground to the left. We need to have a candidate who can take the arguments that will be lobbed by the Obama shills and deftly reframe them: “My opponent’s supporters want you to believe that my plan to fix Medicare is tantamount to pushing granny off a cliff. They’ve even made ads alleging this! But I would like to ask them, ‘What about our duty to ensure that Medicare will be available to our children?'” Instead of remaining forever on the defensive, why not field a candidate who can play offense every once in a while? What we definitely don’t need is McCain-level “politeness”.
So what do you think? What kind of Republican candidate would you like to see? Comment below if you have anything to add!
(*Or woman. I use the masculine here just because it’s easier.)