My Ideal Presidential Candidate

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.)

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2 thoughts on “My Ideal Presidential Candidate

  1. I'll tell you what I want more than any other quality.

    I want a candidate who has a clear vision and knows how to communicate it. Part of the reason no one believes the GOP has any principles and many are so willing to believe that the GOP wants to kill your grandmother because it's economically expedient (e.g.) is that their good ideas are typically presented by people who seem unable or unwilling to go to the media directly and very cogently and carefully spell out exactly what they believe and why they think their vision is better than Obama's.

    I'll give you an example from today's headlines. Right now, the left wing media is already preparing an assault on the apparent GOP reversal of position on the Bush Doctrine (the need to fight wars without attack or provocation to promote freedom and in so doing, discourage terrorism and human rights violations around the world).

    You've got Michelle Bachmann (who I like for many reasons, but this is not one of them)…and many quasi-libertarian / tea-party folks are joining her in saying Obama shouldn't be fighting in AFGHANISTAN (you know…the war the GOP started) and Libya because we were weren't attached and we have no direct interests there.

    The Sunday talk shows are out there saying “Have the GOP become doves? Were we right all along to bash Bush and company for his wars and aggression?” The answer to that is a clear and concise message about what our foreign policy should be. What is America's role in the world. Every candidate needs to answer that question without fear and without waffling…and we need to be allowed to choose a direction.

    The GOP is frequently technically correct about an issue and yet loses popular support because they can't sell how and why they're correct. We can't have that anymore. The way to beat Obama is not to be slick politicians. That might win 2012 and yet lose the greater war for the very soul of this nation. The way to forever destroy Obama and what he represents is to know what we believe and to shout it from every town square, every debating hall every blog, every television set, every phone, every megaphone and microphone until nothing the media does can cloud that message.

    Unfortuantely…we don't know what we believe, because the GOP isn't one party. The tea party is fundamentally different than the old GOP and both are fundamentally different than libertarians who are fundamentally different than Jeffersonian states rights advocates and Populists and all the other brands of non-liberalism you can find. The Dems speak with one voice…they agree on everything and have a clear (albeit incredibly wrong-headed) message. The GOP has GOT to find its' voice and make a decision about what it now stands for.

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  2. The way to beat Obama is not to be slick politicians. That might win 2012 and yet lose the greater war for the very soul of this nation. The way to forever destroy Obama and what he represents is to know what we believe and to shout it from every town square, every debating hall every blog, every television set, every phone, every megaphone and microphone until nothing the media does can cloud that message.

    I think that's exactly what I was trying to explain in my last listed requirement. Too often, the GOP will propose some change in policy that is eminently sensible once you think about it, and yet that proposal is utterly trashed by the media as being, as you say, “self-centered” and “lacking in principles.” The Republicans need to have their cogent arguments ready and waiting before they try to accomplish something, not after the media damage has already been done.

    As I implied, I'm sick of always being on the defensive. We shouldn't have to be on the defensive because our policy ideas are ultimately right for America in the long run. The “blue state model” simply doesn't work. Look at Greece. Heck, look at California!

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