Reply Thu 31 Jan, 2008 04:58 pm
I'd like this thread to be about what qualities A2K members feel are essential qualifiers for a U.S. President. If we can, lets avoid partisan politics here.

I invite you all to list those qualities you deem most important. Explain why you think the quality is important. Finally, if you'r up to it, you might like to suggest how we voters might determine whether or not a Presidential candidate has those qualities.

Here are my views, just to get things started:

Above all every candidate should be dedicated to the Constitution, and have insightful understanding of its principles. We assume that in every President, and so far very few have let the nation down. It is only when a President's acts in office violate this prerequisite should impeachment be "resorted to. Is lying under oath grounds for impeachment? That question was recently asked, and the answer is presumably that a President can lie through his teeth and not necessarily have done an impeachable wrong.

It is important that a President be able to carry out the mandated responsibilities and duties of his office as described in the Constitution. I don't believe that any pacifist is qualified for the Executive Office, because the President is responsible for commanding all of the nation's military power and waging war. Any candidate whose conviction is that the sovereignty of the U.S. should be surrendered to some other organization, or system would likewise be unqualified. But, I don't want this to be an exercise in negatives… nattering nabobs of negativism, beware.

Here are some positive qualities that I believe we should be looking for in our potential leaders, especially the President.

An effective Commander-in-Chief of the military, prepared to use that authority when in his own judgment that force is necessary to the security of the United States. A strong, effective and credible military is the foundation of all effective diplomacy. The CNC, sets the tone for how the military is run, and the military leadership looks to the President for its direction. Our military is highly professional, and a President unfamiliar and totally unschooled in military matters operates at a disadvantage. The military can do some stuff unbelievably well, and at other tasks they are less skilled and equipped. The President has to know what those strengths and constraints are.

I believe that a President should, from very early in their administration, be able to:
· Project an image of strength and confidence at home and abroad, even when that is difficult to manage. Saddam didn't believe that Bush would actually fully commit to a military invasion of Iraq. Bad choice fostered by earlier Presidential half-measures. Carters political face led Iran to remain intransigent until a President was elected who they feared would act decisively. The American economy was "zeroed out" and large numbers of Americans were willing to consider changing to a Communist or Fascist system to escape the Great Depression. They had lost confidence. FDR exuded confidence in the face of terrible conditions, and confidence slowly was restored.

· Remain cool and deliberate in crisis, or the face of adversity. Often in today's world events unfold at a terrible pace, and stark images excite strong emotions. A national leader who has in his personal hands enormous power shouldn't have a "short fuse". Acting in haste more often than not results in waste, as Ben once said. Yet, the President must be able to decide almost instantly whether or not to unlock the football when informed that long-range missiles capable of the striking the U.S. have been launched from what is perceived to be "unfriendly" soil. When the President, his policies, or the nation as a whole is faced with problems or conditions that seem overwhelming, he must remain in control and able to formulate practical and rational solutions.

· Effectively formulate and carry out foreign policy favorable to American interests. A President's policies shouldn't just be wishful thinking, but practical approaches to effectively resolving issues and problems confronting the nation. High-sounding goals that can't be carried out may be worse than useless. Neither should the U.S. President design and implement policies that may benefit other nations, or even the world as a whole, at the expense of our own nations security and well being. If a policy costs Americans jobs, then there had better be a very good payback in the future for those losses. This stuff is not easy. Often the things are not as they seem, and every decisions is a risk with unintended consequences just waiting to reach out and bite.

· Delegate authority, while retaining responsibility. Choosing skillful, knowledgeable, and experienced advisors who can be absolutely trusted is key. Advisors and subordinates carry out without direct supervision much of the routine business of governing. They must, however, know when to carry the decisions up to the boss. Good advisors and subordinates know what information and data are needed to make important policy decisions, and insure that the boss has that information at hand when making decisions.

· Effectively manage the Congressional system to get legislation enacted. This requires experience in practical politics. LBJ may have been the model for this aspect of Presidential leadership. It helps to for a President to have a Party majority in both houses, but often that isn't the case. Far too often the opposition will sabotage, obstruct, delay and defeat vital measures needed by the nation just to confound the President. The system is designed for that to happen, but unless a President can find the means of getting legislation passed, he will have great difficulty in getting needful things accomplished.


· Make informed decisions without undue regard for pressure or popularity. Competing interest groups, all of whom see their own interests as paramount, besiege the President on a daily basis. Foreign leaders want the American President to take courses of action that favor their own ends. Popular opinion at home and around the world is volatile. No major decision can ever be made that doesn't make someone very, very unhappy. The President needs to be strong enough to withstand displeasing huge numbers of people every day, and remain un-swayed by the politician's critical need to be loved by everyone.


Remain flexible enough to revise, or abandon policies as additional information becomes available, or conditions change. It's a fine line that Presidents tread between "staying the course" for policies they strongly believe in, and have staked their reputations on, and opting for change. No one wants to appear wishy-washy, and the opposition will certainly make the most of any change in policy. However, things do change and as more information is learned, we often find our initial judgments need alteration. When things go badly, some refuse to change in the least, others give up, and the best re-evaluate, make necessary changes and move forward. A President has to be that person who takes it all in stride, accepts the consequences and moves on.

Remain loyal to Party, friends and supporters until those loyalties begin to impinge on his responsibilities to the Nation, its security and well-being. No one rises to high public office without the assistance and support of a lot of people, and they are entitled to some expectation of loyalty and appreciation. Presidents always find ways of rewarding their best supporters, and there is nothing inherently wrong with that. A President must make private promises, and give assurances to induce others to "get behind" the President's policies and initiatives. He has to be trusted to keep his word, and remain loyal to supporters of his policies even when times become difficult. Sometimes, conflicts arise between a President's duties and responsibilities to the nation, and his continued loyalty to others. In those instances, a President has to be able to choose the nation and its interests over his own inclination to remain loyal to another.

How shall we determine whether a candidate has these qualities?

I don't think we can put much faith in campaign slogans, advertising, or speeches. Politicians and their handlers know that Apple Pie and Mom sell lots of cheerios. What does that leave us?

The Public Record. Shorn of peoples opinions, what did the candidate do and react in various situations that might inform of thei candidate's past behavior. Were they "forthright and honest", "brave", "considerate", "thoughtful", or were they duplicitous, "timid", "self-serving", "emotional and reckless"? These are, of course subjective judgments, but each voter can do their own evaluations. The longer and more complete the public record, probably the more reliably it will reflect the true nature of the candidate. Its easy to fool some of the People, some of the time, but difficult to fool all of the People all of the time.

We need to be able to read between the lines of the public record as well. One candidate may have years of service in elected office, and done little demonstrate the qualities I personally look for. The public record may not show a candidates level of maturity, or courage, or ability to effectively deal with setbacks and adversity.

The popular press is a part of the Public Record, but in my experience it is very untrustworthy. News is a business, and it reports what will sell and if that is more or less based on some kernel of fact we are lucky. However, it is useful to look back over how a candidate has been treated in the press long before they became Presidential candidates. Glowing tributes may be nice, but they might also only reflect sensitivity to fashion. I'm interested in how today's candidates dealt with adversity, with unpopularity and stress.

All right your turn.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 4,615 • Replies: 40
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ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Jan, 2008 05:10 pm
I agree with almost everything you say... with the possible exception of whether national interest is the sole primary goal of American foreign policy.

But you are missing key parts of what is important...

1) An absolute commitment to American civil rights, especially (although not limited to) those specifically guaranteed by the Constitution.

2) An ability to hold to, and rally citizens around, core American values-- including justice, fairness and compassion.

3) An understanding the Americas impact on the world as the sole superpower our duty to act with responsibility and ethics that go beyond national interest.

4) Leadership and courage to solve problems in ways that are thoughtful and moral. This requires the ability to think beyond political and nationalistic passions-- and the skill of persuading the American public to support higher ideals.

This exercise of thinking in the abstract is very interesting (but challenging).
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Jan, 2008 06:19 pm
I'll take a shot at this one.

A President must...

Have a fundamental grasp of the Constitution and the history of the US including basic historical, legal and social events that have shaped the country. Part of this is a commitment to civil rights.

Be an absolute expert in politics. The President must be able to forge sufficient majorities to move legislation and advance ideas.

Have a solid layman's knowledge of economics, the sciences, world history, and the use of military force (from a political point of view). It is expected that the President will rely upon the many experts at his command to provide expert opinions, but in the end, the buck stops in the Oval Office.

Have a vision for where the country should be at the end of his administration and the fortitude to push for programs that move in that direction. Nothing worse than a directionless Presidency.

That said, my view of the candidates (not counting my agreement or disagreement with them on issues and generally assuming competence unless otherwise displayed) in alphabetical order:

Clinton: Constitution A?, Politics B-, Basic Knowledge A, Vision B
Huckabee: Constitution F, Politics A-, Basic Knowledge F, Vision A
McCain: Constitution A, Politics A, Basic Knowledge A, Vision B
Obama: Constitution A?, Politics A, Basic Knowledge A, Vision A
Romney: Constitution A?, Politics B, Basic Knowledge A, Vision C

Not looking at the issues, any except Huckabee have the personal requirements to hold the office (IMO). Just for comparison, my views on...

Edwards: Constitution A, Politics A, Basic Knowledge A, Vision A
Guiliani: Constitution C, Politics B, Basic Knowledge A, Vision C
Bush: Constitution F, Politics C, Basic Knowledge D, Vision A
0 Replies
 
parados
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Jan, 2008 06:43 pm
Some good qualities presented so far. The problem is and always will be the judgement of who has those qualities is based largely on personal politics.
0 Replies
 
hanno
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Jan, 2008 08:30 pm
Red-hot, electrified, clanking balls of steel.

A deep and abiding respect for individual freedom/liberty.

Logic/Principles/Vision.

In that order, and each taking full precedence over those below.
0 Replies
 
Ramafuchs
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Feb, 2008 02:21 pm
If I were an American citizen
I would ask myself whether
the quality plays any role
in selecting a candidate?
0 Replies
 
Ramafuchs
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Feb, 2008 03:50 pm
The United States brags about its political system,
but the President says one thing during the election,
something else when he takes office,
something else at midterm and
something else when he leaves.
Deng Xiaoping
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Feb, 2008 03:56 pm
Yeah right... and I guess the crackdown of Tiananmen Square with its killing and subsequent torture of participants was a campaign pledge.
0 Replies
 
Ramafuchs
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Feb, 2008 04:18 pm
Ebrown
The pot should not call the kettle black.
Throw not stones while you are inside the glass room.
I am not a blind, balala busharf (Benazir Butto)
or buebue berlusconi
or bibibi Blair
nor I wish to be a
pathetic banal soup-kitchen cleaner of White house
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Feb, 2008 04:19 pm
I greatly prefer any of the candidates we have to the monster in power in China.

((With the possible exception of Ron Paul)).
0 Replies
 
Ramafuchs
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Feb, 2008 04:28 pm
Excuse me please.
I will die without regret or remorse as a die-hard non-violent communist.
Those who were ill- informed or mis-informed about Gandhi and Karl Marx can sip a glass of coke and bite a big mac.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Feb, 2008 04:44 pm
Just to drive home the point.

Deng Xiaoping is not a non-violent communist.
0 Replies
 
Ramafuchs
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Feb, 2008 04:57 pm
Nor your favourite
if you have one .
It is not a question of personal satisfaction when you are not able to go out of your home.

Most of my relatives who had enriched their knowledge and experience had gone back to India.
I for one will die here.- Come what may.
0 Replies
 
Ramafuchs
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Feb, 2008 06:23 pm
Politics is war without bloodshed,
while war is politics with bloodshed.
Mao Tse-Tung
0 Replies
 
okie
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Feb, 2008 11:05 pm
Good moral character mixed with experience. A common sense understanding of this country's history, the constitution, and the problems that face us now.

The ability to inspire optimism in the citizens of this country, to be able to use the bully pulpit to communicate a positive message of a balanced and appropriate platform that is consistent with the historical ideals of this country, which is rugged individulism, individual rights and responsibilities.

The ability to stick to convictions on very important matters, such as national security and constitutional principles, but to be able to communicate and compromise on lesser ones. Fiscal responsibility crucial. Draw the line of federal intrusion into state and local responsibilities.

A good temperament, that is not vindictive, moody, or impulsive. Appropriately deliberate but decisive.
0 Replies
 
Advocate
 
  1  
Reply Tue 5 Feb, 2008 11:27 am
ebrown_p wrote:
I agree with almost everything you say... with the possible exception of whether national interest is the sole primary goal of American foreign policy.

But you are missing key parts of what is important...

1) An absolute commitment to American civil rights, especially (although not limited to) those specifically guaranteed by the Constitution.

2) An ability to hold to, and rally citizens around, core American values-- including justice, fairness and compassion.

3) An understanding the Americas impact on the world as the sole superpower our duty to act with responsibility and ethics that go beyond national interest.

4) Leadership and courage to solve problems in ways that are thoughtful and moral. This requires the ability to think beyond political and nationalistic passions-- and the skill of persuading the American public to support higher ideals.

This exercise of thinking in the abstract is very interesting (but challenging).


I agree with this. But it reads so non-Republican.
0 Replies
 
Ramafuchs
 
  1  
Reply Tue 5 Feb, 2008 04:39 pm
Okie
" Appropriately deliberate but decisive."

My cut and paste which mirrors/reflects my views are
deliberate but not decisive.
Morality is imbibed in blood and not
due to lack of opportunity as one which to project.

Let us differe and still be united to uphold decorum.

Communism and Gandhian views
will face the inevitable death after my departure.
My regards
Rama
0 Replies
 
okie
 
  1  
Reply Tue 5 Feb, 2008 06:15 pm
Ramafuchs wrote:
Excuse me please.
I will die without regret or remorse as a die-hard non-violent communist.
Those who were ill- informed or mis-informed about Gandhi and Karl Marx can sip a glass of coke and bite a big mac.


What do you know, an honest leftist on this forum!

And of course your nonviolence overlooks the fact that violence is required to make everyone be a part of your commune.
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Tue 5 Feb, 2008 06:39 pm
okie wrote:
Ramafuchs wrote:
Excuse me please.
I will die without regret or remorse as a die-hard non-violent communist.
Those who were ill- informed or mis-informed about Gandhi and Karl Marx can sip a glass of coke and bite a big mac.


What do you know, an honest leftist on this forum!

And of course your nonviolence overlooks the fact that violence is required to make everyone be a part of your commune.
"honest leftist", cute, rama is so far out in some other universe that NO ONE pays any attention except Okie. What a weird situation.
So Okie you read the latest on UFO's in Roswell?
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Tue 5 Feb, 2008 09:00 pm
dyslexia wrote:
okie wrote:
Ramafuchs wrote:
Excuse me please.
I will die without regret or remorse as a die-hard non-violent communist.
Those who were ill- informed or mis-informed about Gandhi and Karl Marx can sip a glass of coke and bite a big mac.


What do you know, an honest leftist on this forum!

And of course your nonviolence overlooks the fact that violence is required to make everyone be a part of your commune.
"honest leftist", cute, rama is so far out in some other universe that NO ONE pays any attention except Okie. What a weird situation.
So Okie you read the latest on UFO's in Roswell?


Okie calls it a commune, but since its just him and Rama the word "commune" doesn't really apply.

With two people... it's more like a domestic partnership.
0 Replies
 
 

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