How to choose a president

In talking with many about the upcoming presidential election, I have found that most don’t really have a system to make such decisions.  I like to ask folks what issues are the important to them and what their candidate has done in the past that makes them feel they are the best candidate (the best indication of future performance is past performance).  I don’t think many look at the “how to select a candidate” piece but simply let emotion, charisma, single issues or the “What are they gonna do for me” principle govern their decisions.  For example, construction workers vote for the president they think best understands construction workers (e.g. pro union), Venture capitalists vote for the president they think best serves venture capital (e.g. low taxes), and those that receive from government programs vote for those vowing to maintain or increase such programs regardless of overall social contribution.  This is how we have been voting since G. H. W. Bush.  But how can it make sense for everyone to vote solely on what suits themselves best?  It’s not a United States of Me.  Sure self interest is a major consideration in a vote, but it has to be weighed against others.   

We are easily distracted away from better presidential measures: namely performance, or our estimation of potential for performance.  Some new tools (my favorite was this one by american public media) are availible that can quickly help one size up the candidate by the issues in stead of trying to wade through the rhetoric or media slant.  What does the media do to help us?  Not much.  When listening to anything political in nature (campaign adds, news coverage / commentary, people talking, etc.) one should ask: What does this have to do with their ability to do the job?  Pundits have failed to help viewers evaluate the merits of the candidates. They are supposed to help us dissect the hidden meaning, a vague promise, or a mistake of fact.

I have seen a number of studies that indicate what some feel are the most important qualities of a president.  They usually center around being articulate, organizational capacity, political skill, and style.  However, I feel that the most important characteristic is vision and how that vision is shaped.  That vision should be shaped by the founding documents (constitution, bill of rights and amendments).  After a closer look at what our founding fathers wrote, it appears that we have strayed from the path over the last 15 – 20 years.  The most significant shifts have been away from individual accountability and toward redistribution of wealth.  We are seeing the latest effects of this in the world markets.  Bailing these white collar crooks out is the worst thing we could do, teaching the irresponsible borrowers, lenders, and those legislators that originally pushed the misguided ideas of risky loans that they do not have to be accountable for their decisions.  Both of the candidates support massive government intervention because it appeals to the “what are they going to do for me” majority.  As the number of folks contributing to the treasury dwindle and those taking from it increase, that small percentage paying the majority of the taxes that congress is to eager to spend will give up on our current system.  I believe the vision of the founding fathers was that the individual impact of the federal government should be minimal and the local governments would be used to tailor local law that met the needs of those living locally.  Yet today we live in a system where two federal candidates spend over a Billion dollars running campaigns over a two year period to get elected.  There has got to be a better way.  It’s time to reflect and respond.
Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.  John F. Kennedy
Peace through strength.  Ronald Reagan

3 responses to “How to choose a president

  1. I love this post. Thank you!!!!!!

  2. Ash for President…o.k. maybe not, we have seen what someone from Arkansas does in the Oval Office. Great post and you know I can only dream of people taking on more responsibility when it come to educating themselves on government issues. We have become a ignorant, self center nation of free people heading into socialism. So to avoid this, I change my mind, ASH for President!

  3. Sober, sane and well written.
    Best wishes.

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