In 2016, the country will have an opening for a new president; a single slot to be filled. Currently, there are a lot of applicants who will eventually be pared down to two candidates. How are we going to evaluate them for the job when there are no rules, no checklists, to guide some 250 million voters in the selection of our president?
We all recognize that the presidency is an immensely difficult job; perhaps the single most difficult job on the planet. It will take a special kind of man or woman to deal with, in a satisfactory manner, the multitude of challenges that they’ll face. In fact, that term “satisfactory” may be one of the most difficult aspects of the job; how do we define “satisfactory”? How will we measure success or failure?
Usually when someone is hired to fill a position, there are specific requirements of the job that can be measured. Periodic reviews provide an opportunity to compare an employee’s performance against what is expected and to help the employee recognize what needs improvement. But a president’s “job” is so much more difficult to define. So many events are unique; many (if not most) come with challenges that have never happened before.
We’ve never had a single unified job description for the presidency that defines exactly what skills, traits, or experience are necessary to help voters select an individual to do the job. If we were to create one, it would likely contain criteria that no one individual could hope to achieve – except perhaps a former president.
The political parties have a major impact on who the eventual candidate is and therefore they’re vetting the field of applicants according to their own criteria – and what they’re looking for isn’t necessarily what the ordinary voter would prefer.
Today, most entities depend on a Human Resources department to create job descriptions and identify the skills, experience, and education that indicate (at least on paper) that an applicant is a likely prospect for a job. Once HR analyzes the applications and culls out those who don’t fit the specifications, the qualified applicants can be interviewed in person and a final decision can be made.
And this is where we really screw up the traditional HR hiring procedure.
Think of the country’s voters as being 250 million individual Human Resources departments, each of us defining our own qualifications that we’ll consider when selecting an applicant for our party’s candidate for the presidency. That has got to be messy, right?
Each of us has a single vote – one vote – at least that’s the way it’s supposed to work. How each of us determines who will get our vote varies widely and is based on anything from the candidate’s race (as in 2008 and 2012) up to and including, name recognition, gender, religion, and physical attractiveness.
That is the subject of this treatise.
Over the coming year or so, the applicants vying to be a party’s candidate will be “interviewed” by the voters through political advertising, speeches, interviews, etc. and based on our individual criteria, each of us will decide who we’ll vote for; let’s say that we’ll vote for Candidate A.
But why did we choose Candidate A instead of Candidate B?
I’m glad you asked.
I’m writing this to illustrate my own personal metamorphosis. I readily admit to an evolution over the past couple of years, with that change becoming more solid over the past few months. I’ve changed my tune. I’d like to think that I’ve evolved.
After witnessing Barack Obama’s tenure in the White House, I’ve come to the conclusion that the single most important thing that must be evaluated in our next president is ideology.
President Obama is a perfect example that illustrates why ideology is the single most important aspect of a presidential candidate’s qualifications. There is little that Barack Obama has accomplished during his six years as president that I agree with. He is a polar opposite to my personal philosophy in every way and I’ll be glad when he’s gone. All of his other qualities pale in comparison to his political perspective.
What would his previous experience, education, or achievements matter if his ideology is so out of sync with mine?
It’s my belief that a president doesn’t need a genius-level IQ; any reasonably intelligent individual will suffice. I know that some might argue that point, but consider this: a president has almost unlimited access to the most brilliant minds in any discipline. He/she doesn’t need to be knowledgeable on every subject; there is simply so much help available.
For another piece I wrote, I counted about 60 individuals with the title of “advisor” among a list of the Obama White House salaries, so he/she can ask questions or request studies from any of them as well as other experts in the private sector. Most “experts” would be honored to provide advice to the president (paid or unpaid).
In other words, the president need not be an expert in any field; he/she has an army of advisors and consultants who can be relied on for research and assistance to support making decisions.
This also holds true when drafting legislation, preparing budgets, developing foreign relations strategy, etc. It’s not necessary that the president be expert in those areas so long as he/she can call on others who do have the necessary expertise to conduct necessary research and provide factual information.
The president is primarily a judge, an arbiter making decisions.
I’ve determined that I want MY president to be infused with conservative values, a genuine love of the United States, and a commitment to our Constitution. The combination of those traits becomes my number one prerequisite for selection and a weakness in those areas is reason for rejection.
I used to think that a governor would make a better president than a Senator simply because a governor had the executive experience of managing a state. I used to think that a first-term Senator was too inexperienced in national politics to be considered because a rookie simply couldn’t get things done.
But after seeing how Barack Obama has run roughshod over the senior Republican leadership of both the House and Senate (complete with their 20-year veterans), I no longer believe that to be a requirement. Even with all of his legislative inexperience, his lack of managerial background, he accomplished a lot – all damaging to the country in my opinion, but his inexperience didn’t stop him from doing immeasurable harm to our United States.
I’ve changed my tune; ideology and judgment now trump everything else.