What are we looking for in a President?
With the simple morning question of “What’s the definition of a good President,” there was a flurry of activity on my Facebook page before Santa even got started delivering presents!
There were several recurring themes in the answers I received with this one by Josh Machiavello summing it all up (though I would insert “leader” where Josh says “man.”
“A God fearing man with traditional values, conservative instincts, executive experience, regard for the constitution, political courage, and a passion for reinvigorating federalism and restoring the balance between federal and state power to its originally intended role. (Plus, an amazing track record of job creation to run on in an election that will be about “jobs, jobs, jobs” would be nice too.)”
Josh nailed my thinking on this, as did so many of the other comments. Almost everyone listed (1) “God fearing;” (2) “honest” or “trustworthy,” (3) “defender of the Constitution even when not popular” or “principles over politics;” and (4) “charisma” or “track record of creating jobs” and a ton of other phrases describing effectiveness and ability.
Not coincidently, these descriptions track perfectly with the standard for all political leaders as described in Exodus 18:21:
“Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness.”
For a country boy like me, the simpler meaning of that is (1) “capable of getting elected and doing the job effectively; (2) believes in God, that He is the source of freedom, and has a Biblical Worldview; (3) Honest; and (4) does not want the job and the perks so much that they put politics above principles.” These four qualities are more thoroughly examined in my book Freedom’s Frame.
There is no perfect candidate, no not one (to paraphrase Paul and the Psalmist). People who are unwilling to vote for the “lessor of two evils” are out of luck since Jesus Christ will not be on the ballot. The very reason our founders created a separation of powers with checks and balances is specifically because they believed in Jeremiah 17:9 and the fact that every heart has evil in it. So we do the best we can with what we’ve got where we are! We look for the candidate that MOST meets the four requirements above.
There are seven candidates for president and all of them fail this four part test in one way or another (some of them fail all four parts!). My own thought process has been to think through each candidate and the four qualities and then decide which candidate meets the most important qualities for this particular time in history. All four qualities are important, but if I get down to two candidates that are pretty close to each other on all four categories, then I’m going to go with the one I believe will do the best in category (1); i.e., “able or capable and effective.” Not only is that the one listed first in scripture, but at a time when our nation is on the brink of destruction, we need someone who can lead effectively, not just pound the bully pulpit.
Before I post my analysis of each candidate, which I’ll be doing throughout this week, I’ll be posting questions about each of the four qualities for each candidate. For instance, Mitt Romney will be the first candidate we consider and the first question we will ask will be “on a scale of 0 to 3, with 3 being very capable, how would you rank Mitt Romney’s ability to get elected AND his ability to govern effectively once elected.
Perhaps together, we can influence each other in a positive way in reaching a conclusion about our support in the republican primary election! As you know from my previous posts, I’m currently sticking with Rick Perry, but I don’t vote here in Texas until April. My posts will share in detail how I reached my conclusion and based on your responses to my posts, I could very well be persuaded to another candidate!
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