Friday, October 17, 2008

What I look for in a president

Now that the presidential campaign in the United States is finally entering its last stretch, let me expose my thinking about what I look for in a president, whether it is this year or other years.

  • The president should be an exceptional person. It is an exceptional job and it requires exceptional abilities. The interact with world leaders that are also exceptional people.
  • The president should be surrounded by competent people. Competent, but not with vested interests. For example, the Secretary for Agricultural should not be a farmer, but should still be competent, and himself be surrounded by competent people.
  • The president should listen. He cannot know everything, and gut feelings are sometimes wrong. Also, environments change and decisions need to be revised.
  • The president should understand that there is something between white and black. Learn about the pros and the cons, and take both into account. Incorporate side effects into decisions. Listen to minorities.
  • The president should be a leader. Once decisions are reached, he should be able to rally the administration and especially federal staff towards implementing them.
  • The president should be an explainer. Sometimes, unpopular decisions need to be taken. The president should be able to convince people that this is the right choice.
  • The president should be open to challenge. He should welcome challenging questions from the press. He should answer question in Congress.

Note that I did not mention any opinion on policy. The two candidates are very close in this regard, and at this point policies are secondary to my points above. And besides, there is always a gap between election promises and actual outcomes once reality sets in.

1 comment:

T-Bone said...

Many of the reasons you list are pretty much why I supported Obama over Hillary. With Hillary as pres, I imagine the back-and-forth partisan battle just continues, and the population continues to be uniformed and adhering to one or the other set of talking points, no middle ground.

But Obama seems to want to explain issues and acknowledge valid points no matter where they come from. I think he's moved a lot of angry liberals to be more reasonable rather than simply anti-Republican. He's also more appealing to the center and the right than someone who would be more divisive.

I think that's the start of a new kind of politics. A lot of people will follow his example. And if he does well, I don't think the crazy right wing can ever hold power again. The Republican party would need to reform into something new before they might actually have the support of independents.

If they were to continue to nominate these single-minded idiots like any of the candidates they had this year, they'll never win. They'd need someone who's a reasonable centrist. And with a better informed public, just claiming to be centrist wouldn't work. Their policy proposals would have to reflect it.