If you were to ask anyone what they want in a President—not just the candidates that we have today, but in general—and you’re likely to get answers that match the qualities of the current candidates. But if you could press further into their thinking, and start to analyze qualities, I bet you’d find this to be true:
I want a candidate that would respond to situations like I would respond to them.
Because, when it boils down to it, I believe that we actually look for people that think and act like us. Which is why when someone connects with us, and we find them likable, we don’t have a problem seeing them in a position of power, but when we find someone that we dislike or disagree with we cannot see them leading us.
Knowing Our Strengths/Weaknesses
I believe that most of us are pretty aware of what we know and what we don’t know. For instance:
- Few of us have ever met a foreign leader.
- Most of us have never been a boss.
- Many of us do not have a grasp of complex economic concepts.
- Few of us can run a business meeting, let alone understand Roberts Rules of Order.
The list continues on, but there are many qualities and experiences that we lack. And we look for our leaders to have those qualities. We want our leaders to know how to behave on the world stage, and to understand those things that we don’t grasp.
But in the end, we want them to agree with us. We want them to have our principles, to have our ideals, and once they have the data, to make a decision that is consistent with those principles.
This is why character counts. This is why the discussion of track record is so important. This is why I don’t think a legislator makes the best candidate for the executive branch.
You see, a legislator is rarely a leader—most of the time he’s a compromiser. He’s someone who seeks middle ground, and he often has to compromise in order to get things done. This means that there will be votes that he wishes he didn’t make that can be twisted to say anything apart from core principles.
Character counts because we want to know that what a person says he believes is what he truly believes—because when the data’s all in we want them to make a decision based on principle, not on prudence. We want him to take the hard road when he has to, to make the tough call and weather the storm that follows. We want him to take responsibility and even if it’s unpopular, make the call consistent with principle.
Why? Because inside, we believe we’d do the same thing.
Anyone Can Truly Be President
It’s not just a cute thing to say, but it’s also not easy. It requires discipline of character1. It takes a lot of work, and a consistent life.
Anyone can become President. Few will, but that should not stop us from living lives that would be worthy.
- Who you are when no one can see.