I’m a bit late on this topic, but I thought it might be worth talking about the qualities the Ricochetti would like to see in an American President. As I’ve thought about it, I’ve come up with five qualities (in no particular order) that I’d like to see each president possess:
Principled Strategic Vision: I want a president who has the ability to understand long-term strategy (as opposed to only near-term tactics) and the willingness to develop and implement strategies that are based on clearly articulated principles. (See, e.g., Ronald Reagan’s strategy for dealing with the Soviet Union).
Love for America: I’m not asking for a jingoistic president, but one whose guiding principles are based on the idea that America, even with its past faults (e.g., slavery), has been and must remain a force for defending and extending the values of Western Civilization (extending by persuasion, not force). Thus, the president must love America and Americans. Extended apology tours should never be part of a president’s repertoire. He or she should believe that America is an “exceptional” nation, and must be willing, when clear national interests are at stake, to project American power.
Obedience to Constitutional Principles: My ideal president must not only honor the Constitution in words, but in deeds. And this isn’t a “living constitution,” but constitutional fealty based on the plain words of the document. This president will appoint excellent jurists to the Supreme Court who share that view.
Rejection of Utopian Schemes: I want a president who knows that man is fallen, that government can only do a few things well (defense being number one), that bureaucracy and the welfare state are enervating forces, and that utopian schemes that rely on government to perfect society or transform human nature always fail, and destroy freedom while they do so. Given this attitude, my ideal president will prefer markets over government regulation.
Confident but Humble: My president must be confident that he or she can, within the proper realm of presidential powers, make government work for the citizen. The president must, therefore, be willing and capable of convincing the nation that things must change by putting "skin in the game" (e.g., by being willing to give up some popularity in order, for example, to scale back the welfare state). Along with this confidence, the president must also have enough humility to accept wise counsel, to admit failures, and to realize that assuming the office is not the same as deification. As part of this humility, I'd like him to believe that God will judge his actions.
It will come as no surprise that I believe Barack Obama fails each of these tests. I believe Mitt Romney has the capacity to fulfill all of them. But even if he falls short, he’ll be much better than the disaster that is Obama.
I’d love to know what principles you would like. Feel free to rewrite mine, if they can be better stated.