Choosing From The Basket of Presidential Contenders
No person, no matter what previous position they have held, can ever be fully prepared to be president. The pressures of the job mold the occupants to either grow into competency or expose those that are not.
Qualifications should not be about any governmental experience. It should be about the qualities of the character that have carried the person through life. A person (male or female) that is a problem solver, whether in private enterprise or other field of endeavor. Another is the ability to be a visionary, to see ahead trends and be able to put together both talents and create solutions perhaps where none existed. Someone who also has the ability to inspire others and bring out the best in all of us to work for a common goal.
Leaders inspire with respect and set the example by harmonizing those around them to do their very best in whatever task is at hand, by focusing the energy that strengthens enthusiasm for a common goal. By recognizing the best qualities that define each person and acknowledging that everyone has leadership potential, the leader encourages these qualities to develop in their own right within all those who surround him/her. Leaders know instinctively that the process of inspiration is not forced but is most effective by clearly articulating a common vision and helping each person find their unique talents that will contribute and reinforce their personal connection to that higher, nobler goal, that may have not been as yet reached on an individual or societal level.
No candidate is more qualified to deal with stress, pressure and uncertainty than Senator John McCain. Being held in captivity in Vietnam for five years would have tested and tempered his perspective and approach to power that no other candidate has. However he stands as the lone Republican in a party that failed to stop the delinquent violations President George W. Bush (R) inflicted on the Constitution. The Republican Philosophy precludes any substantial change in the medical care structure, or the Iraq war. Republicans have been responsible for the decline of American credibility abroad.
John Edwards has also faced considerable self-reflection that defines character. Loss of a son and dealing with his wife’s cancer equalizes all factors of wealth and privilege, creating a helplessness that forges strength and introspection. Although these experiences, or that of John McCain , do not uniquely qualify one for the presidency based on experience, they do provide a basis for trust by revealing the experiences that foster identification with the human side that supersedes the politician.
Hillary Clinton, a successful and notable senator for the state of New York as well as New York City, has been around the oval office as one of Bill Clinton’s closest unofficial political advisers. Her experience during the impeachment proceedings would have tested any person’s ability to deal with public humiliation and its humbling effects, an equalizer for anyone facing power. The question will be whether the electorate can separate trusting any woman to be president by recognizing that a man with her life experience would be less of a problem to elect.
Barak Obama, reminiscent of John F. Kennedy, has the enthusiasm and perhaps a vision that the others do not have, but that is partially due to his freshman status, being less jaded by the bureaucracy that Washington DC tends to create. It also remains to be seen if, in the privacy of the ballot box, those that say they would vote for an African-American for president, actually would.
All of these leaders have inspired others, for different reasons. Each define “presidential material”, more so than the current resident of The White House, George W. Bush.
As the presidential season progresses, these are the kind of criteria I will consider first and foremost as qualifications for being president of the United States, when I decide who to support.