Fifth and closely related to #4: I don’t want a ditherer, I want a decision-maker. Years ago I asked one of my favorite Americans — a great success in business — how he’d done it. “Well it certainly wasn’t brain power,” he said (he’d had a mediocre college record at a middling school). “The most important thing was to keep making decisions. I knew most of them would be wrong, so I watched for them to fail, and then tried something else.”
Sixth: I don’t want someone who is obsessed with doing the “right and proper and good thing.” Sometimes there is no good option and the president will have to choose among various poor, and sometimes even evil, options. It’s a legitimate and urgent choice, and I want a president who will make the best choice available. The president has to make some tough decisions. Sometimes they are terrible decisions. But they have to be made, and only he or she can make them. Like justice, policy delayed is often policy denied. Ask the Syrian and Iranian people about that. Faster, please.
In tough times like today’s, those who have had to make such decisions are more often than not military leaders, and I am convinced that the best group of contemporary Americans are those who have been in war. I’m delighted to see veterans winning political office, and we may yet see a presidential candidate emerge from their ranks, either this time around or in the near future. If there’s no suitable presidential candidate, then I would welcome a vice president from the armed forces.
I don’t expect to find a candidate with all these qualities, but that’s my set of requirements. There are no guarantees, needless to say. Jimmy Carter was a governor with plenty of military experience, and he was an awful president. Someone who fulfills my requirements sounds like George Washington or Abraham Lincoln (or maybe better TR or Jackson), I know. We should be so lucky.