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How to Pick a President

All this presumes a sufficient number of mature and sensible voters -- a rather long stretch these days. People who put their personal biases and their immediate or local advantage over the wellbeing of the nation as a whole will, regrettably, disregard my not-to-do list. Low-information and no-information voters are pretty much a lost cause; reclaiming them for the nation would be a Herculean labor. Special-interest voters -- aggrieved minorities, race activists, feminists, entitlement recipients, welfare dependents, illegal immigrants -- will favor the most conspicuous benefactor or ally, although in the long run the prehensile ballot will return to haunt them when the economy stagnates even further and national security is increasingly breached.

It must be said, too, that the electoral system and the parties themselves cannot be absolved of responsibility for the parody of electoral propriety that domestic politics has become. A system prone to all manner of fraud, illegality and dirty tactics, skewed by vast infusions of promotional cash, and distorted by candidates who detest each other more than they despise a belligerent and destructive external foe, is already profoundly compromised. The chances of vetting a worthy candidate are correspondingly slim.

Nonetheless, the simple fact is that the personal features that count may be hard to find or discern beneath the smoke and mirrors of political theatrics. But they are not hard to identify: character (trustworthiness, sincerity), knowledge, intelligence (as opposed to mere cleverness), experience in government, business and/or the military, moral fiber, and the gravitas suited to presidential office -- none of which the current occupant can remotely be said to possess.

Ordained minister and radio host Mychal Massie, who is himself black, has memorably written, “I demand respect for the Office of President and a love of our country and her citizenry from the leader entrusted with the governance of same.” Obama, however, is an “elitist Leninist” who displays “disrespect for the sanctity of the office he holds.” Obama (and his wife) “have taken lies, dishonesty, deceit, mendacity, subterfuge, and obfuscation to new depths.” As Massie wrote in a syndicated column titled “Nero in the White House,” “Jimmy Carter will no longer be looked upon as the worst president in American history; Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton will no longer be recognized as the greatest liars in presidential history.” For Obama “has been a failure on every measurable level. His lying is congenital and compounded by socio-psychological factors of his life.” He continues, “Never in my life, inside or outside of politics, have I witnessed such dishonesty in a political leader.” Under Obama’s debased administration, there can be little doubt that the White House has become a whited sepulcher.

Thus, one might say that the best presidential candidate would be the exact opposite of Barack Hussein Obama -- someone who, mentored by patriots with American values and a commitment to American exceptionalism, would bring to his or her position knowledge of and respect for American history and a sense of humility, not arrogance, towards the task of governing. This candidate would respect the laws of the country, would act out of love for the country and a profound commitment to the safety of its citizens, would seek bipartisan cooperation wherever possible, would work to maintain and strengthen those aspects of the American experiment that have made the nation a beacon of light, and would be determined above all to protect American status and power, both on the international scene through a strong foreign policy and domestically by promoting a robust economy and smaller, non-intrusive government.

Realistically speaking, the virtues I have cataloged that make for presidential caliber or areté are not, as noted, always easy to discern and few individuals can be expected to enjoy the full range of such personal qualities. Ideally speaking, it is the solemn duty of both contending parties to field candidates of integrity and the obligation of the electorate to recognize them. Naturally, neither desideratum is perfectly achievable, though it is at least theoretically feasible to strive for the limits of plausibility. To fail miserably in the twin attempts at morally credible nomination on the one hand and mindful recognition on the other is to fail both one’s country and oneself.

The result of such miscarriages over an extended period is observable today: cultural decline, economic debacle, social strife, political degeneration, and international embarrassment. In effect, we see a country hijacked by the radical, third-left wing of the Democratic Party and headed by the weakest (acknowledged as such even by a top Iranian official), most temperamentally autocratic and morally decadent president in the annals of the American republic, the Deinocheirus mirificus of the liberal West’s geopolitical era.

Let Barack Hussein Obama serve as an object lesson and a cautionary tale to the partisan or unwary voter. If no effort is made to inform oneself, to discount irrelevancies, and to look for the elements of presidential capacity listed above, so far as they exist or are detectable in a defective electoral process, one can only anticipate a repeat performance of the political travesty from which the nation is currently suffering, making national rehabilitation ever more unlikely.

Assuming, of course, that the United States has not yet reached the point of no return. If the Potomac has already been crossed, we may as well, if we can, move to Belize.