What to Look for in a Presidential Candidate

The Confidence of the Base. A Republican president trying to address entitlement reform and the debt will need to cut deals with moderate Democrats like Mark Pryor (D-AR) and moderate-to-liberal members of the GOP like Susan Collins (R-ME). To cut deals, the president must have the confidence of the Republican base. A Republican president must be trusted as a true supporter of conservative values.

Republicans would make a mistake if they nominate a candidate whom party regulars don’t trust in hopes of winning the general election. Any compromise by such a president will be greeted with suspicion as a long-expected sellout -- and the compromise will be undermined, and probably fail, thanks to a groundswell of opposition.

Only a president trusted by the party’s base can be a successful negotiator. A compromise may not be welcomed, but more of the base will be willing to accept it if someone they trust obtained it. They’ll be more likely to understand that the compromise was the most conservative outcome under the circumstances.

Ability to Inspire Optimism. This is vital to long-term economic recovery. Under President Obama, America has received uncertain leadership. As was the case after Jimmy Carter, America needs a boost to its self-confidence to be able to grow and succeed. A nation where the people believe buying gold and food storage make more sense than buying homes and investing is not one that will prosper.

If the American people elect a Republican president in 2012, that president must renew the confidence of Americans in America’s future, not just by being cheerful, but also by being clear that America’s fiscal problems can be fixed and are being addressed.

This is a tall order, and no candidate will be found to be perfect in all areas, but if voters keep in mind the task the next president must achieve and what it will take to accomplish it, we’ll make a far better choice.

Also: Read up on Mitt Romney's primary confusion on the Tatler.