Since there must be some criteria for discrimination when determining a viable candidate for a political office it is important to prioritize attributes that fit the office.
We often see people elected for superficial reasons and then wonder at the results ( or lack thereof ) they achieve.
A likable person is not always an honest person or even a good decision maker. A poor decision maker no matter how popular is not a desirable leader. Good decisions lead to success in obtaining desirable results. Poor decisions inevitably lead to disasters. A person who cannot decide is one who doesn’t know how to prioritize and lacks vision to set the goals that lead to a hierarchy of values. A person who makes bad decisions has the wrong hierarchy of values and ends up implementing action that is contrary to his own interest.
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For some examples of these types of decision makers we need only to look at the campaigns they launch.
When a person can only attack the opposition this is a clue that they have no vision for political activity other than a grasp for power. Power to do what? Anything they want. What do they want? More power and the retention of power. Exhibit the campaign of the most consistent Democratic candidate in the 2004 presidential election. John Kerry attacked the policies of President Bush instead of offering alternatives. This is why he voted for resolutions before he voted against them. He couldn’t decide. President Bush could decide which is preferable to not deciding but what he decided was based on a poor hierarchy of values. President Bush decided the freedom of Iraqi citizens trumped the welfare of the American people. He authorized billions of dollars to rebuild a country we had decimated while waiting for that county’s “leadership” to institute law and order. Only now when the failure has become so apparent did he decide to change course and set requirements for the Iraqi leadership to achieve in a timely manner. This shows the advantage a poor decision maker has over a lack of decision maker. John Kerry would no doubt still be trying to play the blame game as he was doing with his feeble campaign for 2008.
Why didn’t he outline a sensible strategy during his 2004 campaign? He had none to offer.
When viewing the 2016 hopefuls the rational voter will look beyond the popular and the pretty for a glimpse of the methodology the person uses to make decisions. Does the candidate have a history of honesty and courage or do they have a pattern of deceit, evasion and a reputation of a lack of integrity? Are they forthcoming when confronted with criticism or in a state of denial? If they cannot decide they cannot lead. If they have shown instances of poor decision making ability ( indicating a poor hierarchy of values ) this identification of their character disqualifies them for the office. It does no good to have a popular leader that is headed in the wrong direction. Not knowing what direction they are headed in is equally repugnant. The fact that there are many candidates for 2016 anticipating the beginning of the campaign instead of plotting a course for the direction of the country tells us they will have little to offer as positive.
There are only two directions for the United States.
Either we reinstitute more freedom for the individual via less government or we take away freedom of the individual and create a more intrusive restrictive government. There is no status quo to cling to. The political direction is either toward more freedom or less. There are no candidates who recognize this and are willing to declare which way they prefer to travel. All candidates want to head in one direction on some issues and in the opposite direction in others. They believe this is a moderate view. But it is not a moderate view, it is a compromise between the individual’s rights and the government’s power. Only the least attentive would not recognize in which direction this compromise is leading us.
To counter this “popular” methodology by the wellspring of poorly qualified candidates it behooves the concerned voter to ask each and every candidate, “ How do you make decisions?’ and “What is the most important value to you, individual freedom via a limited government or expanding government at the cost of liberty?” And a follow up question would be, “ Why should we believe you?” If enough candidates were faced with these questions in a public forum there would be a recognition that politics as usual is on the road to extinction. Such questions are fundamental and need to be answered by candidates. If they will not ask and answer them themselves, the rack of public inquiry needs to be imposed.
At this stage of political disintegration it is no longer sufficient to vote for a candidate because, “ I like him”. He or she may have a pleasing or vile personality or an image of presidential stature but this will not be the determining factor as to their suitability for office. They must be able to decide effectively and they must have the recognition that the direction their decisions take the country must be guided by limiting the role of government to it’s nature, i.e. the protection of individual rights of its citizens. An adherence to proper well defined methodology in making decisions and setting priorities based on values consonant with individual rights trumps the personality that is likable. We need leaders whether they are popular or not.
General Patton was not popular with those he led but he knew what to do when conducting warfare. He only became popular when the victory was won and the results of his decisions became apparent. Victory was his goal and all of his decisions were determined by this single minded objective. Not all his decisions were popular or even correct, but that doesn’t detract from the achievement It is this virtue we should look for as we ponder the candidates.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author and are not not necessarily either shared or endorsed by iPatriot.com.