10 Things I’m Not Looking for in a President

May 18, 2011

Primary season (that silly time when potential aspirants for President schlepp around Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina in an attempt to win their party’s nomination) is upon us. As a fairly conservative Christian, I’m anticipating the primaries. I do respect our current President and feel he’s done an admirable job on some tough issues. I also admire his dedication to his family. But I’m likely to choose a more conservative alternative, mainly because of the issues like abortion, traditional marriage, and government spending. I’m not under the illusion that a change in party will fix all the problems and I’m not pinning all my hopes and dreams on a particular movement. I also don’t think any of the candidates are “God’s candidates.” Nevertheless, I must eventually vote, so I need to start thinking about some of these things.

Around primary season, voters typically look for the candidate most in line with their values. They typically have a list of things the candidate must be in terms of issues, etc. I thought it would be interesting to post a list of things I’m not looking for. Here’s my ten:


1. I’m Not Looking for a Candidate Who Delivers the Most Stinging One-Liners about the President. Some voters just want read meat. That’s why Donald Trump was popular for a few weeks. He was willing to say anything in criticizing the President. But I’m less interested in what a candidate says in primary season than what his record of accomplishment is.

2. I’m Not Looking for a Candidate Who Checks the Most Right Boxes. Come primary season, candidates will pretty much be anything. They’ll have a change of heart and be pro-life after years of pro-choice advocacy. They’ll swing wildly on positions like immigration, spending, etc. And voters, many of them, fall for this. And they sort of compare scorecards and the guy with the most right boxes checked gets the vote. Not me.

3. I’m Not Looking for the Candidate Who Says the Most Christian Things. I’d love for the next President to be an evangelical Christian, but that’s not the single requirement. I also am turned off by tortured statements of faith by guys trying to win the mythical “evangelical vote” as if Christians just vote someone who claims to have Jesus as His Savior. Some candidates have genuine faith in Christ. Others don’t.

4. I’m Not Looking for Someone Without Personal Character. Ideally I’d like a candidate who displays personal integrity. The job of President is hard and lonely. Every day presents impossible decisions. What is the man’s internal compass? Has he proven himself to be wise and humble, capable of summoning the wisdom of God and advisors to bear on tough choices?

5. I’m Not Looking for a Candidate Who Agrees with Me On Every Issue. I’m guessing no candidate will agree with me on all the issues. That’s okay. Honestly, I don’t agree with my wife on every issue in life! I’d like a candidate who I mostly agree with on the big issues who has demonstrated real leadership in their previous position. I’d rather have a guy who agrees with me 80% of the time who is capable, than a hack who agrees 100% of the time who doesn’t know how to lead.

6. I’m Not Looking for a Down-the-Line, Party-First Guy. I understand being loyal to the base, the party, the people who got you there. I get that. Still if you read history, you’ll not that often a President has to go against his base, his party, for the good of the country. This takes real courage and confidence. Hacks are dime a dozen. Leaders are hard to find.

7. I’m Not Just Looking for the Most Pro-Life Guy. I had to get this out there. Chances are, all the candidates in the upcoming Republican primary are pro-life. I am profoundly pro-life, not because I’m conservative, but because I believe the Bible calls believers to “love justice.” God is the author of life. God is therefore, pro-life. That being said, I’d like to vote for someone who is pro-life, but is also a leader in other areas and has proved to be an effective solution seeker, who has a track record of governing well. I know a ton of people in the world who are pro-life. I wouldn’t want them anywhere near 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

8. I’m Not Looking for Someone Who Simply Wants to be President. This is hard to tell and motives are easily misunderstood in politics. The truth is that many people subject their lives and families the the strict scrutiny because they love their country. But, I’d like to vote for someone who feels called to this position, who feels a sense of duty, who really envisions themselves leading America through tough challenges. Getting elected is the easy part (relatively speaking). Governing is the hard part.

9. I’m Not Looking for Someone Who Ignores the Other Side. Even if the next Republican nominee wins the election over President Obama in a massive landslide (unlikely), he will still have to deal with the reality of the other side, half of America who opposes him and offers different solutions to the world’s problems. Will he be willing to roll up his sleeves and work with them? Will he value any of their ideas? Will he endeavor to be the President of all the people while still holding firm on his core ideals?

10. I’m Not Looking for Someone Who Ignores the Least of These. I’d like to vote for someone who thinks not only of the rich and powerful interests, but also the average working man, the poor, the elderly, those who can least help themselves. This isn’t an appeal for more government hand-outs, per say. But I’d like the President to think deeply about the ramifications of his policies. I’d like him to try to please more than opinion writers, talk show hosts, and bloggers. I’d hope he’d have a fear of God and a desire to stand in as God’s servant to the people.