What I Want in a President

I spent a good deal of time trying to come up with something “profound” about the state of the Democratic Nominating process for President. Some of these “profound” thoughts were better than others, but in reading other things that have been written, I came to the conclusion that anything I might say would just be repetition. So, instead of talking about the candidates, or even the constituencies that they supposedly represent, I think it’s more important to start a conversation on what we want out of a Presidential nominee rather than who we want.

The pundits and conventional “wise men” have taken their records and rhetoric and what their advisors have done, and to whom. It’s been played out a million times on TV and in print and on the blogs. While all this information may be useful, it still doesn’t really tell us what kind of President they’ll be. Further, with the media wrapped up in “narrative” instead of “reportage”, the rainbow of colored lenses that make up the punditocracy taints the majority of the information we have received.

I think the Presidency of George W. Bush is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. From the day he got the nomination, I was sure that he would be a crappy President, but never in my wildest dreams did I think that we would be where we are today. I mean seriously, who would have thunk it? The reality of the situation is that we don’t know how any of these people are going to govern if they won. We have no assurances, just assumptions based on the information we have today.

Since I won’t claim to speak for anyone but myself, here’s what I want from a President.

I want a President that will lead the conversation to the left. Someone who will vigorously debunk the right wing conventional wisdom that has trapped us in the spiral of stagnation. Who will fight like hell to make sure that America is living up to the grand ideals that make America great.

I want a President who will inspire people around the world to be better. Who will challenge us to do the hard things that we’ve been unable to accomplish. Who will use the bully pulpit of the Presidency to frame the debate in a way that comforts those of us resistant to change and inspires those of us ready for change into action.

I want a President who represents the people of the United States. Who will challenge corporate interests to serve the greater good over the allure of short-term scorched earth profits. Who will put an end to the madness of corporate welfare and hold those corporate interests accountable when they exceed their authority.

I want a President, who will put an end to our nonsensical foreign policy of arbitrarily favoring one dictator over another. Who will restore our honor in international affairs. Who will use their power effectively without trampling on the Constitution or the sovereignty of other nations.

There are a lot of other things I want in a President, but I think you get the idea.

We all have different ideas about who we would like to be President, but for me, it’s more about the what I want than it is about the who I want. All three of the Democratic frontrunners exhibit the qualities that I list above, to one degree or another. Certainly, I’ve decided on who I believe exhibits those qualities best for me, but if my candidate doesn’t get the nomination you won’t see me huffin’ and puffin’. I’m married to the what, not the who, and that just means I have to work my ass off to get the nominee to represent my what more fully.

My point: What we want, as Democrats, is more important than who we want as the nominee. It kills me to see supporters of the three main candidates trashing each other over stupid technical crap for no good reason other than one-uppance. If we keep fighting for what we want, we will find who we want. If we keep fighting over who we want, we may never get what we want.

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