45 Traits of My Ideal President

A year from now we will (very possibly) have a new president-elect in the U.S. As a registered voter in California, I will have zero influence in deciding the election. But that doesn't keep me from having opinions about what kind of candidate I'd like to see succeed in becoming America's 45th president. The following is a list of attributes that would define my "dream president." Yes, I realize such a person does not and probably could not exist, but one can dream!

My ideal president would be someone who:

  1. Is ethical and principled.
  2. Is eloquent, nuanced, and good with the media (doesn't demonize the mainstream media).
  3. Is well-read and can speak the "intellectual" language without sounding aloof.
  4. Can relate to working people, NASCAR folks and the NPR crowd without seeming inauthentic
  5. Has a record of working with members of the opposing party for the sake of getting things done for the people; can build consensus and temper the intensely partisan nature of Washington.
  6. Has convictions and stands by them, but isn't afraid of compromise.
  7. Does not advocate walls on borders, registries for certain religious groups, stingy refugee quotas, or other fearful/xenophobic policies.
  8. Is a Christian. The authentic, "I think about everything through the lens of Christ-following" kind.
  9. In list of favorite books, films, TV shows, music, etc... has at least a few things that are bold and/or unpredictable.
  10. Believes (rightly) that Clickholeshould win the Pulitzer Prize.
  11. Saw The Tree of Life and found at least some value in it.
  12. Is generally in favor of lower taxes, but willing to compromise and isn't shouting "no new tax hikes EVER!" from the rooftops (we need to be reasonable).
  13. Has read a Cormac McCarthy novel.
  14. Can find Kazakhstan on a map.
  15. Is a good politician in the "I have great relational skills and can win friends of all stripes" sort of way.
  16. Favors smaller, streamlined government, but doesn't see government as a n'er-do-well bogeyman either. Rather, looks for what government does well and has done well historically and what states & the private sector do best, and budgets accordingly.
  17. Genuinely, passionately, actively cares about the poor and suffering.
  18. Has a reasonable plan to simplify the tax code and shrink federal bureaucracy.
  19. Recognizes that America needs to be weaned off of oil; seeks policies that are friendly to clean energy and alternative fuel research/development.
  20. Quotes Pope Francis' "Laudato Si" encyclical often in discussing environmental policy.
  21. Can be articulate and impressive on Meet the Press.
  22. Hated the term "freedom fries."
  23. Cares about human rights and is against torture.
  24. Doesn't want America to be more like Europe, except in having a less car-reliant culture.
  25. Prefers policies that are friendly to small business and favor job creation.
  26. Has the leadership style and familial demeanor of Coach Taylor on Friday Night Lights.
  27. Is pro-life on abortion, stem cells, cloning, etc.
  28. Also pro-life on things like helping the poor, reducing global misery, addressing racial injustice, ending human trafficking, etc.
  29. Has experience as an executive (preferably in business and government).
  30. Loves and cares for his or her spouse and children and walks the talk of pro-family policies.
  31. Sees the separation of church and state for what it was originally intended to be: a protection for religion (against government meddling), not the other way around.
  32. Favors policies to protect the rights of private schools, businesses and non-profits on matters of religious liberty.
  33. Could carry on a winsome conversation with Marilynne Robinson.
  34. Could deliver a compelling, well-received lecture on just war theory at an Ivy League university.
  35. Supports reforming TSA and Homeland Security to make them more efficient.
  36. In general does not have an "America is the police of the world" attitude, but isn't isolationist either.
  37. Doesn't believe in bailouts.
  38. Isn't afraid to stand up to both unions and the NRA.
  39. Has a favorite Radiohead song. Or at least knows who Radiohead is.
  40. Would consider asking someone other than John Williams to compose music for the inauguration.
  41. If elected, won't spend half of his or her time in office fundraising and campaigning for reelection.
  42. Values intellectual nuance, complexity, and avoids simplistic black & white binaries.
  43. Champions faith-based charities and policies that empower the non-profit and volunteer sectors.
  44. Wants the world to flourish, but not because America is the "last, best hope" for mankind.
  45. Isn't perfect.

What sort of qualifications are you looking for in a candidate? 

Note: This post is only slightly modified from a similar "wish list" I wrote four years ago during the 2012 election. Hope reigns supreme!