The Conversation

It's Never Too Early: Principles for Picking Presidents, 2016

The Republican Party, Ari Fleischer said earlier this year, is one presidential election away from unity and success. I disagree--there is much work to be done before then, and not necessarily in Fleischer's preferred fashion. However, since leadership is probably what is needed more than anything else, defining the kind of leader the GOP needs is also a way of talking about the principles and tactics to which it must commit.

Let me suggest--to get debate going--three principles that should guide the process of picking a president:

1. Governors first. There really is no preparation for the presidency, but being the chief executive of a state comes closest. Senators, as we have seen with Obama and Biden, often make poor executives. (In Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, they make fine opposition leaders, but neither has really run anything big.) Other backgrounds--U.S. Representatives, business leaders, etc.--are not disqualifying, but are secondary at best.

2. No governors who have taken Obamacare funds. The GOP's opposition to Obamacare must be total. The ill-fated Romney candidacy proved the folly of running a candidate who lacks credibility on this issue. There are several successful Republican governors in "blue" or "purple" states, who have succumbed to the pressure and temptations of Obamacare's "free" money. Good for them, maybe. Bad for the country.

3. No one who cannot articulate their social views. I don't particularly care what a candidate's social views are, within certain limits, but candidates should be able to a) explain them, and b) explain why they are, or are not, relevant. After 2012--and the bruising Virginia gubernatorial campaign of 2013--the dangers of having a candidate who cannot articulate these ideas well should be fairly clear to everybody.


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