Grading out the choices for President

Riding the Roller Coasters

I have ridden the roller coasters this political season.

First came the roller coaster of who will run.

Next we were lead through the longest ever debate roller coaster.

Now it’s time for the primary roller coaster.

Mistakes and things that make you throw up

The first two coasters have made me a bit ill and yes there has been the taste of throw up in my mouth on occasion.  My choice for the whole ball of wax was Mitch Daniels, both before and after his “social truce” comments.  I’m still holding out hope for him at a brokered convention.

The debates were painful to watch unless you were a Newt fan (which I wasn’t).

I’m okay with anyone other than Ron Paul (more on that later).

Mostly, I’m disappointed with myself for forgetting the first war of presidential politics which is, of course, elect a governor.  The reason that this is important is that you want someone to run the country who has run something else as an executive.  Senators and house members for the most part are people who are designed to bring home more stuff to the folks back home.  They are by nature compromisers and they have always had the institution to hide behind.  Part of what I see in Obama is not simply the fact that he thinks that big government is the solution to everything, but that he just has no experience running the show.  Because of that, he tends to blame others and have an inflated view of himself (like claiming recently to have accomplished more in his first few years than every president other than FDR, Lincoln, and Johnson).

Laying Out Criteria

I said in early 2011 that people rather than getting caught up in the games needed to lay out their criteria for President and stick to people who met it.  At this, I have failed miserably.  Instead, I’ve gotten caught up in the polls and sound bites just like the rest of you.

If I were to design a perfect presidential candidate, this is what that candidate would look like:

1) He or she would have done time as a sitting governor.  This is number one for a reason and mentioned redundantly for a reason.  Governor’s do Presidential things on a smaller scale.  They are comfortable with going it alone when the situation warrants it.  They are comfortable with using the bully pulpit to get things done.  They are comfortable with leading and being hated.  Weight: 30%.

2) He or she would have at their core the instincts of being a small government conservative.  Our country (even our Republicans) are moving away from Freedom towards Security.  As someone pointed out the other day, there is no endeavor (whether it is starting a business, buying a gun, or even selling lemonade) where you don’t need some sort of permission from the government.  Heck, you aren’t even going to be allowed to buy the  kinds of light bulbs that you want any more.  Weight 30%.

3) We need someone who is strong on social issues.  As we weaken the social strata of the country, we weaken the country. Weight 20%.

4) I am afraid that I am out of luck on my fourth criteria and that is to find someone whose foreign policy is to represent the interests of the United States overseas.  To intervene only when the interests of the US are at stake instead of either ignoring the world and letting crazy countries get nuclear weapons (see Ron Paul / Iran) or thinking that we should go and be everywhere (everyone else).  Ronald Reagan did not fight for freedom everywhere.  He fought where it mattered.  Weight 20%.

5) Extra Credit: +10 points for having a world view that doesn’t classify you as crazy (either supporting truthers or thinking that the rest of the world is better than America).

The Candidates

So let me set them up and knock them down (there is a summary at the bottom of the page for those who don’t care about the details).

President Obama

I’m starting with Obama because I want us to understand how the current president stacks up (I’ll number the criteria as we go):

1) Grade 75%.  I feel the need to give him some credit for time served.  I suppose that he has learned about the job a bit while doing it.

2) Grade 0%.  Exhibit A — The Porkulus.  His grade is only this low because you can’t go negative.

3) Grade 0%.  (see #2).  Obamacare.

4) Grade 0%.  Let’s turn stable nasty dictators who just want to run their countries into unstable, Islamists who want to rule the world.  Egypt? Libya?!!!?!!!

5) No extra credit.  Sorry, America is special and if you want to run the place, you better believe at least that.

Final grade: F (about 25%)

Herman Cain

75% for his business experience, but an incomplete for the rest of class.

Final grade: Dropped out.

Ron Paul

0% on the first criteria. 100% on the next two. 0% on the last one. No extra credit.

Final grade: 50%.

Michelle Bachmann

0% on the first criteria. 100% on the next two. 25% on the foreign policy.  5 pts of extra credit because some days I’m not sure here.

Final grade: 60%

Rick Santorum

0% on the first criteria.  50% on the small government. 100% on social. 25% on foreign policy (wants to fight everywhere). 10 pts of extra credit.

Final grade: 50% (yeah, I’m not thrilled with the boomlet).

Newt Gingrich

25% on exec experience.  90% on small government. 50% on social (personal behavior counts), 50% on foreign policy.  +10 pts.

Final grade: 65%

Mitt Romney

100% on the first criteria. 50% on the small government (Romneycare –no, lower taxes — yes). 75% on the social (I think, but ask him next week what he believes).  50% on foreign policy. 10 pts extra credit (almost tagged him here for the whole dog incident).

Final grade: 80%

Jon Huntsman

100% on the first criteria.  75% on small government (takes a hit on AGW). 50% on social (takes a hit on changing marriage). 60% on foreign policy (at least he understands China well). 10 pts extra credit.

Final grade: 84%

Rick Perry

80% on the first (we’ll hit him on debating for those who care).  100% on both small government and social.  75% on foreign policy (at least he has the right idea of asking people why we should continue giving them money).  10 pts extra credit for not being nuts.

Final grade: 99 %

The Summary

When they get to the Georgia primary and it’s time for me to vote, I’ll take the below list and whichever of these guys and gal are rated highest and still actively running then they will get my vote.  In November, I’ll use the same list.

A — Perry

B — Huntsman

B- — Romney

D — Gingrich

D-  Bachmann

High F — Santorum / Paul

Low F — Obama