What criteria should the American people use to evaluate presidential candidates?
James Carville said during Bill Clinton’s 1992 election campaign, it’s “the economy, stupid.” The left always says it’s the economy because the secular progressive agenda focuses on destroying capitalism. Promising to redistribute (some of) the wealth is their plan to stay in power. Many on the right think it’s all about the economy as well. Their agenda secures power through their crony capitalist friends. They are wrong too.
The American people must reshape the agenda for the 2016 elections –
“It’s LIBERTY, my friends.”
The grassroots of America feel their freedom being hemmed in on all sides. The next president must be focused on preserving, protecting and defending liberty. This is the guiding principle that will best serve our economy, strengthen foreign relations, and address the day-to-day concerns of Americans.
The Liberty Test has four parts that focus on principles, power, policy and the people. Let’s begin with the principles that form the foundation of American governance and culture.
The Declaration of Independence describes the core American values:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…
The Preamble to the Constitution lays out America’s mission:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Liberty for all is the heart of America. Kris Anne Hall, a constitutional attorney and former ctate prosecutor, travels the country teaching the constitution. She describes liberty this way, in her book, Sovereign Duty:
“Our founders knew that Liberty is a combination of two equally important parts – it is FREEDOM under the constraints of a SHARED MORALITY. Liberty cannot survive where there is pure freedom. Pure freedom is man doing whatever is right in his own mind regardless of what it does to others: cheat, lie, steal, murder. Pure freedom is chaos. At the same time, Liberty cannot survive with moral law alone. Moral law not mingled with freedom is theocracy. Theocracy in the hands of men is tyranny in the name of religion. Our founders attempted to give us this balance and secure the blessings of Liberty for us in our founding documents. When we abandon our founding documents and disregard our moral foundations as we are doing today, Liberty is put in peril.” (Page 12)
As you follow the candidates, are they talking about liberty at all? In what ways are they honoring our founding documents and moral foundations? In what ways are they disregarding them?
The founders stressed the importance of high moral character. John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Three of the four constitutional requirements for the presidency address this idea of morality in our leaders.
First, the president must be a natural born citizen. Their loyalty to the United States should be unquestionable. How does your candidate exhibit their faithfulness to the United States? Are they proud to be an American?
Second, the president must be at least 35 years old. While that seems young to us, the average age in late 18th century was 40. During your candidate’s life, have they acquired leadership skills, common sense and wisdom?
Third, before the president assumes office, the Constitution requires that he or she take the following oath: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” This oath points to a candidate’s honesty, integrity and humility. Does your candidate exhibit these moral qualities?
Nearly every president since Franklin Roosevelt has added the phrase, “So help me God.” Honestly, if ‘In God We Trust’ is the motto of our nation, shouldn’t it also be a guiding principle for our president? (That is not a religious test for office!)
We seem to be focused on wanting candidates with political experience. While that has some bearing on their leadership style, constitutional adherence and character are more important. Political experience, or the lack of it, does not guarantee that the president will uphold the constitution and the liberty of the American people it is designed to protect.
President Obama has repeatedly violated this oath by exceeding his constitutional authority. There are candidates in both parties who embrace the ethic and believe “the ends justify the means.” We need to eliminate them from consideration.
Our liberty will only be preserved if the people do the hard work of identifying the candidate whose personal, professional and political life exhibits the highest of moral standards and embraces the foundational principles of America. Remember, “It’s Liberty, my friends.”
Is your candidate a liberty candidate?
Next: The Liberty Test – Part Two – Liberty and Executive Power