The First Presidential Candidate Arrives, and We're Already Going About It the Wrong Way

[mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ], former Solicitor General of Texas, has barely stepped into the empty presidential ring and media narrative is judging presidential candidacy for all the wrong things.

The buzz is about a “big-money crisis” and being “completely unelectable” or lacking “experience” and “eligibility” and “likability” as the party and media establishments alike chomp on their cigars in search of the one who will draw the most bets and bring them the greatest rewards, though they will not personally suffer enough to learn a lesson whatever the outcome. They are professionals, and this is their industry, the sport of kings. They know good breeding (à la Bush or Clinton bloodlines), grooming, training, and handling when they see it.

Except this is not a horse race (though Cruz would be a snazzy racehorse name). The goal is not even winning a race per se, and victory is not ultimately in the hands of the candidate. The point is to hire a new U.S. President capable of doing the job properly. We the People are the employers.

Sure, there is no use pining for the days when James Madison’s presidential campaign expectations consisted of little more than handwritten letters. Pageantry and sensationalism are now part of the game. But there should be a difference between judging a presidential candidate and judging a beauty pageant contestant.

We are culturally conditioned to expect more from a president than we should, and what we ask for is what we will get. Thus, if we want a president who has a constitutionally limited approach to the executive branch, we have to take a constitutionally limited approach to the executive branch ourselves.

Article II

Constitutionally, no presidential candidate should pledge “no new taxes,” because taxation is the responsibility of Congress.

Constitutionally, no presidential candidate should be expected to singlehandedly reform the laws of abortion, marriage, and education, because ultimately these are the purview of the States.

Constitutionally, no presidential candidate should promise to create jobs, because other than government jobs, the presidency does not provide this either.

Constitutionally, no presidential candidate should have to talk about health care or handouts for the same reasons.

Employer and employee alike must understand the job description. Besides being at least 35 years of age, residing in the U.S. at least 14 years, and being a natural born American citizen jus sanguinis (by blood) or jus soli (by soil) so as to have no foreign loyalties, being U.S. President has the following job requirements:

  • Ability to take Advice and Consent in making Appointments and Treaties

Being a good listener is crucial to the role of U.S. President. He must be able to surround himself with wise advisors, appoint federal officials and judges as well as make treaties only if he has the advice and consent of the Senate (with few exceptions – Article II, Section 2). This exercise in discernment begins during the campaign when he must choose on his own who will be Vice President.

  • Ability to be Commander in Chief

The president must have a fairly working knowledge of the U.S. Armed Forces and be able to take counsel in the appropriate authorities, and shall commission officers (Article II, Section 2 and Section 3).

  • Ability to give the State of the Union address to Congress

This is when the president is actually supposed to recommend ideas to federal legislators (Article II, Section 3).

  • Ability to take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed

Per the root word, a chief executive is in charge of carrying out the law. The president is supposed to enforce federal law (Article II, Section 3). This includes exercising oversight and organization of the federal bureaucracy, taking the lead in deciding which agencies and departments should be added or removed. An impartial sense of justice and understanding of the legal system are needed to wield the presidential powers of reprieve and pardon (Article II, Section 2).

  • Ability to receive Ambassadors and other Public Ministers

The U.S. President is the head of state and government and thereby is the top authority in dealing with world leaders (Article II, Section 3).

  • Must vow to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States
    (Article II, Section 1)

This includes being able to keep his boundaries and respect other equal authorities, such as Congress, the Supreme Court, and the States.

Evaluating a candidate with a legislative background is going to be somewhat different from evaluating a candidate with an executive background and so forth, but the principle is the same. Article II of the Constitution provides the basic guidelines that apply to any candidate’s true job readiness – not a pundit’s likability litmus test.

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