As I’ve watched the 2016 Candidate Debates—from both parties—I wonder what we should expect in a President? What are the qualities of a strong, high-level leader? And which of the various candidates, if any, best exhibits those qualities? In essence, who do we want to be making those really tough decisions?
On an on-going basis, the U. S. has positioned itself, rightly or wrongly, as the self-proclaimed Leader of the Free World. (Maybe no other nation wants the role.) In that capacity, we continue to spend as much on Defense as the next ten countries combined. Must we? Should we? Can we continue down that path?
For instance, consider what kind of pilot you hope to find sitting in the cockpit as you board an airplane, or the surgeon who will wield the scalpel when you go in for an operation. Generally, we expect someone who exudes confidence, seems to know what they are doing, and looks like he or she has years of experience in that role. That’s not the time that you hope to see someone who reminds you of your grandson. Shouldn’t that be how we would want to view the next President, who will be leading our country, and making the hard and vital decisions? The President’s decision-making responsibility is an awesome one—and a lonely one.
During last Tuesday night’s GOP Debate, we heard the following comments from various candidates: “Everywhere in America is a target for these terrorists.” and “…we’re already in World War III!” (Christie); “We’re just going to go weaker, weaker and disintegrate.” (Trump); (In hospital parlance, the U. S.) ” … is in critical condition.” (Carson); “Our freedom is under attack.” (Bush); “I’m angry!” (Fiorina); etc. All that I heard from the Republicans was: hatred, anger; fear; and that President Obama is not up to the job.
Consider GOP poll-leader Donald Trump’s response to a question, last Tuesday, as to how he would update the aging “Nuclear Triad”, the combination of land-, air- and sea-based nuclear weapons delivery systems. He demonstrated that he clearly didn’t understand the question: because, he merely advocated the importance of nuclear power, but he never actually responded to the question. Also, Governor Chris Christie’s response, as to what he would do if a Russian warplane strayed into his proposed No-Fly Zone over northern Syria was equally baffling. Christie said unequivocally that he would shoot it down! Are we really willing to risk World War III, by giving such characters access to nuclear weapons?
On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton truly wrapped-up the nomination. Considering the concerns about terrorist attacks emanating from the Middle East and North Africa, along with the on-going aggressive posture of both China and Russia, she demonstrated her Foreign Affairs credentials in a comprehensive and clear manner. Senator Bernie Sanders and Governor Martin O’Malley, however capable they might be on the domestic issues, simply cannot command Clinton’s understanding of the foreign affairs and national security issues, and do so well in a rational manner
Once again, consider what kind of President we would want when the next ISIS attack occurs anywhere in the world. And, just think of the controversy of whether the Russian bomber, which Turkey recently shot down, still hasn’t been defused. Soon afterward, Russia installed long-range missiles, with a range of 250 miles, at its air base at Latakia, Syria—just 30 miles from the Turkish border. Tension still abounds between those two nations.
Thinking back to the Republican debates, versus those of the Democrats, the two parties focus is worlds apart, both in content and the emotional level. All that the GOP candidates seemed to display was fear and hatred, while providing no clear understanding of the issues, or what specific actions any of them would take. The Democrats—more specifically Secretary Clinton—offered comprehensive, rational content, and she presented her views in a reassuring manner.
So, who do you want to see sitting in the Oval Office when the tough decisions have to be made?