Tuesday, January 15, 2008

5 Criteria to Look for in a Presidential Candidate

It's what the British call the silly season -- elections -- or more precisely the Primaries. If you're like me you've watched debates, stump speeches and interviews. You may have visited websites and blogs and tried to figure out what each candidate is offering. It can still be confusing. When people tell pollsters that they made up their mind as they entered the voting booth, I cringe.

Deciding on a presidential candidate is a privilege of living in a democracy. Over the last few years as I've researched the early American republic and its leaders, I've discovered 5 criteria you should consider when choosing a candidate.

(WARNING: You will have to think and ponder. You will have to examine your own heart and values and beliefs. You may have to make some hard choices.)

1. The candidate must have a Vision -- a big picture of where they want to lead the nation. They must also be able to tell you what they want to see happen by the end of their four year term.

2. The candidate must be able to make that vision a reality. For some candidates this may be done through their experience and based on their track record. For others it may be based on their ability to inspire others to act through their positive persuasive powers.

3. The candidate must have the proven ability to grow, to change and to evolve. They should have demonstrated that they can continue to examine the facts and change their minds in a principled way, based on changes in circumstances. They must be able to admit both mistakes and evolving thinking.

4. The candidate must have "character." They should demonstrate their values in their actions.

5. The candidate must be willing to be the leader of the entire nation and all the people. To quote James Madison in Federalist 10: They are people "whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, and whose patriotism and love of justice will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations."

Line your favorite candidates up against these criteria. Do they make it on all 5 criteria? Can you say that they make the grade 100%? If not, time to think some more.

Whoever your candidate is, show up and vote. There is an old adage that says people get the government they deserve. I don't necessarily agree with that but if you don't vote, you really can't complain. See you on Primary or Caucus day.


James (JB) Glossinger,MBA, PhD said...

Wow, great thinks to think about! I know one thing for sure we have to get out to vote.

I think taking your 5 ideas will help anyone look to who they are going to vote for!

JB Glossinger

Gabriela said...

Dear Dr. Rebecca,

Your points are so well-taken! Many of us take the selection of the new president as a serious act of citizenship. Looking inside and matching our own values and beliefs with the candidates' will be as important as aligning with their vision and looking up to them to follow their leadership.

Dr Gaby Cora
Executive Health & Wealth Institute, Inc.

Lyra&Caesar said...

Even though we can't vote, kittens appreciate the advice grandma ;)

Gary said...

Dear Dr. Rebecca:

Sounds like similar characteristics to a Level 5 Leader as described in the outstanding book, Good to Great, by Jim Collins. Wouldn't it be great if we elected a "great" leader this fall?

Gary Greenfield
Performance Alliance, L.C.

Marlene Silver said...

Dear Dr. Rebecca,

I wonder what most people would say is there criteria for selecting a candidate.

Marlene Silver

Allison Blankenship said...

What excellent advice -- can you send this a "letter to the editor?" With your background in developing leaders, you need to be on CNN!

Thanks for the concise words of wisdom -- I'll be sure to pass them along.

Enjoy life by enjoying life said...

It would be great if we could get all this inflormation, but we can't at least I can't. I listen and read as much as I can and then make a decision.

Linda Richichi said...

Thanks for the wonderful advice. I'll be sure to pass along your blog address in my emails as I encourage my friends to get out and vote.

maceh said...

I agree, Rebecca -- we are blessed to live in a country that allows us to choose. The worst position that one can take is apathy in thinking that his or her vote does not matter. It does. Just as in business, one must make the tough choices, even when neither seems very appealing!

Mace Horoff
Sales Pilot Medical Sales Training
Medical Sales School

maceh said...


You are right -- we are so privileged to live in a country where we get to choose. Your points for making a selection are dead on, but in the absence of the "perfect choice," it does not absolve the voter of the responsibility of needing to make one.

I think our choices may be better than in the past...we'll see.

Mace Horoff
Sales Pilot Medical Sales Training
Medical Sales School

Dr. Rick Goodman said...

Rebecca, Your blog really hits the mark! If everyone could educate themselves about the quality of leadership we need in this countrythings would turn around quickly for the economy at home and our reputation abroad!

Dr Rick Goodman