General Question

janbb's avatar

What qualities should a Presidential candidate have?

Asked by janbb (57222points) September 2nd, 2015

It seems like anyone with enough money can decide to run for President these days. Or the name of a political dynasty even if they come with lots of baggage. Now we’re talking about a Biden run but people say he is too off the cuff and makes gaffs.

So what are we looking for – in addition to policies that we favor – in a President? Is there a better way for them to be chosen then the circus we now have? Maybe the old smoke-filled rooms of Tammany Hall were a better way?

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25 Answers

DoNotKnow's avatar

@janbb: “in addition to policies that we favor”

just this

chyna's avatar

Intelligence, general military knowledge.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Honesty and integrity, a sense of history, open minded, respect for diversity and a lot of respect for our armed forces. Don’t be treating them as disposable.

josie's avatar

Old enough to have a well developed philosophy.
Articulate enough to express it.
Executive experience-used to being put in a position to make a reasoned decision and stick with it.
Since the president is Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, it would be a nice plus to have some military experience.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Native born 35 years of age, and a resident of the country for 14 years.

janbb's avatar

@DoNotKnow No personal qualities such as restraint, compassion, dignity?

DoNotKnow's avatar

@janbb: “No personal qualities such as restraint, compassion, dignity?”


The reason I say this is that those qualities should be apparent in the policies the candidate proposes. I don’t want to hear how compassionate someone is – I want to see them propose compassionate policies.

Pachy's avatar

Far more qualities than we’ll get in any one candidate, unfortunately—but the ones I consider critical, in addition to many of the above, in no particular order – include passion and energy; excellent managerial skills; a thorough knowledge of U.S. and global history (augmented by lots of world travel); experience working closely with Congress; military experience, or at least an understanding of, and respect for, its strengths and weaknesses; personal gravitas tempered by a sense of humor; and one of my personal favorites, the disinclination to discuss his/her religious beliefs.

janbb's avatar

@Pachy I have to say that I feel that President Obama embodied more of those characteristics than most of the current candidates although there is still much I disagree with him about.

Cruiser's avatar

To be confident and convey that confidence in a strong believable manner that I feel any true leader must possess especially the leader of the most powerful and influential country in the world. He/she also has to be inspirational to direct the policies of his administration and motivate the citizens of our country to work harder to improve their own lives. The biggest selling point for me is the candidate who will get my vote will demonstrate that they have what it takes to be the facilitator to get both parties in Congress to work in concert to help make their policy promises become reality. Any candidate that works hard to hide the fact that they are connected to special interests will most certainly not get my vote. Anyone that runs for President has made a lot of promises…we all know this and don’t pretend you haven’t!

As to military or political experience I think takes a back seat to the above as IMO a true leader surrounds themselves with people that are smarter than them and expert at the tasks that need done. To expect the President is solely making these big time decisions only exposes that you do not fully understand how our Government works.

I love this question!

stanleybmanly's avatar

@janbb I concur with your assessment of Obama on his qualifications, particularly his abilities regarding logic and assessment. My main fault (aside from the big ones required to actually make it to “the show”) is that he failed for far too long to understand that his opposition could care less about logic or even basic good sense. Worse, was his failure to appreciate that the very fact that such people held office reflected the low mental wattage of the constituencies behind them.

Pachy's avatar

@janbb, I totally agree with your comment. I fear that O may the last of that ilk, but then, I’m sure my parents thought the same thing about their choices.

Pachy's avatar

@stanleybmanly, I do agree. But man, isn’t he on fire right now!

stanleybmanly's avatar

Yes. And I’ll tell you when I understood that he “got it”. Do you remember when he caught hell for that statement that in times of crisis Americans “hug their Bibles and their guns”?

filmfann's avatar

Intelligence, character, and compassion are all required, though too often candidates misjudge the level they lack. Leadership is also crucial. It was the perception of his lack of leadership skills that have doomed Jimmy Carter’s presidency, even though he was quite intelligent and honest.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Carter’s only “failure” was that he lacked the larger than life slap you on the back bluster that Americans want to see in a President. All the “intellect” types including Obama, Nixon and the first Bush suffer from it. The best compromise of intellect and “manly virtues” in a President in my lifetime was JFK. There are times when I wish that Obama had the mouth of Mohammad Ali.

ucme's avatar

Like it or not, above all else, charisma is key.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Yes. Ronnie Reagan taught us that the ideal president is a man who can read a script with conviction, yet remain free of the inconvenience associated with a capacity for abstract thought.

flutherother's avatar

Three things are required; wisdom, compassion and courage.

janbb's avatar

@flutherother Yes, and those qualities are sorely lacking in most of the current crop of candidates.

This may be controversial but while I agree with most of Bernie Sanders positions and will vote for him if he wins the nomination, I don’t really see him as presidential. I do see Elizabeth Warren as a dynamite president though and wonder what the difference is in my perception. Maybe a certain gravitas along with the passion?

Zaku's avatar

Immune to corporate influence.

Cruiser's avatar

@Zaku…unfortunately they would never get elected much less make it through the primaries.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Some of the things I’d like to see in our leaders, including the POTUS, are:-

The willingness to listen, to seek out information from a range of sources and to critically evaluate that information to determine the best course of action for their country.

A willingness to act in the best interest of their country and the global community, rather than in the best interest of winning votes (I know, I’m dreaming!).

Humanity and humility. The willingness to walk in the other person’s shoes. A willingness to admit when they’ve got things wrong but to continue to try to improve things.

The ability to recognise and admit their own biases.

LostInParadise's avatar

Ability to make tough decisions under pressure, good communication skills, able to show passion without losing control. Someone with a bearing that commands respect, who I can point to with pride as representing the U.S. – sorry but Sanders and Trump don’t qualify. Someone who represents the interest of the whole country, rich and poor. It may be too much to expect a politician to be honest, but some basic level of integrity is required. I would like to see someone who is well educated with a good knowledge of history. Some knowledge of economics would be nice too. How odd that Elizabeth Warren was criticized because she was a professor of economics.

Zaku's avatar

@Cruiser If you’re going to resign yourself to that, then I hope you also correct everyone you hear call the US a democracy, and point out it is a corporatocracy.

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