Un-Reasons to vote for a President:
1. Unity - Unity for what purpose? Unity of itself is a hollow shell, waiting to be filled by meaning. A unified team of professionals can both rob a bank or save a life. A promise that one will reach a bi-partisan compromise is fraught with Constitutional problems. I am convinced that one particular party is dominated by those who want to recreate American society into its grand utopian vision. A compromise with those individuals is a pyrrhic victory. This is because every compromise takes us a step away from Constitutional principles, albeit not as big as Teddy might like. They are masters at incrementalism. These compromises then weaken the conservative party either because of disgust by its constituents, or a slow melting of principles once held dear.
2. Change -- Same as above. Change of itself is mere action. People want action from our federal government, for some reason. I would like to see action, but action on correcting so many of the grievous errors they've foisted on us (McCain-Feingold, Earmarks, Amnesty, etc.)
3. Personality -- Personality is important. However, electing on personality alone is setting up your executive branch for demogoguery. In interviews over who people are going to vote for (no matter the candidate), I hear personality being cited the most (he speaks well, he sounds like he cares, he's got what it takes...). This is dangerous. When an individual cites policies with no clear delineation of the principles underlying then (Obama) or if it contradicts his past record (Huck) many people can then attach their agendas to that candidate. These attachments will hold no weight when that person is in office.
Reasons to vote for a President:
1. Principles -- The foundational principles that one subscribes to both in the campaign and in historical demonstration of experience will shape the decisions that are made in the future. This is the single most important consideration, but the one most overlooked.
2. Policies -- This is the next most important reason, but not because of particular policies. One should look at whether or not the candidate's policies are consistent with stated principles. You should look to see whether or not principles are consistently held throughout changing political environments. If they fluctuate, they are NOT deeply held.
I would take the use of force very seriously. I would be guarded in my approach. I don't think we can be all things to all people in the world. I think we've got to be very careful when we commit our troops.
The vice president and I have a disagreement about the use of troops. He believes in nation-building. I would be very careful about using our troops as nation builders.
Candidate George W. Bush, October 3, 2000
(As an aside, I do believe he meant what he said when he said it, then 9/11 occurred which required him to re-think. My point is that, as a governor, this belief was merely theoretical-- having had very little foreign policy experience--and thus much more susceptible to change.)
3. Virtue -- An individual of high character will not be swayed by the waves of courtiers whispering sweet promises. He will not cower before foreign leaders. He will not govern by popular opinion. He will not bend founding principles to pursue the siren song of utopian visions.
We need an individual of high character with correct principles and consistent policies. This is the type of leader we should be voting for. Read this book for six stellar examples.