The bigger more important question is what makes a great president?
"But we've never had a female president, so how can you decide whether a woman would be better than the men we've had in the Oval Office?"
Point taken but seriously, it's not just a question of pants versus skirts. It's bigger than that and, obviously, much more serious than that. The bigger, more important question is what makes a great president?
Certainly we've known presidents of many stripes, from the good, George Washington
and Ronald Reagan
among them, to the bad, Woodrow Wilson and Jimmy Carter
among them, and everything in between. When looking at potential presidential contenders, be they men or women, I would argue that it's not about gender; it's about what qualities make for an excellent president. But alas we are asking the question, which gender makes for better presidential material?
The Oath of office of the President of the United States calls for he or she to "...solemnly swear (or affirm) that [they] will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of [their] ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
I would say the idea candidate must possess great leadership skills, be decisive and respect themselves, their constituents, this country, the US Constitution and our military. They must also be effective, inspire those around them to greatness, believe in the greatness of our country, engender respect, be able to balance the federal budget and have a solid understanding of our economy and what affects it and they must be fiscally conservative. Finally, they ideally would possess a solid understanding of current events worldwide and how our foreign policy affects us and the world.
Let's begin with leadership skills. We've learned during the last 3 years that a person who has never had leadership experience cannot effectively lead. While that should be a no brainer, apparently it's not and being able to read eloquently off a teleprompter does not a great leader make. In fact, anyone who wants to be in the Oval Office must be a strong and decisive leader, unflagging in their resolve, willing to be bold and make the decisions necessary to run our country effectively. They must be willing to compromise and have the humility to realize when they're on the wrong path, seeking counsel on when to change course.
Leadership skills are essential for anyone wanting to be an effective Commander in Chief, man or woman. Indeed, there are many women who've built their own companies from the ground up, who've been put under tremendous pressure of some variety, made important decisions under that same pressure and they've come out on top, knowing massive success. Women have also successfully helmed many a Fortune 500 company to great growth and success. In all great companies, armies and countries, subordinates as well as constituents look to their leaders for a clear vision, decisions that clarify and delineate clear goals, and the cheerleader in chief, believing in the best in their company, military or country.
Decisiveness is also critical. Unlike Obama, the president must be able to make decisions, given the information he or she has, and accept the consequences of those decisions. He or she must know when swift action is necessary, such as when we had actionable intelligence on Osama Bin Laden
, and when we have time to review the details, with the federal budget for example. We have known great women in history such as Margaret Thatcher, Angela Merkel and Corazon Aquino who've done fine jobs running their countries.
It has been said that nothing about war is easy. Regardless of where a person might be in the chain of command, everyone has decisions to make and consequences of those decisions with which they must live. When leaders, like Obama, are indecisive and must take poll after poll prior to making a decision, they engender fear and a lack of respect. Indecisiveness can be costly at best, deadly at its worst and nobody respects an indecisive person who makes a decisions and then waffles or someone who uses semantics to defend a bad decision.
The ideal candidate for the presidency of the United States must also have self-respect and respect for their constituents. This means listening to the people and remembering that if 60-some percent of the people say 'no', the answer is no. It's about the people. A candidate must also earn the respect of those around them and those beneath them because while threats and coercion get things done, they aren't nearly as effective as respect. The most effective leaders are respected.
A deep and abiding respect for the U.S. Constitution is also critical. If you don't believe in it or you believe you're entitled to circumvent it because you're the president, you shouldn't be in the White House. If you're going to take an oath to preserve, defend and protect the Constitution, believing in it to begin with would be helpful; in fact, it should go without saying that that's necessary. This isn't a gender issue it's a common sense.
The right man or woman for the job of the presidency must also respect our men and women in uniform. They must respect the institution and the families who support our brave men and women. This support cannot, in fact must not be lip service as it in this administration. Like having a gun that everybody knows about in your possession, we have the strongest, finest military in the world not so we can bully and engage others in battle but because it serves as a deterrent. It's common sense that a burglar won't touch the house with the armed owner but will go across the street to the house without an alarm system or armed owner.
What our military is, who these fine men and women are and why they voluntarily choose to do what they do must also be known, if understood and, more importantly, supported. Without question, a president who would derail budget talks by threatening to suspend military pay should not be in the Oval Office, as they do not truly respect the military.
Barack and Michelle Obama
Barack and Michelle Obama evaluating a non-vegan beer. Every president that moves into the White House adds a new feature, whether it’s a bowling alley (Nixon), a movie theater (Nixon again) or an extra large bathtub (Taft). When Obama moved in, he added a basketball court, and another first— the first presidential micro-brewery. | Photo: Getty Images |
I would like to believe that no president sends troops into battle without a heavy heart and great consult. When they must send our troops into harm's way for whatever reason, it's critical that the president abide by the War Powers Act if they've not previously asked for Congress's permission. Giving our men and women a mission and respecting them enough to support them in word and deed throughout the mission is also important. Give Congress oversight is also a sign of respect.
Any public office, but the presidency in particular, should be held with the idea that it is yeoman's work, as opposed to 'what's in it for me?' A presidential candidate should be running to improve this great country, strengthening her and cheering her on, instead of running all over the world apologizing for her and taking the blame for every last one of the world's ills. Being the president involves tremendous sacrifice and a real, steady passion for this country, for the people of this country and for making her and her people great and prosperous. That is neither male nor female. It's just plain American.
The right candidate must be willing to make tough economic decisions, as they would in their own families, knowing that yes, they will hurt but it's the right thing to do. They must have the fortitude to say 'no' and they must comb through the budget and encourage logical, if difficult, spending cuts, streamlining where they are able so they may grow far more efficient. It's doable, we just need a president willing to do it.
The right person must also offer common sense solutions, especially where none has been tried before. When a blizzard shut down D.C. earlier this year, 'non-essential government workers' were told to stay home. 80% of federal employees are non-essential. The right candidate for president would realize that's a massive problem and a great opportunity to save money.
It's critical that, unlike our current president, any candidate for president have at least a basic understanding of how our economy works. Business management skills help a person better understand how companies work, the roles of both corporations and small businesses in our economy and the how banks, real estate and other industries, energy among them, fit into the economic pie. Understanding that the government doesn't create jobs but rather creates favorable conditions for businesses to want to hire is also critical.
Being effective for the country and the people is necessary and part of being effective means not pandering. It means doing what is in the country's best interest and signing legislation only when it's been read and understood by the congress that's voting on it. Women are more effective at this than men, especially the women who realize that they are in fact women and not men. That realization usually comes with a steel spine.
The ideal candidate would encourage real transparent governmental operations. Be honest with the American people. Obama may not think we can handle it but we can. We survived and thrived in the wake of 9/11 and have done so through other great tragedies in this country's long history. Sharing the truth might sting but it's necessary. Both men and women are able to shoot straight with the people.
When the question of whether a man or a woman would be better in the Oval Office, it's about the right person with the right motives, rather than about gender. While everybody running for office has an agenda, some are more interested in working toward the good of the people and the country than others. There are certain women, Michelle Bachmann
among others, who would someday be a good fit for the presidency because she is selfless in her desire to serve others and works hard, never mind effectively, for her constituents, without concern for what others think; what her constituents think matters.
Contrast Bachmann with Nancy Pelosi
who takes every opportunity to harpoon her opponents though she'll admit, if asked, that she has not laid eyes on the legislation she's criticizing nor has she reviewed a summary of it. She bashes to bash. But she's going to lift up absolutely everybody by passing healthcare reform which '.you'll have to vote for so we can look at it away from the fog and see what's in it', as if it's a present not law!
"Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did only she did it backwards and in 4" heels."
The point of the quote not lost on me, in all positions in all industries, women leaders must do so from a place of personal power and equal work. In other words, when they've worked hard to get where they are, they've grown through positions to where they are, they will have earned respect.
Today men and women running for office possess a lot of the same qualities necessary in a great president. The differences are policy based not belief based. The biggest question people often ask of women has to do with decision making and emotion although I'd argue that many a man has cried, privately, during moments where decisiveness is called for. I would rather have a woman look misty sitting in the Oval Office, knowing she must send our troops into harm's way than a man without any kind of emotion doing the same, as an example. In terms of strength, respect, intelligence, fiscal and leadership responsibilities, I believe women are equal to men andwe'll have a strong, sharp woman leading the United States in 2016.