What qualifications or characteristics do you think a president should have? Which of the recent presidents, if any, have had these qualifications or characteristics?
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Like post #4, I place the highest importance on intelligence, but would actually use the word "wisdom" instead. Any leader, but especially the Commander in Chief of the United States, needs to be well-read and experienced in many things. But he or she also needs to be able to choose advisors, make decisions, problem-solve, and know what to say and when, or what not to say and when.
All of these things can be summed up as having wisdom.
I think a president should be flexible. By this I mean he should be willing to compromise, and to consider a broad range of solutions to different problems. Ideologues do not make good presidents, in my opinion. I am not suggesting that presidents should be willing to surrender their core beliefs, but that they not be willing to allow party dogma to dictate their decisions. I think many presidents have been this way, even if their public personas suggested otherwise. Others, though (and I think this was particularly true of our last president, especially in foreign policy) appeared less likely to deviate from what they regarded as some sort of revealed political truth.
A president should be intelligent. I think Obama fits the bill there. The job of a president is so complex that someone of limited intelligence could never do it satisfactorily. Intelligence is not just measured in degrees. A certain amount of business acumen, tact, and streets smarts is needed too.
I don't think that we can really gauge trustworthiness in candidates so I just don't see how we can elect people on that basis. I would like to see a president who is really good at building consensus among people in Congress. I fear, though, that this is practically impossible because our current political climate is so poisonous that it is hard to imagine a president who was not hated by the other party.
For me, trustworthiness and honesty are the foremost personal traits I expect to find in a U. S. president. Certainly, some of our most recent presidents--particularly the Bushes and Bill Clinton--have fallen far short of expectations in this regard. Though he was one of our weaker presidents, I found Jimmy Carter to best personify these personal traits, and I wonder if we will ever elect a president who can look his constituents in the eye and tell the truth instead of resorting to political doublespeak (or, in the case of Mitt Romney, out-and-out mistruths).
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