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Seth’s Ideal Candidate

Seth Andrews, The Thinking Atheist, put this video together of what he considers his ideal candidate.  I think he’s onto something here.  Too many candidates tend to be plain, vanilla people who have never had a real job, done things they regret, or have failed at anything.  Psychologist Nassir Ghaemi, author of A First Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness would tend to agree.  The last person we needed to run the country in the last four years is a monogamous dude who has never known defeat or dark nights of the soul.  (Note that personality disorders, like sociopathy and narcissism, are not the same as depression or mania or other mood disorders.)

Where I differ from Seth is that I do believe there is value in experience for a public servant.  For example, FDR was Secretary of the Navy and Governor of NY. Just like anything else, achieving mastery in the art of governance is aided by experience.  To say that a person with little or no experience is desirable for the highest position of power in the world is probably not too wise.  That’s how we ended up with Obama and he clearly has no idea what options he has available to him to get things done.  Either that or governance is just not his thing.

The distaste for experienced public servants is a mistake of both the left and the right.  The left just hates the idea of politics altogether.  It requires shaking hands and knowing people well enough to anticipate how they will behave so that a selection of carrots and sticks may be applied and all of that is just oogie to them because they fancy themselves to be cool intellectual types who are above all that squishy emotional stuff. When they nominate the cool intellectual type, they tend to be ineffective. Take John Kennedy for example.  His whole cabinet was full of people who didn’t really like politics.  They didn’t like LBJ either because he was too earthy and touchy feely but it was Johnson who got much of Kennedy’s agenda passed because he wasn’t afraid to get in people’s faces and wheel and deal.

The right just doesn’t like government.  It doesn’t really matter who is in charge.  Their business is business.  Whether the various departments work well or not is really not their concern.  Get in, lower taxes on the rich, eliminate as many regulations as possible so that no one is minding the hen house, and get out before anyone attaches the disaster you caused to your party.  Reagan, and the two Bush’s are examples of that type.  Governing well was the last thing on their minds.

If anything, we need a president who actually enjoys being a politician and governor.  We haven’t had one for 12 years now.  What country in their right mind keeps saying, “We have a position open for the most powerful person in the world but we prefer a person with no practical experience in governing.  Poli Sci and International Relations majors also need not apply.  This is a entry level position.”  That’s just a crazy way to elect a president and we deserve what we get.

What makes a good president is a coherent worldview, a vision, a political philosophy, and the abilities and experience to use the power of the position to lead people in the direction of that vision.  You don’t have to be an intellectual genius, you don’t need to be pure in body or spirit and wealth is definitely not a pre-requisite definition of success.  What makes a good president is someone who genuinely cares about people and their welfare.  Think about all of our best presidents and they all have that in common.

I would add one more thing to this list.  A president has to be committed to the constitutional equality of all Americans regardless of gender, sexuality or religious affiliation or non-affiliation.  And that candidate should have a record that clearly and unambiguously demonstrates that commitment.  Because the last thing this country needs is for so many women, LGBT persons and non-believers to be forced to sit on the sidelines because they are convenient paraiahs to target in election years.  We can’t afford to waste any talent.  In particular, any candidate who fails to vigorously defend the rights and equality of women should be immediately disqualified.  A candidate who allows his or her party to kick around half of the population as a political football doesn’t deserve to be president.  Both candidates are guilty this year.

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27 Responses

  1. I just finished reading Matt Taibi’s latest in Rolling Stone, “Greed and Debt: The True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital

    He doesn’t cover anything I didn’t know — I knew that what he describes was done by Bain Capitol to a Kansas City Steel company.

    So, it’s not a surprise. But, I’m posting this link as one example of why I’m NOT going to vote for Romney.

    • It’s funny that we even have to defend ourselves against accusations that we might be Romney sympathizers.
      But it’s even funnier when I think about what Obama might be doing if he weren’t president. I imagine that he’d make an excellent overpaid CEO of some big pharma, schmoozing on the golf course and figuring out how much in bonuses he can collect for dismantling the brand new American labs his company just built.
      Can’t you see it? He’d be the perfect follow up to Jeffrey Kindler at Pfizer.

      • Oh, yes. I think he’d be very comfortable sitting at their table.

        I think each of them (Obama / Romney) is more evil than the other.

        • LMAO! It’s like dueling evil.

        • I’ve never actually seen Deliverance. Is it good?

          • Don’t know. I’ve only seen the song.

          • The movie is better than the book. It was filmed 30 minutes from me. and features some excellent photography. The rape scene is one of the toughest ones ever filmed and has become a bit of a pop culture signal (“I hear banjos”). The plot is good and the characters are well drawn. No women featured, though. btw, your banjo picker works in a local Wal-Mart.

            Oh, and I agree with your post 100%.

          • My favorite movie is The Great Escape. I don’t like chick flicks. They’re boooooooring.

          • I think Steve McQueen made the only boy’s movies that I really like. I loved the Great Escape too.

          • I saw Deliverance the week it was first released. To this day, I get the creeps when I’m driving through rural Georgia and you couldn’t pay me to go rafting there.

            I watch The Great Escape whenever it’s on TCM. It’s a great film.

  2. Poli Sci and International Relations majors also need not apply. This is a entry level position.”

    This brilliance from the “creative class” who called their fellow Americans, West Virginians, Kentuckians, older white women, etc. “low information voters” who were racists out of ignorance. The insult was that they, themselves, have never truly learned from their failures, spent months seeking a new job after being fired, wondering what they did wrong when they lost to someone more adept at screwing their way to the top because it never occurred to them – like “Dance: 10, Looks: 3″ they were simply missing the “IT” value of the moment to those whose posts were secured by their status as legacies, relatives, lovers, useful idiots… Give Romney credit for the discovery he must have made when he faced the loss of his wife to MS. He certainly did some soul-searching during times of doubt and loss that solidifies one’s will to remain faithful to a spouse though gold diggers are throwing themselves at him, to remain focused on the good his project would foster because he needs results more than any quick profit, to be a Public Servant when making money has proven so predictable, … Reflect on the “secure” job you had with a nice company, and most likely, the CEO of that company was a similarly low key, vanilla type who managed to succeed BECAUSE he was the lesser of two evils in the minds of people under pressure who see evil everywhere and can no longer trust themselves.

    • Good answer, except for the whole Romney thing. I think Romney is a very bad example. He was born wealthy, had things fall into his lap, is a monogamous, relatively asexual, conservative mormon. I’m sure his wife went through some tough times when she was diagnosed but her husband had the benefit of distance. It’s not his body after all. And as a mormon, Mitt and Ann are sealed for all eternity. I guess he could have divorced her but it’s not like she would have been left destitute and there’s always the possibility that he loves her and doesn’t necessarily see her illness as a political plus. BTW, I think it’s great that Ann Romney has other interests like horses. I would hate to see certain sports and activities die out just because they happen to be populated with a lot of rich people. I saw a polo match a couple of years ago and even though it’s a crazy expensive sport, I’m glad that some people have the wherewithal to play it. It requires a whole entourage of trainers and specialists so there’s employment there.
      As for the CEO of big pharma companies, they are definitely ruthless bastards who murder the careers of anyone who gets in their way, much like Obama did to Hillary. They can still be plain vanilla personalities who have not had the benefit of adversity to shape them. The common element that bad presidents and corporate CEOs share is their complete indifference to the suffering of others.
      Be careful to not let your anger at the creative class blind you to the reality of what Romney represents. They’re Republicans after all. If you don’t want to vote for a Democrat, consider a third party. If you’re in Pennsylvania, you can write in Rocky Anderson’s name.
      I have a feeling that we will be meeting someday soon.

  3. Seth wants someone who no longer exists: a Rockefeller Republican.

    • I don’t think so. Do you think any Rockefeller ever mowed their own lawn? Seriously, he talked more about people like you and me that have actually had to balance our budgets and may have goofed up on occasion!

      • A Rockefeller Republican just means a liberal Republican. The last reported sighting of a Rockefeller Republican was in 1995, and went by the name of Colin Powell. But it turned out to be a false alarm, and the claim was withdrawn in 2003. The species was formally declared extinct in November 2010.

        Anyway, that’s who Seth is looking for. An extinct political species.

    • I hate to say it but Hillary Clinton meets most of what Seth wants in a president. She held a real job for years in the Rose Law firm in Little Rock. She knows what defeat is like, that’s for damn sure. And when she and Bill were in the White House, they had plenty of personal adversity to deal with.
      Sure, she’s a politician. She’s been a senator and a SOS. I think the experience is good.

      • I agree. She does have a lot of what Seth is looking for. And given the choice between her and what the Republicans now put up, HRC wins hands down.

        But if you take his entire video as a whole, it just screams liberal (Rockefeller) Republican as what he wants. I’d be willing to bet his ideal candidate would be people like Harold Stassen, Mark Hatfield, Charles Percy, and the ever popular Jacob Javits. On the Democratic side, Henry (Scoop) Jackson would be his man, I think.

        I wonder what Seth thinks of Jon Huntsman?

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rockefeller_Republican

        • I don’t get that impression at all.
          To me, Seth sounds like he’s willing to accept a candidate who is off the beaten path. Someone who is not a student council president type.
          As for Jon Huntsman, the guy is a true blue conservative. I did a post about him when he was still running about how he is totally into outsourcing to China. Surprise, surprise, who did Obama appoint to be his ambassador to China? Huntsman. Oh, and Geithner also showed a lot of interest in trade with China.
          Then there’s the fact that Huntsman is a Mormon. I don’t know to what extent his Mormon affiliation has on his worldview but Seth is The Thinking Atheist so I’m absolutely sure he’d be wary until Huntsman assured him he’s only a secular mormon.

          • Maybe it’s time to ask him straight up for a specific example of someone who fits his bill.

            If Seth absolutely requires a presidential candidate to be a secular atheist as a make-or-break condition of support, he’s going to be waiting a long time. The people who are the closest in terms of religious outlook are, wait for it, Rockefeller Republicans.

            Huntman’s no Rockefeller Republican, that’s for sure. It’s basically an extinct political species now, as I said. But he was the only Republican candidate this year who publicly voiced respect for the importance of reason, rationality, and use of the scientific method in crafting public policy. And we saw how well that went over in the Republican caucuses and primaries.

          • WTH?? Secular doesn’t necessarily mean atheist. It means that you are committed to keeping church and state separate. I think Seth is aware of the fact that most people aren’t ready to part with their bronze age gods yet. Fine. Just keep them out of government and your policies. Is that too much to ask? Seriously, is that too much to ask?
            As far as Rockefeller Republicans go, that breed is extinct and Seth’s too young to remember who they were. Heck, even I’m too young to remember who they were. That’s definitely Mad Men territory when I was just a tyke.
            So, you know, bringing up Rockefeller Republicans doesn’t have much meaning. The world has changed. It’s the 21st century. What Seth could get this year is Rocky Anderson, who is also Mormon but a secular one.

          • OK, yesterday morning I went to the Thinking Atheist website and commented at the appropriate place on the blog that it sounded like Seth’s ideal candidate was a Rockefeller Republican, an extinct political species, and asked if that was a fair assessment. I then asked if his dream ticket was something like Jacob Javits for POTUS and Mark Hatfield for VPOTUS.

            My comment was there all day and night yesterday. This morning, it had been deleted without response. It would seem that Seth prefers not to answer, one way or the other. He’s playing his presidential cards very, very close to his vest.

  4. I really enjoyed that video, especially the humanist part. The way elections are run today with vast monies and the stench of overbearing personal scrutiny it is almost impossible for the candidate that is what Seth speaks about to run! Thanks to Cspan today I was able to listen to past Democratic convention speeches. It was beautiful listening to Rep. Barbara Jordan speak about a national community or Ted Kennedy and Geraldine Ferraro speak about the ERA amendment. It is amazing that it could never get done and the Repubs have that crazy platform that gives more creedance to the unborn than to women! Thanks for posting that.

    • Seth’s a pretty good guy. If you like this video, check out the one he did on the afterlife. It’s really good.

    • The ERA was within inches of being passed (it lacked only three states) when the LDS Church decided that it might make their women too uppity. So, they instructed their leaders to stop it from passing and stop it they did. The saddest part is that their women members were the most active foot soldiers in the fight.

  5. One of my FB friends – Bobot – posted a meme. It featured a photo of Romney and asked the question: “ARE YOU BETTER NOW THAN YOU WERE WHEN OBAMA TOOK OFFICE? Under the photo came the “answer” :WE WERE BETTER OFF WHEN OBAMA TOOK OFFICE JUST BY THE FACT THAT BUSH’S TERM WAS OVER”
    I commented that the original question was far from being answered. I concluded we were not better off since the day Bush left office, although sure as hell we should have been. I came back to my page later to see any replies it had been a long discussion there – but the whole thing completely disappeared off my page. I suppose I was de-friended or something. I am pretty sure the inconvenient truth of my comment was deleted.

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