Our nation’s political identity is wrapped up in the presidency for better - or more recently, for worse. It’s the reason Americans hold the President to a high standard for conduct and performance. It’s part of our American DNA. Regardless of the party of the occupant of the office, we expect presidential leadership.
I’m old enough and jaded enough to understand that the presidential archetype presented by our sanitized history books and Hollywood movies doesn’t really exist, though some of our leaders have come close.
It doesn’t mean the romantic in many Americans don’t find them wanting, searching, desperately seeking a presence in the Oval Office that embodies the American spirit and projects it to the world with confidence.
America needs to be a beacon of strength and freedom in our new, perilous global paradigm. Instead, what we often see on our screens coming from the White House is deflating. It saps the confidence of the public. It makes us wonder who’s in charge. It emboldens our enemies.
Let’s pray that someone who fits the position description below will actually want the job.
Wanted: Individual for incredibly demanding, high-profile job to lead the most powerful nation in the world. Must be willing to answer to 340 million people. Should expect little adulation and a lot of criticism. A positive attitude is a must.
Candidates’ eloquence should be matched by sincerity and substance. A successful candidate should be a highly qualified individual with substantial leadership experience and the fortitude to tackle the toughest challenges in a principled fashion.
The candidate must be an excellent communicator, consistently demonstrating the ability to say the right thing at the right time and in the right tone to confidently assure, rally and console a nation. Must have the mental agility to face the press daily, and the intellectual curiosity to dig deep into issues and avoid the half-truths and hypocrisy that define Washington politics.
Understanding of basic principles of budgeting and finance is a must. Commitment and capacity to work round the clock if necessary are critical.
Candidates should be prepared to give others credit, not crave attention, adulation, and the spotlight, but ready to consistently earn those things through actions.
Individuals must understand clearly that they are not a celebrity hosting gratuitous parties for the rich and famous. Candidates must appreciate that in this capacity they are a historic figure, who has a real, tangible impact on people’s lives, and upon whose shoulders rest more than 230 years of history and the reputation of the nation.
The candidate must have an unshakeable belief in individual freedom as well as equal opportunity, as opposed to equal outcome. Strict fidelity to the protection of all rights enshrined in the United States Constitution is required.
Individuals should not be afraid to get on their knees to pray for strength, grace, and wisdom, nor be afraid to stand up for what is right, not just what is popular. Willingness to admit mistakes is vital.
Should be humble enough to learn, grow and change despite reaching the highest office in the land.
Should have a firm sense of self and well-defined world view. Must be prepared to always speak with credibility, recognizing that the world will take notice of their every word. A person who is modest in victory and doesn’t blame others when things go wrong.
Must commit to working every day to unite the country and harness the positive energy of its people and their spirit. Candidates must inspire others to have faith in themselves and their nation.
A medical examination is required with public disclosure to ensure physical and mental fitness. Having class would be a big plus too.
Candidates who encourage weakness, divisiveness, indecisiveness, and duplicity need not apply.
It’s a tall order, I know. Let’s see who applies. Eight months into the Biden presidency, it’s increasingly clear, Americans’ search for presidential leadership continues in earnest.
• Tom Basile, host of Newsmax Television’s “America Right Now,” is an author and adjunct professor at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, where he teaches earned media strategy.