1. We don't need a president who can cut through the obstacles presented by Congress, entrenched interests, etc. with the sheer force of his (or her) personality and ideas. We need a president who can masterfully work that system, as riddled with veto points, contradictions, and parochialism as it is. 2. We need a president who speaks the language of power as fluently as he (or she) speaks the language of logic and ideas.
Avoid "compassionate conservatives". Nominate a green eye-shade uncompassionate conservative of the Calvin Coolidge sort who is genuinely committed to holding down government spending. In foreign policy, we need to nominate a hard-nosed realist of the Eisenhower type who will hold down defense spending and avoid wars as much as possible. The same idealistic view of human nature that leads to too much compassion for the lower orders of American society also leads to too much idealism about imposing electoral democracy in backward nations. Right now, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin seems to fit this bill best, but others may develop as well. Chris Christie is currently too close to the neo-conservative idealists in foreign policy, unfortunately.
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At The Washington Post
At The American Prospect