What Makes a Good President

Steve Bainbridge thinks we should take a break from good ol’ boys next November and elect a non-Southern president who’s knowledgeable about high culture, science fiction, football, and is otherwise very much like Steve Bainbridge.

I’m not fully sold on those criteria, however, which is not surprising considering that I’m a Southerner who doesn’t smoke cigars and, like Alan Jackson, prefers his sushi Southern fried.

UPDATE: Steven Taylor also detects some similarities to Bainbridge in Bainbridge’s standards and finds himself falling woefully short.

FILED UNDER: 2008 Election, Blogosphere, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Bithead says:

    I wonder if there isn’t something deeper to be said about this. The Democrats tapped into this one to a limited degree over the last few cycles, talking about a government that ‘looks like America’, usually reffering to inclusion of moniorities.

    (Arguably, they included the minority to the exclusion of the majority which was the reason for ’00 and ’04, and I would argue their vision of what America looks like is the result of some hallucinogen or other, but all that’s perhaps beside the point for this outing.)

    There is something in each of us that wants to see people in leadership positions that is not unlike we ourselves. We are comforted by the concept that their experiences and thereby their viewpoints, are not all that different from our own.

    Based on this concept, I suggest two things:

    1: That’s why the trend has been away from voting, the least number of cycles… people see nobody that fills that need, and thereby feel they have no real connection with those asking for votes.

    2: By the same token, the popularity of a candidate is going to mesh almost exactly with how well said candidate looks to a particular group of voters, because of the need I spoke of. Which I take to be one reason Fred Thompson has been doing so well, without even saying he’s running. There’s a lot of identification with his style, and his way of looking at things… something that’s been transmitted to us loud and clear of late, inclduing during those Paul Harvey broadcasts of late.

    There’s a lot to be said also, for the idea that the illness the Democrats created… Bush Derangement Syndrome… is alternatly serving them, and coming back to bite them. The left end of the party is looking for leaders who are taken with their illness. And the remainder of the party is just begining to understand that people with that illness are an unreasoning lot, and are likley to disconnect them from the middle-right, where most of the voters are. Thus, no more Clintonesque majority come ’08.

    It’s going to be an interesting cycle.

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    It may have escaped Professor Bainbridge’s attention but the population center of gravity in the United States has moved south. I have my own theories as to why this might be including one heckuva lot of rent-seeking but that it’s true is undoubted.

  3. One big reason for the move to the South is the warmer weather. Which means Blue staters should want global warming to keep populations (and electoral power) from emmigrating.

  4. TheHat says:

    I don’t care. I like Southern! And I really hate Yankee Liberal Know-It-Alls. And 99% of Libs come from the rusty northeast or the Peoples Republic of California.

  5. I want a President who can recite Monty Python, remembers the PDP-11 instruction set fondly, whose favorite science fiction was not written by L. Ron Hubbard, is overweight, despises jocks and all their works, is a teetotaler and nonsmoker, and believes in a God whose creation has enough room for natural selection but who draws the line somewhere on human behavior.

    Such a President would, by remarkable coincidence, be very much like me. He would also be a few sigma off the mean, and therefore unelectable.

    Does Bainbridge not consider himself a few sigma off the mean? If so, is he right?