In electing a President, we tend to think that all we are doing is conferring on an individual a title and passing on the torch. After the individual is sworn in, it is very unclear in our minds as to what he actually does on a day to day basis, and what is the practical work he is responsible for. Because of this, we tend to lose sight of our great potential as a nation and how much the leadership of a great president contributes to the reaching of that great potential.
One of the reasons for this is because people in general are not acquainted with all the different functions and roles, both official and unofficial, that the job of President encompasses.
When one considers the astonishing scope of the responsibilities and duties that the President has, along with how much his performance impacts the lives of all Americans –as well as those of the entire world—it is evident that the President of the U.S. had better be the best of what we have to offer in the current period of time.
One way to get a much more clear idea of an individual’s fitness for the presidency is to separate out the different roles (as well as the different functions in the different roles), and determine if it can literally be envisioned that a particular candidate can execute each of these separate roles passionately and expertly.
- Head of State
- Chief Diplomat
- Commander in Chief
- Head of Government and Chief Legislator
- Chief Representative of the Country
- Leader of the Free World
As head of state, the President is the nation’s chief communicator, encourager, counselor, and epitomic authority. He speaks both to the people, and for the people. It is the singular voice of the President that the people hear and that naturally commands the most unifying experience for all Americans to identify with in times of national importance.
Essentially, anything that relates to the soul and essence of the country, the President, through his role as head of state, can speak to and uniquely energize. From his addresses from the oval office he conveys the hopes and dreams of the nation with all thoughtfulness, hope, courage, and belief in the greatness of God and country. From all the ceremonial activities which he participates in, he reinforces the culture, pride, and activities of the nation.
A few of the responsibilities and actions of the head of state include:
- Promotes Patriotism
- Rallies and inspires the country
- Greets dignitaries from the White House
- Congratulates Americans of special accomplishments in both an official and unofficial capacity
- Throws out first pitch of the baseball season
- Addresses the nation on matters of collective interest and magnitude
As chief diplomat the President is the nation’s leading emissary to the rest of the world, representing both the goodwill and the interests of America. He speaks and acts on behalf of we the people and our representative government to the multitudinous situations happening around the world, as well as establishing new relationships when advantageous to our general welfare. It is essential that the President by all means continues positive relations with allies.
A few of the responsibilities and actions of the chief diplomat include:
- Appoints effective, respectable ambassadors to represent America abroad
- Oversees American embassies and the efficiency of their work
- Effectively communicates and coordinates with the State Department
- Travels to foreign countries at key times to advert disasters and strengthen alliances
- Equips and empowers ambassadors to effectively to work with foreign governments
The United States military is the greatest military in the history of the world. Its primary purpose is to keep the country, and our way of life safe and secure. By extension, this also means protecting our interests around the world and supporting our allies. The constitution not only assigns the President the highest rank of command, but also gives him tremendous latitude (short of declaring war) as to where, when, and how to use the military.
When one considers the awesome responsibility that is laid on the shoulders of the commander in chief it is essential that he be a man of great character, wisdom, and leadership qualities. In terms of his military command, the greatest need of a president is to be a man of strong moral authority who commands great respect. He must have the capability to inspire morale and courage among the troops, as well as impart a sense of pride and surety of honorable action before God and man in the theater of military activity.
A few of the responsibilities and actions of the commander in chief include:
- Keeps us out of unnecessary conflicts and entanglements by using military force with all discretion and wisdom
- Earns through the excellency of his character the highest allegiance of all military personnel, including for example, the respect of 5 star generals who will be saluting him
- Determines the recipients of the Medal of Honor
- Confers with the appointed chiefs of staff regarding military maneuvering
- Defends the homeland
- Appropriately builds and maintains a military that is fit and ready for exceptional performance
- Uses force wisely, effectively and minimally to provide exact desired and righteous ends
- Receives troops returning from engagement including those who are wounded, as well as comforting the family members of those who died in combat
- Stations troops strategically
- Determines military policy
- Uses the military effectively for peace keeping missions
- Protects the innocent and helpless from around the world from evil action leveled against them by rogue or ruthless tyrannical leaders
The President is the leader of a very dynamic and multi-faceted organization that is continuously expanding, becoming all consuming, and has influence over a huge area of both our national and private life.
In essence, the President is the supervisor over the heads of the major executive departments of government that influences, to one degree or another, virtually every core area of American life.
As chief legislator, the president shapes and influences policy through both the specific powers granted to him in Article A of the constitution and through the power of persuasion with the American people.
Though the President’s legislative powers are limited by our system of checks and balances, he still has the ability to significantly impede the ability of Congress to make law. Taken together, the total scope of the President’s impact and authority as both the head of government and chief legislature is incredibly substantial; the President’s persona, talent, skill, values, and character permeate, to one degree or another, virtually every aspect of the governing process and, by extension, almost every area of American life.
A few of the responsibilities and actions of the head of government include:
- Nominates supreme court justices, and other federal judges
- Introduces legislation to Congress
- Appoints cabinet heads to major agencies
- Vetoes Senate bills
- Uses the “bully pulpit” to exhort the country
- Makes unilateral executive agreements with foreign countries
- Appoints over three hundred people to high level positions within the administration
- Gives the State of the Union Address to the Congress and the country every year
- Supports and promotes the true moral and spiritual values of the country
- Chooses a vice president consistent in ideals with the country
- Interfaces with the CIA and FBI
- Appoints federal judges
- Sets and determines foreign policy
Although not a formal title, being the chief representative is the most important role a president plays. In essence, the president is a type of ethical leader. This is because America’s ultimate identity, and indeed her ability to stand or fall before both internal and external enemies, is rooted in her virtue, robust nature, and honor of God. The President is the first emblem of these, and ahead of everything else, is the expressed image of the people who elected him- unlike other nations in history whose leader is not of their naturally free choice. Therefore he should embody the highest and best character qualities and ethos of the people, for he is an extension of them.
In understanding how important this is, not only is the President a personification of we the people, but the people are also a personification of his leadership and policies.
A few of the responsibilities and actions of the chief representative of the country and moral leader include:
- The President communicates through his total being, actions, and core values, the identity of our nation to we the people, the youth (who are the next generation of leaders in the country), and to the rest of the world.
- Models personal conduct in everything from attending church, to speech, to décor, etc.
- Sets the moral tone of the country; promotes common decency amongst the whole populace
- Speaks authentically on important issues, and in a timely fashion to current events
- Directs the national attention toward God in times of both crisis and peace
As head of the world’s greatest superpower, the President is by extension the head of the free world. The free world refers to the nations of the earth that are democratic in nature and which honor the dignity of every human right.
Since the end of the cold war, and even well before that, the United States has played a key leadership role in world affairs, and especially in promoting and protecting democracies and human rights.
There is an inherent expectation that the U.S. will be a force of good in the world, as well as the final arbiter in the preservation of peace and stability. Indeed, other countries have, to one degree or another, looked to America’s example, for direction in matters of governance on the one hand, and explicit help in solving world disputes on the other. This reality means that the President acts as a form of consciousness of both the U.S. and wider world.
A few of the responsibilities and actions of the leader of the free world include:
- Leading coalitions against rogue leaders and threats of terrorism
- Making America strong, and a moral example and symbol of hope for all people
- Identifying critical needs and sending aid to oppressed people around the world
- Promotes value centered representative democracy around the world
- Provides leadership in the U.N.
- Sends military aid to nations in distress
- Keeps America strong so as to be a continual expression of hope and freedom that the Founders had envisioned so the rest of the world could emulate