Dr. Ben Carson has officially announced his candidacy for president. My first thought was, “A doctor, someone who cares for sick children? As president?” That prompted me to ask myself (and you too) this question: what characteristics would most Americans like to see in our next U.S. president? Here is a checklist.
Approach to the Job - How Will They Make Decisions?
- Problem solver, not ideologue
- Committed to Americans, not to a party or group
- Uses systems thinking–practices good medicine
We want someone who solves problems based on the problem itself, not based on a political bias (right or left), crony protectionism, or some pre-determined outcome. In healthcare, we want the medical care we need when we need it without going broke getting it. In education, we want future generations to be the most highly educated and thus most productive/competitive in the world. We want our president to approach national problems the same way a doctor approaches a sick person: “I will do whatever it takes,” period.
To a physician, all patients are equally valuable. The good doctor treats the sickest first, not his best friend. We want the same in a U.S. president. That is particularly true for party affiliation. We want a president of and for all Americans, not a Democrat or Republican president.
Credit Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images
The problems a president faces are “system” problems. The last thing we want is a micromanager. To truly fix a system problem requires systems thinking, not a piecemeal or ideological approach. An effective president treats the underlying reason for why things that don’t work.
The systems thinker (good doctor) understands you cannot control people, you can only influence. Further, you need evidence before you decide, well, anything.
If this sounds like what a doctor does, it is! So, who is better able to do what our country needs than a well-trained, experienced physician?
To demonstrate the utility of a medical approach to national problems, we can look where this approach was not used: healthcare.
- A good doctor, like Dr. Ben, would not treat symptoms of over-spending and limited access. He would determine where the money is going; why access is limited; and then fix their causes.
- A good doctor would not recommend treatment without having evidence that it works. Doing so constitutes malpractice. Contrast to “Doctor” Nancy Pelosi saying, “We’ll have to pass it to find out what’s in it.” Can you imagine your medical doctor telling you to take a pill while admitting she didn’t know what was in it?
- A proper doctor, like Ben Carson, would never, ever force treatment on a patient who doesn’t want it. What does that say about “Doctor” Barack Obama when a majority of his patients–We The People–don’t want his Obamacare therapy?
Core Principles - Who is This Person, Really?
- Believes in freedom and the personal responsibility that comes with it
- Knows government serves people, not vice-versa
- Is politically incorrect
- Believes in a societal commitment to assist those unable to care for themselves
A true American president knows that this is the “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave,” not Land of the Entitled and Home of the Victims. This country can be exceptional (and is) without taking away from the greatness of other nations.
Americans do for themselves. We do not expect the government to do for us. We want the government to get out of our way so we can develop, grow, and achieve on our own. We DID “build that.”
We, the non-elite, share a core principle about the relationship between individual and government: the president, elected officials, and federal bureaucrats serve us, not the other way around. That is called a fiduciary relationship, just like the doctor-patient interaction. The patient, or voter, voluntarily cedes his/her autonomy to the doctor, or president, so that the doctor (president) can serve the best interest of the patient (voter.)
At the same time, we want a president who understands that Americans want a social-medical safety net for those among us who are unable to do for themselves. This is just like a doctor treating a heart attack patient without first demanding payment up front.
We want a president who is “politically incorrect.” What does that mean? It means a president like John Locke (the original Liberal), Ben Franklin, or Thomas Jefferson.
This nation was founded on a bedrock of civil discourse and disagreement. Read the Founding Fathers to see how much they verbally fought with each other. There was no such thing as political correctness. They had strong differences of opinion, discussed and ultimately resolved out in the open. Dissent was and is the American way. True patriots say what they think, not what others want to hear, and certainly not whatever falsehood will get them re-elected.
A president who reflects our core principles would openly and proudly say what I just wrote. Dr. Ben Carson has both written and spoken all of the above. Listen to him at the famous National Prayer Breakfast in May 2014 with the president and first lady sitting to the right of the podium with plastic smiles offering desultory applause.
Background/Experience - Where Did They Come From?
- Not professional politician; outsider
- Common man (or woman)–not from the elite; from under-represented group
- Past decisions prove his/her good judgment
In a criminal trial, your fate is decided by a “jury of your peers.” Is the “jury” in Washington that decides the fate of our nation made up of your peers and mine? Quite the opposite!
The halls of Congress and the corridors of the White House are populated with the elite, a tenth of the 1 percent, all Ivy League graduates with advanced degrees in everything except life. They are professional politicians. Their primary function is to get re-elected. For a second term president, his primary function is to solidify his legacy so he can, like Bill Clinton, make $89 million just from speaking gigs after he leaves office.
You and I would like one of us in the oval office, not a professional politician. We want an outsider, an individual of the people. How about a president who is a black man raised in poverty in Detroit by a single, illiterate mother; a boy who went to public schools there; and who eventually became a world famous brain surgeon? If this sounds like a great American success story, it is. If that sounds like the kind of person we want in the White House, Dr. Ben is.
I urge my fellow Americans to apply the same standards as shown above to any candidate for the highest office. Use it like a checklist to see how they all stack up.
Dr. Deane Waldman MD MBA is author of award-winning “The Cancer In Healthcare;” Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics, Pathology and Decision Science; and Adjunct Scholar (Healthcare) for the Rio Grande Foundation, a public policy think tank. Dr. Deane also sits on the Board of Directors of the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange, as Consumer Advocate. Opinions expressed here are solely his and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Board.
TheBlaze contributor channel supports an open discourse on a range of views. The opinions expressed in this channel are solely those of each individual author.