As postulated in my previous article, authentic leadership — both in government politics and real life — is demonstrated by sometimes having to put highest principals above calculated self-interests in addressing highly controversial issues.
Focus group-tested sound bite pitches transparently attempting to appeal to broadest target audiences and approving media pundits may sometimes score temporary waffle-message polling points, but often at the costly expense of long-term public trust.
Fully recognizing that no campaigning candidate or policy will appeal to everyone — not by a long shot — overall, the public values and deserves confidence in leadership judgment, fairness and a compass of constancy to get our nation through tough domestic and dangerous global times.
While some members of that public won’t like various clear vision and policy statements; some won’t be paying attention, just wanting government and politics to stop interfering with their lives; a great many will want very specific information about common and contrasting positions to guide their voting and donation decisions.
After all, there’s lots of topics that people of all political stripes need to know about regarding where various candidates stand on vital domestic and foreign issues.
And yes, true leadership often requires courage to express enormously difficult priority trade-offs that go against popular narratives.
In response to questions posted by conservative television host Tucker Carlson to declared and likely 2024 presidential candidates, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has received strong blowbacks from many members of both parties for opposing continued Ukraine and other foreign war spending.
Gov. DeSantis tweeted, "While the U.S. has many vital national interests ... becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them."
Republicans in particular have cooled on foreign interventions over costly military failures in Iraq and Afghanistan, with a February Reuters/Ipsos poll showing a 50-50 split regarding whether America should continue to supply Ukraine with weapons.
Whereas former President Donald Trump agrees with DeSantis on this, other GOP presidential contenders, including former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and former Vice President Mike Pence stand on the other side of this tragic and contentious issue.
Nevertheless, assuming the U.S. continues to fund the Ukraine-Russia war “so long as it takes,” what does that really mean in terms of equating allowable costs and risks to end goals that define success?
Here, above all, what are America’s most important military and other national defense priorities?
For example, what policies should be pursued regarding China economic and military threats, ranging from intellectual property theft and money manipulation to potential Taiwan invasion and other neighboring South China Sea offensives?
There are also numerous domestic presidential and congressional candidate policy priorities and strategic positions responsible voters will wish to know about.
Like, for instance, how will each of them work to curb rampant Biden administration inflation and get the economy back under control while preserving critical entitlements such as Social Security and medical benefits without putting more burdens on the backs of middle-class wage earners and taxpayers?
What can and should be done to bring fiscal lending and investment discipline to irresponsible banking practices that threaten to destabilize America’s financial structure and put smaller regional banks out of business?
Regarding energy, should America continue to dole out endless subsidies for wind/solar and electric vehicles which depend upon rare earth minerals from China while simultaneously allowing federally supported Environmental Social Guidance (ESG) rules to divest essential money manager investments away from fossil sources?
What should a GOP administration do with many millions of illegal migrants that will have crossed America’s open southern border during Democrat White House control; end sanctuary cities and states which have encouraged this; and combat powerful narcotic and sex trafficking cartels?
How do presidential candidates view the federal government’s role in prosecuting crime, ending cashless bail, and ensuring that Second Amend rights for citizens to protect themselves are not eroded through arbitrary firearm restriction designations?
Should the Department of Education controlled by powerful teachers’ unions be abolished; voucher system school choice opportunities be incentivized; and parental rights to prevent racially divisive, unpatriotic, and age-inappropriate sexual indoctrination of children be codified in law?
Can national voting deadlines, mail-in ballot signature validation requirements and ballot harvesting prohibitions be mandated without violating state responsibilities over election control to restore lacking public confidence in fairness and security?
Which candidates, if any, support Donald Trump’s proposal for congressional member term limits and lifetime prohibitions on government lobbying following their periods of service?
Very good news in all of this is that Republicans have wonderful prospects for taking control of our nation’s White House and congressional leadership in 2024 thanks to favorable Senate seat alignments, growing public awareness of Biden administration policy disasters, and — unlike Democrats — a deep bench of excellent candidates.
The big priority — beginning right now — is for the GOP and each of its candidate hopefuls to determine and be very clear regarding what they will do to act upon these opportunities for the good of the country.
Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture and the graduate space architecture program. His latest of 12 books is "Architectures Beyond Boxes and Boundaries: My Life By Design" (2022). Read Larry Bell's Reports — More Here.
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