Culleton: Trump less than the ideal Republican president

Fully 70 percent of my friends, relatives and neighbors will always vote for a Republican for president. Asking them to do anything else is like offering a ham and cheese sandwich to an Orthodox Jew during the High Holy Days. But a case can be made for selecting the right Republican president. So here are my criteria.

First, the ideal president should show compassion for oppressed people who are poor and mistreated. The prime example is Abraham Lincoln, but Herbert Hoover was instrumental in generating aid for the distressed people in Europe after World War I.


Second, the ideal candidate should have a goal of building the necessary infrastructure for our country. I cite Hoover again for the Hoover Dam but also Dwight Eisenhower for the Interstate system and our space system, and Lincoln for the Pacific Railroad, the list goes on. Promises don't count, performance does.

Third, the candidate should be a fiscal conservative, brave enough to raise taxes when necessary to pay our bills. Ronald Reagan reduced taxes but he also raised them when necessary, as did George Herbert Walker Bush. Eisenhower retained the top tax rate he inherited from his Democratic predecessors, including 92 percent in the top income tax bracket.

Fourth, the candidate should have a concern for our environment. Theodore Roosevelt established the National Park Service. Richard Nixon started the Environmental Protection Agency.

Fifth, the candidate needs to have the moral courage to take politically unpopular steps even if it costs them re-election. I cite George H.W. Bush again, but also Gerald Ford who pardoned Nixon to help heal the nation after the Watergate scandal.

Sixth, it helps a great deal if a president has served in the military and seen combat. The list of such presidents is too long to repeat here, with the first Bush as the most recent example.

Seventh, Medicare is a vital part of our health insurance system and the most cost-effective component. Our president should keep it viable — Reagan again — and extend it where that is useful — George W. Bush.

Eighth, the president must be willing to break up monopolies that damage the nation. Theodore Roosevelt was the trustbuster-in-chief. We need similar action in the health field, both on the insurance side and the provider side. Eisenhower warned us against the military-industrial complex.

Ninth, it is axiomatic that a president should be able to distinguish friend from foe, treat our allies with respect and support and greet our enemies or potential enemies with a firm and consistent face.

Tenth, there should be no question about the emotional stability of the candidate or sitting president.

The above list is by inference a criticism our sitting president. But unless he is convicted of an impeachable offense, a high crime or misdemeanor, we are apparently stuck with him for the remainder of his term.

There is however one other method for removing a president based on health, physical or mental, as stated in the 25th Amendment of the Constitution Section 4 which reads in part: "Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President ... ."

We are not there yet but I fear the erratic and irrational behavior of our current president may put us in that situation.

John Culleton writes this column every other Tuesday. His email address is