Byron York is right to mention that foreign policy may be far more of an issue in the 2016 race than strategists, pundits, and candidates have predicted until now. The economy is still important and healthcare is a hot-button issue as is immigration, but they may not top voter concerns as previously expected. That means GOP candidates have some catching up to do considering Hillary’s experience as Secretary of State, according to York. At this point in the argument that York develops, one suddenly has an urge to pause. As does York at the very end of his piece in the Washington Examiner where he points out that it’s vision, not experience, that matters to voters.

And matters in the real world. One remembers, for those who remember, Jimmy Carter’s dramatic warnings about a Reagan presidency during the final stretches of the campaign in the fall of 1980. An unproven “extremist” who would lead the world down a dangerous path. In fact, it was Carter’s bumbling if well-meaning as well as ideologically unsuited foreign policy that had led the world to a dangerous place by the late 70’s. Or more accurately, his policy was a weak response to a dangerous world in which Soviet strength was predicted to last for generations. Reagan took a tough and clear stance and the Soviet apparatus fell apart within a decade. That’s a historical fact. It was both a moral, or ethical if you wish, and a pragmatic posture, and he had previously signaled it with his brilliant “farewell” speech at the GOP convention in 1976, where a very experienced Gerald Ford won the nomination and bumbled his way through the campaign, losing to Carter.

Vision requires courage and coherence and is in even more short supply nowadays in a world dominated by fine-tuning of policies and “nuanced” responses to dangers around the globe. And it’s hard to predict who might have that precious quality that any CEO, especially the President, requires to be successful. While the issue of national security and foreign policy can and will leak into or wash over the coming campaign, voters need to feel they have a candidate who really cares and really does have a viewpoint that they can trust. And not someone who hands out responses cobbled together by poll-reading strategists. That strategists are vital, and that they read the polls, is obvious. But any candidate has to rise above the policy details and present themselves as true leaders. Character still matters and one hopes that people like John Bolton, if they do enter the race in order to shine a light on the issue of national security, will provoke responses from the other candidates that reveal something of their character. Whether it’s foreign policy, or economic policy, or healthcare, or immigration. Character still matters. In fact, it’s one of the most important assets a candidate brings. Not popularity or media savvy, as necessary as they may be to get elected. And not a narcissistic selfie about their personal story that leaves you wondering who in the world got elected to the Oval Office.

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