Feature:Opinion

What we need to see and hear in the Iowa debate

Jedediah Bila Contributor

As President Downgrade proceeds with his fundraising, fiestas and blame game, GOP presidential candidates will take the stage tonight at the Fox News Iowa debate. At this critical point in our country’s history, it’s time to toss out the platitudes and talking points. GOP contenders, here is what Americans need to see and hear from you tonight:

SPECIFICS. Enough is enough with vague, ambiguous retorts. It’s not enough to point out what’s wrong. We want to know how you would help make it right. We want particulars. We want details. We want solutions. And we want them now.

BOLDNESS. It’s no time for wimps. Stand tall and stand for something. Americans are hungry for fearlessness, for someone who is unafraid to make tough decisions to protect American exceptionalism. If you can’t be counted on to speak your mind boldly, how can we expect you to lead boldly?

HONESTY. Americans aren’t stupid. And we’re looking for authenticity, not pre-programmed, phony, D.C.-manufactured rhetoric. If you speak from the heart, we’ll know it. If you don’t, we’ll know that too.

ACCOUNTABILITY. Own up to the governing and/or legislative decisions you’ve made. If you stand by your choices, tell us why. If you made a mistake, have enough guts to admit it. And, perhaps most importantly, hold each other accountable for any do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do nonsense. Americans have no time for deceit and business as usual. We’ll be watching for those who are willing to call out discrepancies between records and rhetoric.

PASSION. If you’re not as fired up as we are, it’s a problem. This country is in big trouble. We can thank the big-government agenda of President Downgrade and his allies, as well as the let’s-not-make-too-many-waves attitude of some in the GOP. If we can’t see your passion, your drive and your commitment to restoring this republic, we’ll sure as heck wonder why.

KNOWLEDGE. America currently has a commander-in-chief who doesn’t have the slightest clue what he’s doing. We’re looking for someone who does, and we’d like you to prove it. KNOW YOUR STUFF. Being the leader of the greatest country in the world isn’t an easy job, and we’re not about to vote for someone who doesn’t have his/her foreign and domestic policy in order.

LEADERSHIP. If you’re not a leader, you don’t deserve the job. And you certainly won’t inspire confidence. Americans are tired of those who sit back, relax, wait for real leaders to do the hard work and then step up to the podium when it’s “safe” to speak up. We have a leadership vacuum in the White House that needs fixing in 2012. Either you’re up for the job or you aren’t. We won’t be fooled.

So, there you have it. GOP presidential candidates, Americans are watching closely. We’re hungry for that man or woman who will be Barack Obama’s complete and utter opposite. We’re hungry for principled leadership, practical experience, fortitude, and candor from someone who is genuinely in touch with the struggles and concerns of regular, hard-working Americans.

Show us what you’ve got.

Jedediah Bila is a conservative columnist, television commentator and author of the new book Outnumbered: Chronicles of a Manhattan Conservative. For more information on Jedediah, please visit jedediahbila.com. Follow Jedediah on Twitter.