We’ve all become accustomed to political debates. Presidential primary debates, Presidential general election debates, senatorial, gubernatorial and all sorts of other debates. Many of us base our decisions about which candidate to support on how well he or she does as a debater. But is that a valid way to determine who would be the best person to hold and execute a political office?
The first televised debates were in the 1960 Presidential election. People who listened to the debates on the radio agreed by a large majority that Richard Nixon won the debates. However, for some reason I’ve never understood, women in general liked John F. Kennedy’s looks on television, and they supported him by an overwhelming majority. I’d be the first to admit that Nixon never looked particularly attractive in his TV appearances, but is that a valid criterion for electing a President?
Kennedy’s qualifications were two-fold:
1. He inherited a huge fortune from a man who founded that fortune on blackmailing bankers and smuggling bootleg whiskey during Prohibition, and
2. Carrying on an affair with Marilyn Monroe, among other women.
The accomplishments of his administration were threefold:
1. Getting hordes of Cuban freedom fighters slaughtered at the Bay of Pigs by withholding air support he’d promised them, and
2. Ignoring the presence of missiles in Cuba for over a year until he could suddenly discover them and make a grandstand play just in time to rescue his party in the 1962 elections, and
3. Managing to pass nothing of any importance during his administration, despite having huge majorities in both houses of Congress.
He was succeeded by “Landslide” Lyndon Johnson, who was first elected to the Senate in 1948 by a margin of 87 votes with the help of widespread voting by residents of cemeteries in Duvall County, whose courthouse mysteriously burned to the ground before an investigation into voting irregularities could proceed. Unlike the inept Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson was the consummate politician, managing to ram through Congress his “Great Society” program which has the American public saddled to this day with massive welfare programs that will bankrupt the nation if continued.
Richard Nixon won election primarily in reaction to public disgust with Johnson, and he won re-election because his opponent was arguably the biggest idiot ever to run for President. He did give strong support to Israel, but other than that, I can’t think of anything he did other than disgrace his own party by lying about the Watergate break-ins.
The next elected President was Jimmy Carter, who almost presided over the demise of our nation. When he left office, we had inflation running between 15% and 20% and a stagnant economy, and our nation had become almost a laughingstock on the world scene.
With God’s grace, we managed to elect our greatest President in 1980, Ronald Reagan, and for the next 12 years—including the one term of his Vice-President George H. W. Bush—our economy grew, our tax rates were slashed, our military was put back on track to be the most powerful in the world, and our prestige around the world soared. An amazing turnaround considering where we were when he took office. Oh, yeah, his election caused the mullahs in Iran who had been laughing at Jimmy Carter to release the hostages they’d held captive for over a year.
After that, we had one God-fearing man who made a reasonably good President, sandwiched in between a playboy whose main claim to fame was his ability to get sex from his aids, and a Muslim who parades as a Christian while doing everything in his power to ruin our nation economically through his trillion dollar deficits and supporting Muslim nations at every turn.
Now, we’re in the midst of another election year when the primary activity of the candidates of both parties seems to be trying to destroy their one another through a series of toxic debates. So far, they have driven Carly Fiorina from the race and pretty well destroyed the chances of Ben Carson—the two people most likely to be effective Presidents once Rick Perry withdrew. Does anyone really think this is an intelligent way to select nominees and, ultimately, Presidents?
The most qualified man we’ve had to run since Ronald Reagan is Rick Perry. He was such a good governor, we Texans kept him in office for fourteen years, and he was so effective the Democrats decided to abuse the power of the Travis County D.A. to bring bogus charges against him in an effort to taint his image.
Rick was recovering from surgery and on medication at the time of the 2012 debates, and that medication caused him to look pretty silly in an early debate. He was drummed out of that race and once again drummed out of the race this time—all because he didn’t debate well when under mediation.
Is this sort of thing likely to produce the best person to be President? My answer is a resounding NO!
Looking at the quote from Ben Franklin that I run at the bottom of all my political posts, I’m afraid I have to say we can’t. I don’t know if it’s too late or not, but until we get rid of the debates, it’s not likely to get any better.
Benjamin Franklin, exiting Constitutional Convention:
“We’ve given you a republic, if you can keep it.”
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Enjoyed this political blog. You made many salient points. Wish debaters would stick to the pressing issues facing our nation.
That would help a little, Sharon, but I wish we’d scrap the whole idea of debates. They are nothing more than beauty contests and have nothing to do with finding the best qualified candidates for office.