Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

The Republicans Debatable Debate

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

The Republicans Debatable Debate

Article excerpt

The so-called debates, among too many Republicans to have a debate, are yet another painful sign of how much words and ideas have degenerated in our times. No one expects these televised sound bites and gotcha questions to be anything like the historic Lincoln- Douglas debates on the momentous national issue of slavery.

But the mob scene of candidates on stage that began with the 2012 campaign, and is now being repeated, is a big step down from the modern one-on-one debates between presidential candidates that began with John F. Kennedy versus Richard Nixon in 1960.

We still have momentous national issues. In fact, the threat of a nuclear Iran with intercontinental missiles is a threat to the survival of America and of Western civilization. The issue could not be bigger.

But this issue did not get even half the attention as was lavished on Donald Trump. Even in the earlier debate among the second-tier candidates, where Trump was not present, the first question asked was about Donald Trump.

Nothing could more plainly, or more painfully, show what is wrong with the priorities of the media.

A poll taken after the debates showed that, of the 17 participants, the top 5 were all people who had never run a state government or a federal agency. In other words, those who came out on top in this battle of sound bites were people whose great strength was in rhetoric.

After more than six years of Barack Obama in the White House, have we learned nothing about the dangers of choosing a President of the United States on the basis of sound bites, with no track record to check against his rhetoric?

Remember his promise of creating the most transparent administration in history? Remember his talk about investing in the industries of the future and how that led to the bankruptcy of Solyndra? Remember If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor?

These were all great exercises in rhetoric. But before there was a track record to check against that rhetoric, voting to put Obama in the White House was like flying a plane through mountains at night. If we manage to get through the next year and a half without crashing, should we try that gamble again? …

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