Friday, June 27, 2008
Cokie and Richard, sitting in a tree ...
.. T A L K I N G (nonsense)Cokie Roberts
, 20 April 2008: (emp add)
[People] don't vote for President on issues, they vote for President on a gut-check.Richard Cohen
"I like that guy", or "I like that guy better than the other guy".Which is why these questions that try to get at "who you are" and "what you care about" matter.
And "I think that the decisions that he [or in this case, maybe she] make in the next four years, I'm going to be more comfortable with than I would be with that other person".
, 24 June 2008: (emp add)
A presidential race is only incidentally about issues. It's really about likability and character.
... the character question hangs -- not because of any evidence to the contrary and not in any moral sense, either, but because he is still young and lacks the job references McCain picked up in a North Vietnamese prison.
Ah, the "character and likeability" test, which trumps everything else. That's the kind of case you'd make if you were trying to elect someone (e.g. McCain) who looked out for your interests, but not for the public as a whole.
It seems that perceived character and superficial qualities IS the basis of how a significant percentage of Americans vote.
I wish it wasn't so, and I certainly don't advocate it, but it is difficult to deny.
There are hordes of people who I cannot believe were elected based on their qualifications or merits on issues.
anon: You are correct, but it there are times when "issues" are less important (e.g. 2000 when the world was at peace and the economy okay) and times, like now, when issues and how to deal with them should predominate. I believe that the electorate is more issue-oriented this year because of the seriousness of what we face (recession, Iraq, energy costs, global warming) and that the character stuff will be something only Cokie Roberts and Richard Cohen write about.
I see. Instead of wasting air time talking about character, Cokie and the like should talk about issues, especially now that issues are more of a focus with the electorate. I agree.
It is unrealistic to hope American journalism changes though. I don't see any indication of it, whatsoever.
I hope the day comes when podcasts, blogs and general discussion brings about fundamental change in the way we seek and digest information. Change in American journalism will be a reaction to that, not lead the way.
IMHO, the best ombudsman today is Jon Stewart, if only because he is so widely known and accessible. If political leaders gave exclusive interviews on blogs and podcasts where they talked intelligently about issues instead of being setup like on ABC, maybe we could inject elevated discussion into the electorate. If places like MoveOn become successful in mobilizing their members to send letters to FoxNews, advertisers and the FCC like the right-wing has for years, perhaps some kind of balance will be restored.
There are many things in motion just beginning, but I feel they have a strong chance at forcing the changes we desperately need. Hopefully, the current establishment of American journalism will eventually be seen for what it is and be razed to the ground, so that something better can take its place.