Geoffrey Long
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Why the President got C's in college.

Anyone with a college education who watched the President's news conference last night – heck, anyone with any education – should now understand why the President got such lousy grades at Yale. Whenever he was presented with a question, he yabbered on for a minute or two, repeating the same things he'd already said ("Before 9/11, the country wasn't on a war footing – now we are") over and over, no matter what the question was. The reporters fielded some great questions, like "Do you feel you owe the country an apology?" and "Over the course of this whole state of affairs, you have never once admitted you were wrong – why is that?" And every time he didn't answer the question, only rephrased his previous answer.

The academics in the crowd will recognize this behavior. When you take an essay test and you don't know the answer to the question, you rephrase what you do know in order to fill up the white space. At one point in the press conference, the camera cut to Condoleezza Rice in the first row, and she was furious. Now, whether she was angry because the President was deviating from the talking points memo that he'd been assigned, or if it was because the reporters were fielding questions that they hadn't prepared for, I don't know. Regardless, the way that the President got up there and dodged those questions was positively – dare I say it? – Clintonesque. The only thing he could have said that would have been slicker:"Well, that depends on what the definition of the term 'WMD'..."

Look, I'm a registered Republican. I'm from Ohio, a classically Republican state. My parents were Republican. That said, I take a very moderate position on politics, and I believe that both the extreme liberals and the extreme conservatives have their heads in the sand.

I believe that the President of the United States should be someone who cares deeply for the basic human rights of all individuals, regardless of religious persuasion or even their nationality. If the U.S. is to claim the role of the new Roman Empire, which we were sort of doing before all this nonsense broke out and we lost the support of pretty much the entire world, then we need better leaders.

Do I think that John Kerry is that leader? I don't know. I'm uninspired by Kerry – in fact, I'm uninspired by pretty much all of the candidates being fielded this year, and I don't see any great ones on the horizon, either. If Kerry fails this fall, then the Democrats will most likely field Hillary Clinton in 2008, which I'm not sure is such a good idea. Her character issues aside, consider the questionable impact a female President would have on the respect held for the position by countries like Afghanistan and Iraq. If your religion insists that a woman should be covered in a burka and be subservient to the menfolk, how badly would you chafe under the leadership of a woman in pants?

What America needs is a someone to stand up and take the middle back. America needs someone who will stand up for what America was designed to be, a place where all people are created equal, regardless of religion, race, sex, or sexual preference. While we may be "one nation under God," I believe that phrase should mean "one nation under your God," whether that's God or Allah or Ra or even the atheist/agnostic god Science. Our President has been quoted as saying that perhaps atheists and agnostics should be denied the vote because America is supposed to be "one nation under God".

This is not Presidential behavior.

The President of the United States should be a unifier, not a divider. He or she should inspire those under them to greatness as a role model for the youth of America, if not the world. They should be a prime example of what education and intelligence and moral strength and courage can accomplish. They should consider the needs of everyone equally, and given those concerns, navigate a course to the future with a strong, confident hand on the wheel. These are all the characteristics of a leader.

How many of those phrases do you think describe our President? How many of those phrases do you think describe any of the political candidates we've seen in the last twelve years?


hear hear! Good's such a pity that our news media and goverment seem close to having been taken over by people with extreme views. But apparently that is what gets viewers and readers. I read an article that made the point that it's uninteresting for news shows to have guests that say "I don't know" or that have more moderate views.

Just a minor clarification -- the comment on excluding atheists from citizenship rights ("No, I don’t know that Atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.") is attributed to George H.W. Bush, not little George. Unless you're thinking of a different quotation of which I'm unaware. I've little doubt Duh-bya shares his father's sentiments, but I don't have a quote on the topic.

But on the whole, I'd much rather see a president unite the nation rather than divide it. I'm throwing my support behind John Kerry for no other reason than, at present, he's the best chance of unseating Bush, who is eminently unqualified to fulfill that role. What bugs the hell out of me is that G.O.P. voters picked this weasel over John McCain. I certainly don't agree with McCain on every issue -- probably not most issues -- but I could sure as hell support a McCain presidency. But Shrub appealed to the vitriolic, uber-right-wing hate crowd, the folks who take the word of Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and Pat Robertson as absolute truth.

The lesson? It's one hell of a lot harder to motivate moderates than extremists. Which is why neither campaign is paying all that much attention to them. The age of the "swing voter" is over.

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