Sunday, July 01, 2007

Other Half of Four-Part WaPo Cheney Series

Cheney, Part III and Part IV

Publius has some interesting remarks over at ObsidianWings:

[D]ismissing Cheney as “evil” is too easy. Cheney is not some one-time moral aberration, he is the product of deeper, more structural flaws in the American political system. For that reason, we can expect future Cheneys if these fundamental flaws aren’t recognized and addressed.

P gets into the ideological aspect of the broader "process" -- asserting, quite rightly, I think, that "the emergence of a shadow presidency" was "the direct product of the ideology of the 2000 election."

Money and outdated election systems create their own problems, but they don’t necessarily lead to electing inexperienced, unqualified presidents. What does lead to electing inexperienced, unqualified presidents is a media narrative and public debate focused on juvenile, high-school popularity-type criteria.

And now, for my voice, in a brief remark that I shall leave to you, gentle reader, to unpack, mostly, whilst I go back to studying for the bar exam:

We changed how we elect presidents, with JFK. Look, not content, became pre-eminent when Nixon sweated in televised debate with JFK in 1960.

From the Eagleton Digital Archive of American Politics:

Indeed, those who heard the first debate on the radio pronounced Nixon the winner. But the 70 million who watched television saw a candidate still sickly and obviously discomforted by Kennedy's smooth delivery and charisma. Those television viewers focused on what they saw, not what they heard.

Thanks, TV. Now, the Internet, founded in content rather than look, many community voices rather than one paternalistic one, may save us, I don't know. It's changed so over the years, so, I just don't know.