• 41°

Cal Thomas: Can’t we do better?

Occasionally I am asked if I ever considered running for political office. My response: “I did once, but I took two aspirin, lay down for a while and the feeling went away.”

Besides not wanting to accept a pay cut, why would I want to put myself through the agony of exposing the smallest misdeed and bad decision to political opponents and a ravenous media who could turn my public image into something no family member would recognize?

Not to mention the amount of money I would have to raise that would go up exponentially the higher the office sought. With each donated dollar a little piece of my soul, character and integrity must ultimately be exchanged. Why else do people donate if they don’t expect something in return? Might that something somehow dilute whatever virtues I am perceived to possess?

What I have just described are major reasons why people who might be smart and capable enough to run for office decline the “honor.” Who looks forward to having one’s sins exposed by the media and gloating opponents who seek to destroy a fellow candidate, rather than beat him (or her) on the field of ideas? If I were to run I would issue a press release on every sin I can remember having committed, because for the media and the other party (and sometimes with candidates in one’s own party) it isn’t about what one has done, as much as what one is hiding.

Looking at today’s remaining field of presidential candidates reminds me of a quote from John F. Kennedy when he ran for president in 1960 against the legacy of the Eisenhower-Nixon administration. “We can do better,” said JFK.

We certainly can, but the signs offer little reason for optimism.

On one side in this presidential contest we have a tired old warhorse, Hillary Clinton, whose chief qualifications for office appear to be her gender and a sense of entitlement after sticking with her adulterous husband. She has no real accomplishments to which she can point.

The other Democratic candidate is an even older dinosaur who metaphorically wants to change America’s initials from USA to ATM, with free stuff for all, paid for by taxing “millionaires and billionaires.” Millennials, who apparently have no clue about economics, drink the red Kool-Aid like members of a cult.

On the Republican side there is Donald Trump. Polls show Trump has unified much of America like few other politicians. Unfortunately for him, most are unified in opposition.

There is Sen. Ted Cruz, who might save the GOP from Trump, but who needs to work on his own likability.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich remains in the race for reasons known only to himself. Kasich is proving the cynicism of baseball coach Leo Durocher’s line, “nice guys finish last.”

There must be a better way to nominate and elect a president. The Constitution provides little guidance. There is nothing in it about parties, conventions, or length of campaigns.

Why must we endure nonstop politicking? As soon as one election ends, people start positioning themselves for the next one. Much of this is due to the voracious media, especially cable news. This fixation on politicians as saviors doesn’t benefit the country.

Can academia, or think tanks, put together a plan which points to a better way to get good people in office at lower cost and less time commitment? Would politicians of both parties accept it? It is obscene that it takes $1 billion to run for president today.

We can do better, but will we? We had better, or face the likelihood of even worse political choices in the future.

Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribpub.com.

Comments

Local

Scout’s Honor: With dedication of flag retirement box, Salem Fleming earns Eagle Scout rank

College

North Carolina king, queen of NCAA lacrosse tourneys

High School

High school football: State’s top honor goes to Jalon Walker

Education

Kannapolis seniors walk elementary schools

Local

Local real estate company employees come out in force to build Habitat house

Local

Quotes of the week

Coronavirus

Auditors find oversight lacking for $3 billion of state’s pandemic aid

Nation/World

When will gas situation return to normal?

Local

Rowan native Shuping posthumously receives Concord Police Department’s Medal of Valor, Purple Heart

News

GOP measure on penalties for rioting draws fire

News

Black high school softball player told to cut hair

Coronavirus

State shows 303 COVID-19 deaths in Rowan

Coronavirus

CDC: Fully vaccinated people can largely ditch masks indoors

Crime

One arrested, another hospitalized in Castor Road stabbing

China Grove

China Grove Roller Mill open for tours Saturday

News

Facing personnel deficiencies, local fire departments request tax rate increases

Local

‘Panic buying’ creates gas supply shortages locally, statewide after pipeline cyberattack

Business

Twice as nice: Planet Smoothie opens alongside Cold Stone Creamery in co-branded store

Local

Spencer board gets update on South Iredell rat problem

Education

West Rowan teacher awarded $15,000 outdoor learning grant

Cleveland

Town of Cleveland plans celebration May 22

High School

High school girls tennis: Busy Hornets win again easily

High School

High school softball: Nixon, Walton top all-county team

Education

All Hood Alumni and Friends Symposium scheduled June 18