Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal
Thursday, October 28, 2004
David Broder, the respected columnist for The Washington Post, anticipates Tuesday's vote not only in Ohio but across the land ``for what we may learn about this country of ours.'' Broder is correct when he says that ``Every election is a portrait of the nation and its
people, and it will be even more fascinating than usual to see what patterns emerge from the returns this year.'' Those patterns, if a Los Angeles Times survey is correct will reveal a nation divided more by cultural values than by economic interests. The best and most telling pre-election assessment has come from conservative New York Times' columnist David Brooks when he explained why this country is still tied just days before an election between candidates of such stark contrast. Brooks' central point is worth looking at again, or for a first time, if you missed it. It is this:
``Republicans, from Reagan to Bush, particularly admire leaders who are straight-talking men of faith. The Republican leader doesn't have to be book smart, and probably shouldn't be narcissistically introspective. But he should have a clear, broad vision of America's exceptional role in the world. Democrats, on the other hand, are more apt to emphasize
such leadership skills as being knowledgeable and thoughtful. They value leaders who can see complexities, who possess the virtues of the well-educated.
``Republicans and Democrats have different conceptions of the presidency. Republicans admire a president who is elevated above his executive branch colleagues. It is impossible to imagine George W. Bush or Reagan as a cabinet secretary. Instead, they are set apart by virtue of exceptional moral qualities. Relying on their core values, they set broad goals and remain resolute in times of crisis.
``Democrats see the presidency as a much more ministerial job. They admire presidents who engage in constant deliberative conversations. Democrats from Carter through Mondale, Dukakis, Clinton, Gore and Kerry have all been well versed in the inner workings of government. It is easy to imagine each of them serving as a cabinet secretary.
``It just so happens that America is evenly divided about what sort of leader we need: the Republican who leads with his soul or the Democrat who leads with his judgment. Even the events of the past four years have not altered that disagreement.
``That's why we are still tied.''
The shame is that in a country so rich with talent we cannot find a soulful person of judgment who wants the worst job in the world. Or, when we do, we reject the person for superficial reasons.
posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:59 AM
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