01/22/08 — No more fights: Candidates are already starting politics of bickering

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No more fights: Candidates are already starting politics of bickering

Who would have thought John Edwards would have been the sane one in this week’s Democratic candidate debates?

After listening to the continued bickering and finger-pointing by front-runners Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama — and not being able to get much of a word in edgewise — Edwards reminded those present that all the arguing was “not going to get health care for children.”

And even if you do not agree with his politics or his viability as a candidate for president, you have to admit, this time, he is right.

The problem with politics has always been that there is just too much mud — too many people too focused on running down the opposition and too unconcerned about talking about real issues and solutions.

And then there are those who use the name-calling and mud-throwing to distract from the fact that they have no message — or clear view of what matters to voters.

With that focus, the presidential campaigns become more like American Gladiator-type brawls instead of what they are supposed to be — job applications.

If the venom that has been the hallmark of some of this year’s primary campaigns infects the general election — and you know it will — it will be up to voters to demand substance instead of flash — and to ignore anything that remotely resembles a scene from some teen drama.

If we want the best candidate, we have to be smart enough to look for issue politics — even if some of those running for office resist.

Published in Editorials on January 22, 2008 10:53 AM