Showmanship over substance in presidential debates
What have we learned from presidential debates since 1960? For sure that trivia can make all the difference. It's not good to sweat, have a dark beard, misspeak, check your watch or sigh with resignation. All part of the political showbiz that picks leaders the way we vote for entertainers.
We have already heard from Mitt Romney and Barack Obama through stump speeches, commentary, punditry and editorials.
Yet in the unblinking eye of a TV debate, candidates still must walk us through their positions and policies — in minutes. Each time with conviction.
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The last debate, the president listened intently while Romney spoke, then walked us through his hopes and plans for the country and the philosophy of government that Romney wants to upend.
His leadership is cerebral, based on persuasion instead of antics and "noise." I watched in disgust as a jury of wise men and women of the press — some of whom make a living shouting themselves — gave the decision to Romney.
For them, it's showmanship.
What Obama thought
What I imagine the president may have been thinking during the first debate:
I can't believe I'm wasting my time with this lying clown. Let's see, I am the child of a single mom with an absent father. Much of my childhood spent with loving grandparents, but without my parents. Was always the "different one" who had to find a way to fit in. Worked hard. Pulled myself up by my bootstraps (as they say is so admirable). Defied the odds. Not only graduated from the best schools, but with honors. Could have worked at any prestigious law firm in the country, but instead decided to help the community for little pay. Dedicated husband and father. I've been accused of the most awful things, and called every derogatory name imagined. I've done everything they say makes you a good citizen, and I still have to prove I have rightfully earned the right to be president.
Which Romney is it?
Mitt Romney's acrobatic debate performance contorting his campaign promises surely left pole dancers jealous. We've listened to Romney for a year but never heard this Romney speak. It echoed the saying, "If you're not lying, you're not a true Republican."
Suddenly the "New Romney" morphed into the "Old Romney" bullying PBS with subsidy extinction yet never mentioning how many taxpayers it takes to subsidize billionaires.
The "Old Romney" liked to gut companies, fire people and slip money offshore for his kids. He saw no problem criticizing Brits nor with an aide telling Polish reporters to "kiss my ass."
Romney thought Clint Eastwood's monologue was hilarious and not disrespectful to a sitting president trying to conclude the two wars Republicans created. World leaders who experienced George W. Bush knew otherwise.
Johnson a better choice
My entire life has been marked by a continual execution of foreign wars by the United States. A couple wars have been justified but even a side-street psychic can produce a revelation that comes to light with a hundred attempts.
On Nov. 6, we will have two choices coerced on us by the political system. The expert commentators say President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are the antithesis of one another.
One is offering more military bases abroad and more drone attacks on Middle Eastern countries. The other is offering an increase in spending for the military-industrial complex. Does that sound different to you?
The men and women of the military deserve a commander-in-chief who will not abuse their commitment to service. Americans deserve an honest leader who will spend our tax money rebuilding bridges, schools and economic strength.
We deserve an independent voice. We deserve Gov. Gary Johnson as our next president.
I would like to say thank you to the Lexington Convention Center and to all of those responsible for putting on the Scarefest this year.
I have been to three horror movie conventions in Lexington, one in Indianapolis and one in Nashville. And though the two I have attended out of state were a lot of fun, the Lexington conventions were by far the best.
The employees were helpful and friendly and the merchandise for sale was top-notch. But most importantly for horror fans like me, the actors who have attended the events — not just this year but in the years past — have all been great choices and seemed to enjoy the town and the fans here.
The Convention Center really knows how to run these things and I can't wait to go to the next one.
Why does the Herald-Leader deem it appropriate to exclude viable candidates from its election coverage? I find this sad and ultimately unprofessional.
By excluding candidates such as Gary Johnson for president and Randolph Vance for the 6th Congressional District, you are limiting the democratic process. These candidates actually had to go through more hoops and hurdles than their competition just to get on the ballot.
It does the readers a disservice to ignore options they will have on Election Day. They deserve to hear from all of the candidates, not just the ones you choose to cover.
Grant L. Goodrich
The community and, specifically, the 9th District are very fortunate that former Councilwoman Jennifer Mossotti is once again running for that seat.
I had the pleasure of working with Mossotti on a neighborhood association organization and neighborhood issues when she previously served on the council.
Mossotti is a businesswoman, community activist and has an outstanding record of public service. Her experience, integrity and work ethic will serve the Ninth District and the Urban County Council well.
Twice in recent weeks, references have been made in the Herald-Leader to Lexington being "founded" in 1775. The ordinary citizen may be forgiven for thinking so, as the city seal bears that date. But elected officials and published historians should know better.
The town was named in June 1775 at McConnell Springs, which is on the Wolf Run branch of the North Elkhorn Creek, after word came to the McConnell exploring party of the first battle of the American Revolution at Lexington, Mass. (At the time, the party of Pennsylvanians was considering naming the new settlement either Lancaster or York.) But the town was not settled until four years later because of the Indian violence instigated by British forces in the region.
To be absolutely correct, Lexington was incorporated by the Kentucky General Assembly in 1831.
James Kemper Millard
President and chief executive officer
Lexington History Museum