DO WE WANT TO ELECT ANYONE? – Marilyn Armstrong

I was just glancing through another post on The New Yorker asking whether Joe Biden is electable.

I have read similar stories in the Washington Post and other newspaper, online and offline about every potential candidate. It’s almost as if we don’t want to find a viable candidate because there’s something wrong with everyone.

I have a hot flash for you: NO ONE IS PERFECT.

There is no perfect candidate waiting to run for office. There may be perfect people — somewhere (though I’ve never met one) — but none of them are interested in politics. Personally, I doubt there is a perfect person anywhere and if there is, I’m sure he or she would run screaming in terror should someone suggest they run for office.

We have turned running for office into the worst job interview on Earth. We are dredging up everything and anything that anyone ever did, no matter how many years ago it happened. We are dredging this stuff up without any context, either. Without any attempt to understand what else was going on. Let’s take Joe Biden. He was not perfect. He has been in office for 50 years and has done stuff about which I’m sure he is ashamed and embarrassed. On top of everything else, he is being picked on for being “too huggy.”

Too huggy? Seriously? We have a racist pig as president — and you want to disqualify a man who is too friendly in a non-sexual way?

Did you want to re-elect Trump? If you did, you failed.
It ain’t gonna be Trumpty Dumpty. But it’s sure gonna be messy.

Everyone has stuff in their past they would just as soon not make public. Me too. You too. My husband, my friends, my son. I’m sure even my dogs have something about which they would be embarrassed if they could remember that far back, but being dogs, they are more interested in right now and when is dinner?

At a time when we should be looking for reasons why a person might BE electable, we are doing that classic Democratic “let’s pick apart every possible candidate, disqualify all of them, then pick someone who offends nobody and also has nothing of value to offer anyone. Let’s run him or her for office and be shockedSHOCKED! — that he or she is not elected. We’ve done it before and we seemed to be ready to do it again. Except we didn’t. We nominated Joe Biden and it would appear, he won. IF they ever make the announcement.

Banning Kate Smith for a recording she made decades ago, probably because her record company told her to do it and in those days if your bosses said “Cut this record,” you cut that record.

Actors made movies they hated and about which they still can’t bear to speak. People said things they didn’t mean, or intended as jokes. Are bad jokes enough to keep you out of office? Meanwhile, no attempt is made to figure out what the context was that created what was done or said. We ask for perfection from candidates we never require of ourselves. Are we going to hold every single thing that anyone has ever done or said against them?

I know if someone asked me to run for office, I would say “Not on your life.” Garry was actually asked to run — locally — and said “No way.”

No one wants to do it because they know they are going to be shredded. Torn to bits by their own party, the press, bloggers and for all I know, their own family. If we are going to turn all potential candidate into bad people for something that happened a long time ago, we aren’t going to have anyone worth electing. There needs to be a limit to anyone’s liability for things that weren’t even crimes. Okay, if he turns out to have been a murderer or bank robber or treasonous, but that’s not what’s happening. We not looking to see if someone actually did something felonious. We’re just looking for anything, everything, or even nothing. Indiscretion is not a crime. Even bad jokes — 30-year-old bad jokes — are not a crime. If you look at some of our great presidents, they were far from perfect men. Both Roosevelts had plenty of lumps and bumps and a few shameful incidents to boot. It didn’t mean they weren’t great presidents.

Maybe some personal indiscretions should be left in the dusty closets where they have been lying all these years. Some of these folks have good ideas. Vision. They might be great if you give them half a chance. If we are going to demand perfection, we will get the kids no one liked in school. Our candidates will all be losers. Not Trump’s version. I mean real losers. If we cannot tolerate anything living people actually while living before we can allow them to be a candidate for office, the only people who will run for office will be people no one wants. Or are too boring to even think about. You know, the people who make you fall asleep as soon as they say: “Good evening, fellow Americans…”


The priggish. The voiceless. Those who have no opinions, no vision. The intellectual who doesn’t know how to talk to “real” people. The stupid and the unthinking. We are approaching that stage now. How else do you think we got Trump? And the rest of his party of bottom-feeders? They may be foul and indecent, but they certainly are LIVELY.

Categories: Election, Government, Photography, political parties, politicians, Politics, Voting

Tags: , , , , , , ,

34 replies

  1. Great post. We’re coming up for federal elections here in Oz. Last night on tv a politician complained that the public want perfect politicians with no slurs on their past yet complain when they get bland ones. It’s a no win situation.


  2. A very good post, with cogent points which would apply not just to the USA but to all democracies (Writing from Brexit Britain-please don’t laugh). You are quite right, unless anyone has committed a serious crime, picking on just their private life is, well fairly hypocritical….have you ever met a perfect person? Were they being exhibited in a glass case for everyone else to stare at?
    In the UK there is a tendency to vote not so much for someone but to vote against them, which when you come down to it probably works just as well as any other reason. To vote is the important thing, lest those who are not strong on democracy get into power.
    Democracies are messy things and poor forms of government BUT the alternatives are so much worse.


    • We’ll have to run children. Like 8-year-olds who don’t HAVE a past. Right now, there’s such a negative miasma just about everywhere. I think we win for the absolutely worst president, but every country seems to be having some kind of ugly issue.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Most of populism was knocked out of us after WWII, now as the years drift on and that generation dies, the old idiocies return, fuelled by the access to the Internet.
        Although word of mouth was fairly toxic .From the start of the printing press the spread became easier…..For many centuries cruel lies and distortions were spread by ‘pamphlets’


  3. I think the opposite question is appropriate too — who would really want to be elected President, especially after 4 years of Trump?!


  4. Politics is a dirty game. I just read something about two Republican operatives trying to recruit men who would falsely accuse Pete Buttigieg of having sexually assaulted them. Why would anyone want to put themselves through that shit. That why we don’t end up with the best and brightest running for public office.


  5. I am not really in favor of voting for anyone older than Trump (Biden or Sanders), but I will vote for him if he is the Democratic nominee.


  6. I have nothing to say as I’m not an AMerican voter. But of course I have my thoughts and opinions…. Your article here is just what I’m always thinking (and too often saying in our circles). So far, there seem to be a few really viable people, I’m impressed by Elizabeth Warren; at least she is providing figures and facts and is not only ‘showing up and promising hot air’ – but I also think you guys should consider somebody still at least halfway alive. I mean, over 70 and still running – they cannot have the stamina for such a job.
    Mostly however, I wonder, as you do too: Why on our dear earth would anybody want that job? You cannot win, in any case, even under the best conditions and with the most clement opinions. Just waiting for the crocs to pop up and feast! Being older however has one advantage: Anybody over forty can have skeletons in the cellar, as long as those sins were happening before internet!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Politics is so nasty I’m surprised anyone wants to run.


  8. Personally NO I do NOT want to elect anyone who might bid for the job right now. I’d like to see a tear down and a return to some semblence of ethics. Who does it because they care about their country, other people, and who have no damn time for polls, social media or the rest of the dreck that seems to be the format for being “electable’. Being terminally stupid and doing whatever their puppet masters might tell them to do seems to be another qualification. I couldn’t do the job, not that they’d ever ask nor let me run…I have a record (it’s been expunged, but those people looking for dirt NEVER give up), I’ve had a lot of questionable history vis a vis the opposite sex, and I’m female. In Utah that last thing will keep one out of the running most of the time. Salt Lake City actually got a woman mayor (the first one we had – DeeDee Coridini (sp?) was a corrupt fore-runner to what we have now in offices across the land. The current woman mayor is openly gay and I’d have loved to have been a fly on the wall when that news was announced. I don’t know what sort of job she’s done, I don’t bother with politics in places where I no longer live. Up here? The fellow that’s mayor has been so for a LOT of terms and he doesn’t do a bad job, just mediocre. I think he used to care about his city, but I also think the repeated lunacy associated with being a politician has worn him out. Term limitations aren’t a bad idea..


    • I am personally VERY fond of Elizabeth Warren. She has been our senator here in Massachusetts for a long time. She’s smart, funny, and she actually has plans on how to get things done. I like her. There are others I might like too, but there are too many people running to make any sense. I think the party doesn’t know what it wants from a candidate. You can never fit the bill if there’s no bill to fit.

      And term limitations are a TERRIBLE idea and always have been. I don’t mind it for the Presidency, but we need professionals who know what they are doing in Congress. After two terms, they are JUST learning how to write a bill. It’s not the “old timers” who are screwing us up. It’s the new kids who think they know everything — and know nothing.


  9. I agree with you, eveyone has a skeleton in the closet somewhere. I don’t usually comment on American politics because it is not my problem, although yes, it is my problem, it affects the world basically, but who am I to give suggestions on something I do not really understand. May just one thing be said by me, anything, and really anything, is better that what you have got now, so vote for someone else, please.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I believe the Trumpeters elected him because he reflected their hate and bigotry. The three friends I have who voted for him also share some of his prejudices. We never discuss politics with them and, fortunately, don’t see them very often either. I cannot understand how intelligent people fall for his carney routine or tolerate his behavior. He didn’t win the popular vote so there’s hope.


    • Yes, but the Democrats need to collect themselves an decide on what they want from a candidate. If we don’t run someone who can get a few people excited enough to vote, we’ll get the same result again and that’s just too awful to think about.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. It’s strange to peruse the history of this meaningless word, “unelectable.” The press has been using it a long time.
    Jimmy Carter was “unelectable” because no one had heard of him and he was a Southern Baptist.
    Ronald Reagan was “unelectable” because he was an actor and he’d been divorced.
    George Bush the 1st was “unelectable” because he was a “wimp,” whatever that meant.
    Bill Clinton was “unelectable” because he dodged the draft and had affairs.
    George Bush the 2nd was “unelectable” because he deserted the National Guard.
    Barack Obama was “unelectable” because the country would never, ever, ever elect a black man as President.
    Trump was “unelectable” because, take your pick (how I wish this had been true!)
    It’s interesting to peruse just how accurate this term “unelectable” has turned out to be, isn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • We are watching the Ken Burns series on “The Roosevelts.” Both of THEM were also unelectable. I’m so frustrated watching them pick everyone apart for stupid little things that really don’t matter as far as running the country goes. No one wants to talk about vision or issues. They just want to pick, pick, pick … and if they do it just right, they will pick every potential candidate to death after which, we’ll get another 4 years of Trump.

      I’m pretty sure that Lincoln was also unelectable. He didn’t approve of slavery.


  12. I completely agree, Marilyn. No-one is that squeaky clean, and if they were they’d be too boring to be elected anyway. If we waited until we found someone with nothing in their past of any interest or gossip, we’d never have anyone to run the country at all!


    • Considering that one out of every two marriages ends in divorce, I think we should give up on deciding whether someone is “electable” because their marriage didn’t make it. In any case, as you say, NO ONE is that squeaky clean and if that’s what we want, we aren’t going to find a viable candidate. it is very frustrating to watch.

      Liked by 1 person

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