A quick follow-up on that Will column…

Oh my, look! THERE’S an attractive candidate…

If you read the piece that inspired the previous post, you know that Will launched into his topic about the debasement of our politics and our political journalism with the observation that for the likes of Josh Hawley, it’s not about getting anything done, or saying anything meaningful (in his case, certainly not!) — it’s about getting attention.

Like an infant feeling ignored and seeking attention by banging his spoon on his highchair tray, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) last week cast the only vote against admitting Finland and Sweden to NATO. He said adding the two militarily proficient Russian neighbors to NATO would somehow weaken U.S. deterrence of China.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who is an adult and hence not invariably collegial, said: “It would be strange indeed for any senator who voted to allow Montenegro or North Macedonia into NATO to turn around and deny membership to Finland and Sweden.” That evening, Hawley appeared on Fox News to receive Tucker Carlson’s benediction….

Which, for someone like Hawley, is the point.

Anyway, I was reminded of that point this morning when I saw, and reacted to, this: “Cunningham wants end of ‘geriatric’ politicians. Will it cost him help from Biden, Clyburn?

My response was to say:

But I decided to post this to take it to the next step, which is to point out the connection to what Will was saying yesterday. You don’t have to look far. It’s the lede of The State‘s story:

Joe Cunningham made national headlines when he suggested an end to the “geriatric oligarchy” in political office and said on national television that President Joe Biden should step aside in 2024 and let someone younger run…

You see, he “made national headlines!” He got “on national television!” How terribly exciting. What more could he want?

Well, I’ll tell you what more I want, as a voter. I’d like him to step up and tell me why he, Joe Cunningham, would be a better governor than Henry McMaster. That shouldn’t be hard, if he has anything to say in his behalf at all.

And no, being younger doesn’t cut it. Just as it wouldn’t if you boasted that you are white, and male. I’m looking for something a tad more substantial than that. Yeah, I’m picky…

16 thoughts on “A quick follow-up on that Will column…

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    Oh, and before someone races to explain the obvious to me…

    Yes, I fully understand that when one is trying to win an election, particularly against the odds, one is not trying to engage the enthusiasm of people who read and think. Winning elections requires the support of a majority. (Cue the Adlai Stevenson quote.) Yep. Got it. Doesn’t mean I approve of what people do in their attempts to charm the unthinking.

    I’m reminded of something former Executive Editor Gil Thelen said to me one day when I was Joe Cunninham’s age or even younger, on an occasion when I was being particularly irritating, which was something I did quite a bit.

    He asked me, “Do you want to be right, or do you want to be effective?”

    I still puzzle over that one from time to time, trying to come up with something more profound than, “That’s a fargin’ trick question!

    Obviously, I prefer to be both. Unfortunately, only the being right part is fully (or at least, to a significant degree) within my control. Whether I’m effective depends to a distressing degree upon, you know, other people…

    And of course, I’m not going to choose being wrong in order to be effective. What would be the point in that? Then I would be Lindsey Graham, who sold himself to that argument in 2016, and continues to run screaming down that shameful trail today.

    Which gets us back to it being a fargin’ trick question…

  2. Barry

    In fairness co Cunningham, the ONLY chance he has to win is to shake things up and say some pretty wild things to drum up support.

    Since you worked for James, you should know better than most running a conventional campaign in South Carolina as a Democrat is a way to waste your money and time. It equals an election loss.

    So saying some things that get attention is the only chance Cunningham will have.

    As my favorite commentator (Michael Smerconish) said this morning on his Sirius radio show, – The republican party takes its direction from Fox News, not the RNC or even politicians outside of Donald Trump. So where do Republican politicians run? To Fox News every chance they get. They battle to get invited on Fox shows for softball questions. There is actually a battle behind the scenes to get invited on Fox.

    in many ways, they’ve learned that half the country doesn’t care what they say, or what they do- as long as they can hear them say it on Fox News.

    I mean you’ve got Republican politicians – today on Fox News- suggesting that Trump having nuclear codes and highly classified documents around his house is perfectly fine- when yesterday many of them were saying that the only justification for the raid on his house was “if he were to have nuclear secrets at his house.”

    They’ve pulled a 180 in less than 24 hours because they worship Donald Trump.

    1. Barry

      and what does this have to do with your story?

      many Republican politicians have learned the secret to winning today is to say some pretty nutty stuff so you can get on tv.

      It works. I hate that it works. But it works.

  3. Ken

    Speaking of the debasement of our politics, here’s the state of “mind” of one of this state’s so-called representatives.
    From Jeff Duncan’s constituent newsletter:

    FBI Raids President Trump’s Home and the Weaponized DOJ/FBI

    The FBI raided a former President’s home — but failed to ever go to Hillary’s home for the private server, get Hunter’s laptop, or investigate the Clinton Foundation. We have a two-tiered justice system in this country: one for the liberal elites and one for everyone else.

    The weaponization and politicization of federal agencies is egregious and scary. These are Gestapo-like tactics. If the FBI can do this to President Trump, what do you think 87,000 new IRS agents will do to the American people?

    The Biden Administration has abused its power and completely weaponized the FBI and DOJ for political purposes. This week’s unprecedented raid on President Trump’s home was a scene from a Third World Country and a dark day in our nation’s history. These are the scare tactics of authoritarian countries trying to silence political threats and opposition.

    We live in a country where there seems to be no penalty or recourse for the ongoing crimes committed by Democrats in power (think no further than the deep-seated corruption of the Biden and Clinton crime families), yet the FBI raids a former President’s home a year and a half after he left the White House… Americans deserve an explanation.

    1. Ken

      It’s the sort of representation you get from a semi-educated, poorly informed, self-radicalized and over-indulged electorate.

    2. Barry

      Jeff Duncan would be 100% for the FBI raiding the home of every Democrat in the country.

      He’s a hypocrite of the highest order.

      1. Ken

        You don’t have to read his “constituent newsletters” for long to see that he’s not much interested in facts. At least not if he can’t manipulate, distort or misrepresent them to suit his demagogic needs.

    3. Barry

      What Jeff Duncan didn’t tell his cult worshippers

      “On June 14, 2018, the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General (During the Trump Administration) released its report on the FBI’s and DOJ’s handling of Clinton’s investigation, finding no evidence of political bias and lending support for the decision to not prosecute Clinton.

      It found “no persuasive evidence of systemic, deliberate mishandling of classified information”

      As they said at the time, Clinton was careless (imagine that). That’s not a crime.

      Since then, we’ve learned Trump’s own family members used their own private email accounts to conduct government business.

      “WASHINGTON — Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and a powerful White House aide, did not preserve all of her official emails as required by federal law, and her husband, Jared Kushner, used a messaging application to conduct U.S. business outside government channels, a violation of Federal law.”

      In 2018,. numerous news organizations reported that Kushner was communicating with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman using WhatsApp.

      Numerous other Trump administration officials (Steve Bannon, KT McFarland) also regularly used personal email for government business. McFarland, as Deputy National Security Advisor, routinely received classified reports and used personal email instead of her official government email account.


      Jeff Duncan had no comment.

  4. bud

    Well, I’ll tell you what more I want, as a voter. I’d like him to step up and tell me why he, Joe Cunningham, would be a better governor than Henry McMaster.

    I don’t think it’s fair to suggest Cunningham is not making a case for why he would make a better governor than McMaster. You may disagree with his proposals but he does lay out what he wants to do and why. Just check out his website.


    As for the Biden-should-step-aside-because-of-his-age thing, that’s hardly a rogue proposition. Biden will be 82 on election day. That really is too old to run for four year job as demanding as POTUS. Robert Reich said the same thing citing his own aging difficulties. Carolyn Maloney likewise suggested it’s time to retire. I’ve defended Biden for many things that he’s gotten right. But sometimes his decisions don’t make sense. Why for example did he go groveling to the reprehensible Saudis for more oil when it’s his stated position that we need to move away from fossil fuels.

        1. Barry

          Bill is terrific. Anyone that detests Trump as much as Kristol does is a great person no matter what else he does in his entire life.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          I have no idea where you’d get an idea like that — certainly not from anything those two have written. I would say that precisely the opposite was true.


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