Let me finish with this.
Bill Clinton has just let loose with a staggering commentary on 21st century American politics.
He said he didn’t think he was good at it anymore “because I’m not mad at anybody.”
I’m afraid he’s got something there. A major California politician, not long ago, listed the two things he said are necessary to run for office are (A) to hate what you doing now and (B) be ready to kill the other guy.
I’m afraid those standards let into the door of American leadership the absolute worst kind of people – specifically, those who can’t think of anything else to do and those who get a kick out of hurting people.
Two things are going on in politics today. I say this as someone who generally likes politicians, respects their guts in running for office, and totally believes in the cause of democratic government.
First, the number and quality of people running has dropped precipitously. Just check out the list of candidates the last few times for president with the candidates whose names were out there when I was young: Hubert Humphrey, Nelson Rockefeller, Adlai Stevenson, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy.
Now go look at the list today. Hillary Clinton has certainly shown her chops, but the rest of them? Give me a break.
Secondly, there’s a lot more given to attacking the other candidate today. There was once a time when accusing a candidate of being soft on Communism was unacceptable. Today, they’re out there comparing their rivals to those who sold out to Hitler. They accuse the president of being an illegal immigrant from Africa, someone who has lied his entire life – from his first thoughts as an infant – to get into the White House.
Maybe these two factors are connected: the wariness of good people of high quality to jump into the political waters and the sleazeballs out there floating in it.