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existentialist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-15-08 07:36 PM
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Tim Johnson in McLaughlin
Tim Johnson was in McLaughlin yesterday.

I was one of about 2 dozen people present at a meeting where the primary topic of discussion was the "Dakota Peacekeeper" project that has temporarily placed additional police officers on the Standing Rock Reservation.

Having observed and conversed with Tim Johnson in this setting I can say that he is still clearly highly intelligent. His comprehension, and his ability to pay attention to several people in a complex discussion was impressive.

That stated he clearly suffers difficulty in expressing himself. Actually he can do just fine at that also IF he has time to think. There lies the rub. In an intense face to face debate he would come off badly.

This has got me thinking.

First, I think the discussion was more productive because there were relatively few people there. The pace of the discussion was more relaxed, and people really were thinking to try to find solutions rather than to score political points. This was good. It was also atypical of political discourse.

Does this put South Dakota at a disadvantage if we elect Johnson? Well, if it does it speaks poorly for the political climate in this country. That's a problem, political discourse has become so petty.

Conversely, Barack Obama is expected to have a similar advantage in the debates with McCain. We certainly hope so. It could be argued that Obama would have an advantage over McCain in a group discussion format too--he's basically smarter and better informed.

Johnson's disability IS being argued against him. Do we dare argue McCain's disability?

I think so if we do so politely. OK, some fringe people who are already seen to be on the fringe might be able to risk a few impolite comments so long as they are not taken to speak for Democrats as a whole (which the wingnuts will make them out to do) and so long as what is said is clearly true.

How has it gotten to the point where Republicans can argue that people of lesser intelligence are better qualified because they aren't "elitist"? How can they have the gall to be making that kind of arguments and the press and public let them get away with it?

The late Senator Roman Hruska (Nebraska) once famously defended a mediocre Nixon Supreme Ct. nominee saying that "Mediocre people need representation too." He was ridiculed for the statement.

Now it has come to the point where Republicans are actually campaigning on the idea that their candidate is better qualified because he is not as intelligent or as informed????????

There must be a way to expose this argument for the absurdity that it is.

This line of argument might (unfairly) hurt Tim Johnson--which worries me, but it is already being used against Tim Johnson, and the same argument applies with force weight, and fairness against McCain.

There must be a way to bring this into the public discourse in a productive way.
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