Much has been made of the “just-a-heartbeat-away” theory of politics, which is heavy with theoretical questions about what would happen should a leader succumb to illness or misfortune in office. There has been plenty of partisan exploitation in the press, studded with worst-case scenarios. President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney certainly were subjected to it.
Now it is Sen. John McCain and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s turn - with most of the stories positing something like this: “Is she ready to be the leader of the Free World if John McCain dies and blah-blah-blah-blah?” The lament appears almost as frequently as that now familiar, “Yes, but can Sarah Palin be president and still be a mother and moose hunter at the same time?”
But here’s news. American voters are not so concerned about the health and age of the candidates, no matter how much journalists and pundits ramp up the story.
A CNN/ Opinion Research Corp. survey of 1,020 adults conducted Sept. 19 to 21 revealed that campaign health did not weigh so heavily on their minds: 7 percent said it was the “most important” factor while 24 percent said that health issues were one of several factors they considered. Another 28 percent said health was a minor concern while 41 percent said it was “not a factor at all.”
And continuing, 79 percent said Mr. McCain’s age would not affect their vote — identical findings to a similar poll taken on Ronald Reagan in 1980. Fifty-three percent were not concerned that Mr. McCain would sicken in office, while 81 percent said they were not concerned about Sen. Barack Obama’s health.
Some things do bother us, though. Eighty-nine percent would be concerned if a candidate was an alcoholic, 73 percent would fret if a candidate had a heart attack during the campaign, 68 percent would care if the hopeful was currently diagnosed with cancer and 67 percent would worry if a candidate were under the care of a therapist or took antidepressants. Just over a quarter cared if a candidate smoked.
Mental and fiscal
What’s this? A reasoned effort to address a nightmare economy in a civilized manner? Huzzah. On Tuesday, the nonpartisan Concord Coalition hosts the “Fiscal Wake-up Tour,” a public town-hall meeting featuring economists from both the Heritage Foundation and the Brookings Institution who will speak “in plain terms.”
“One thing that Democrats and Republicans can agree on is that our nation’s current fiscal policy is not sustainable over the long term,” said spokesman Robert Bixby. “Changing course will require hard choices such as scaling back future entitlement promises, increasing revenues to pay for them, or - most likely - a combination of both. Because these choices are politically difficult, the active involvement of the American people is critical.”
The ongoing “tour” already has been to 40 cities; this time the confab is in Philadelphia. Accumulated wisdom seems particularly critical at this juncture as the players “cut through the usual partisan rhetoric and stimulate a more realistic public dialogue,” Mr. Bixby added.
Alice M. Rivlin of Brookings and Stuart M. Butler from Heritage will both weigh in; follow along with such dollar-conscious doings at www.concordcoalition.org.
Days of yore
Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue and eventually discovered America on this day in 1492, which also marks the beginnings of a traditional morning ritual. To celebrate the 400th anniversary of the landing, young Americans began reciting the Pledge of Allegiance for the first time in public schools on Oct. 12, 1892.View Entire Story
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
Politics, economics, and business from a real world perspective.
An establishmentarian conservative, short on cash, but long on wisdom.
A collection of reader guest articles, thoughts and opinions by Communities writers and breaking news and information.
News and opinion from a Millennial Urbanite with Southern sensibilities,
World's Ugliest Dog Contest
Spelling Bee finale
Marines train Afghan soldiers
Rolling Thunder 2013
Benghazi: The anatomy of a scandal