“When widely followed public figures feel free to say anything, without any fact-checking, we have a problem. It becomes impossible for a democracy to think intelligently about big issues — deficit reduction, health care, taxes, energy/climate — let alone act on them. Facts, opinions and fabrications just blend together.”
— Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times, Nov 16, 2010
I dusted this quote off for use today in honor of today’s Nevada Republican Caucus, the upcoming South Carolina Democratic Primary, and next week’s multi-state set of primaries known as Super Tuesday. And added this, from Aldous Huxley, since one quote didn’t seem sufficient.
“In one way or another, as vigorous he-man or kindly father, the candidate must be glamorous. He must also be an entertainer who never bores his audience. Inured to television and radio, that audience is accustomed to being distracted and does not like to be asked to concentrate or make a prolonged intellectual effort. All speeches by the entertainer-candidate must therefore be short and snappy. The great issues of the day must be dealt with in five minutes at the most — and preferably (since the audience will be eager to pass on to something a little livelier than inflation or the H-bomb) in sixty seconds flat. The nature of oratory is such that there has always been a tendency among politicians and clergymen to over-simplify complex issues. From a pulpit or a platform even the most conscientious of speakers finds it very difficult to tell the whole truth. The methods now being used to merchandise the political candidate as though he were a deodorant positively guarantee the electorate against ever hearing the truth about anything.”
Image is of an etching of the original design for the White House taken from the White House Museum website – http://www.whitehousemuseum.org/overview.htm.