It’s a Values Proposition
Last Wednesday, the Republican Party hosted the first debate of the 2024 Presidential race in Milwaukee. Martha MacCallum and Bret Baier of FOX News moderated. The debate had nearly 13 million viewers. Donald Trump met all of the criteria to be on the debate stage but opted instead to do an interview with Tucker Carlson that was broadcast on Twitter (now “X”) at the same time as the Republican debate. It reportedly had 74 million viewers. Draw your own conclusions.
I watched the “debate” and, like everyone else who watched, have my opinions. Here are some of them.
These are not debates. A debate would be a substantive exchange of ideas that would provide the audience with meaningful information about who the candidates are and how they would govern. Several months ago, I dedicated a Blast to proposing we rethink debates. Among my suggestions were eliminating the media from any moderating role and shifting to a format that allows the candidates to question each other on any subject they choose with strict enforcement of time limits.
Last Wednesday’s event showcased much of what makes contemporary debates meaningless to many. No opening statements. One minute to respond. Behavior that at times devolved into name calling and bickering. Bret and Martha reinforced why media personalities have no role in real debates. They wasted precious time by opening with a video of a popular country song and asking candidates questions about why it’s resonating with people. They threw in a question about UFOs. They did not enforce time rules and provided a very lopsided opportunity for the candidates to express their views.
The career politicians should get off the stage and go home. They tout their experience and qualifications from a lifetime in the public sector, while the American people see only dysfunction and dismal results. We yearn for authentic, effective leadership. They are not what we want or need.
There will be, and should be, spirited differences among us on policy. The vigorous debate of ideas is a hallmark of freedom. Values are a different matter. Our values are fundamental to who we are and serve as our foundation. We are in the fight of our lives over which values will shape our country going forward. There is an aggressive liberal agenda pulling us away from our founding principles and, more important than any individual policy positions, we need to know who the candidates are from a values perspective.
Two candidates, Vivek Ramaswamy and Tim Scott, have responded to the liberal attempt to fundamentally change our country by speaking clearly about some of what they value. It’s a start.
“God is real.
There are two genders.
Human flourishing requires fossil fuels.
Reverse racism is racism.
An open border is no border.
Parents determine the education of their children.
The nuclear family is the greatest form of governance known to mankind.
Capitalism lifts people up from poverty.
There are three branches of the U.S. government, not four.
The U.S. Constitution is the strongest guarantor of freedoms in history”.
“If you’re able-bodied, you work.
If you take out a loan, you pay it back.
If you commit a violent crime, you go to jail.
If you’re a man, you should play sports against men.
The deeper our divisions become, the less likely politicians are to be honest with us about what they value and the more important it is for us to know. We cannot make our best choice unless we know what a candidate really believes. We cannot make our best choice unless we know what we really believe. It’s a values proposition.