Dummy of the Day: Kathleen Parker thinks “Why do you want to be president” is a probing question

Kathleen Parker is a dolt.  She has somehow bamboozled the Washington Post into paying her to pen opinion pieces that would embarrass any self-respecting high-school newspaper editor.  Today she’s at it again, ginning up excitement for the upcoming clown debate with nuggets like this:

Once upon a time in a twinkling city on a hill, little boys and girls were taught that anyone could grow up to become president.

The children all believed it and today many, many of them are trying to fulfill the promise. While it has been proved true that anyone really can become president, it has also been proved even more true that most shouldn’t.

When is the last time you’ve seen this kind of mindless nonsense?  Why, the last time you read a Kathleen Parker op-ed piece, of course.  Where to start?

What is a “twinkling city on a hill”?  The metaphorical “city upon a hill” has been a feature of Christian and American political rhetoric for centuries, but when did it start to twinkle?  Ronald Reagan had it “shining” in many of his speeches, which makes sense: cities do glow at nighttime, and the halo a city on a hill might throw off would be something to behold from a distance.  It’s hard to see how something that twinkles could move the soul like something that shines, but Parker had to come up with some adjective, and maybe shining was too passe?

It’s all down-hill from there.  Accepting as true the silly propositions that all children are taught that they can someday be President (is this how conversations go around the table when one parent is parkermissing and the other is addicted to crack?) and that all children believe it (do inner-city kids even conceptualize this ideation while ducking for cover?), what does Parker mean by writing that “many, many of them are trying to fulfill the promise”?  Most of the children I’m aware of are busy fiddling with gadgets, learning their ABC’s, and putzing around with soccer balls.  The way we’re going, children had better start equipping themselves with basic survival skills; when the planet starts belching and heaving in earnest over millennia of abuse, becoming president might seem a rather ethereal concern.

It’s been “proved true that anyone really can become president”?  Really, really?  I hope that was a veiled swipe at George W. Bush and not a serious averment, but I doubt it.  Anyone can become president, eh?  A person with Down’s Syndrome?  A woman whose faith requires that she wear a head scarf?  A person with crooked teeth, pockmarked skin, and an awkward gait?  Really?

And what is the difference between “true” and “more true”?

Here is Parker’s big suggestion about how we should approach tonight’s CNN debate: “But the question — Why do you want to be president? — is worth asking each candidate. Why, indeed. We can predict most of the answers, none of which will be remotely true.”

Just take a moment to soak in the glorious idiocy of that statement.  No sooner does she identify the most important question that could be posed to the candidates (Indeed, the title of her piece is “The most important debate question: why are you running for president?”) than she tells us the answers will be predictable and untrue.  If the answers will be predictable an untrue, then what on earth can we glean from asking the question?  Shouldn’t we be asking questions that probe for truth in an unpredictable way?

And what kind of a question is that, anyway: why do you want to be …?  I’ll bet none of the candidates sees that hardball coming!  Are we picking a president here or a prom court?  In point of fact, a discerning voter should not care why a person wants to be president; a discerning voter should only care about what the candidate would do as president.

Kathleen Parker, intellectual trainwreck.

What do you think?  Do you CONCUR or DISSENT?

by Brendan Beery


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