Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

October 3, 2012

House of Burgess: Democracy? That’s debatable.

Tonight, virtually the only substantive portion of our never-ending presidential election cycle kicks off at Magness Arena at the University of Denver in Colorado. The event, hosted by the Commission on Presidential Debates, will be the first of three televised match-ups between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney. What won’t be featured are the candidates of any other party. That’s because the rules require at least 15 percent support in five national polls for a candidate to be allowed to debate.

Third party candidates have only made it to the big dance debate-wise twice. The first occurred in 1980 when independent John B. Anderson crashed the party. Democratic President Jimmy Carter wouldn’t debate with him. Republican Ronald Reagan wouldn’t debate without him. This rift resulted in a Carter-less first debate, a canceled second debate and a third debate sans Anderson. Anderson didn’t win any electoral votes, but gathered 5,719,850 in the popular vote. The appearance of Ross Perot in the 1992 debates pretty much ensured the two major parties would never let another interloper through the gates, as he brought down an impressive 19,743,821 in the popular vote. By contrast, Green Party candidate Ralph Nader was boxed out of the 2000 debates, only pulling down 2,882,955 in the popular vote. In each of these cases, Anderson, Perot and Nader were derisively described as kingmakers, allegedly denying Carter, George H.W. Bush and Al Gore the presidency, respectively.

Third party candidates may split the electorate, but they definitely break up the sheer monotony. Staying awake during the 2000 and 2004 presidential debates was a chore. Just look at the yawn-worthy rogues’ gallery: John Kerry, Al Gore and George W. Bush. For sheer power, there wasn’t a John F. Kennedy, Reagan or Bill Clinton in sight. But when a charmer is on stage, it’s usually lopsided, quickly devolving into a popularity contest. The most dynamic leader since Kennedy, Reagan was an actor through and through, with catchphrases like a movie hero. “There you go again,” he chided Jimmy Carter in 1980. This line worked for Regan so well that he brought it back out of retirement in 1984, this time re-gifting it to Walter Mondale.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • Vasicek: Celebrating Easter I have shared a few bits of Easter humor over the years, so I thought I’d start with a new one. Joseph of Arimathea was the wealthy Pharisee who is famous for helping to bury the body of Jesus. He procured the body, asking Pilate’s permission, and, w

    April 20, 2014

  • Public Eye: Was Turner the only one?

    CNHI Statehouse Bureau Chief Maureen Hayden and other Statehouse reporters didn't get an answer as to why the House ethics committee hearing concerning State Rep. Eric Turner was postponed, but it now appears the committee will meet Wednesday. A note

    April 20, 2014

  • DAY: God trusted us with them Well, you heard about my wife and I, and our families from the past, so it is time for me to tell you about two of the prettiest girls I have ever known. They are our daughters Debbie and Patty. They are the greatest gifts from God that we have had i

    April 19, 2014

  • LoBianco: Bigger ethics questions raised in House Turner review

    Members of the House Ethics Committee who will take up Rep. Eric Turner’s case face daunting tasks as they try to answer two questions: Did their powerful colleague violate any ethics rules in privately lobbying against a measure that would have hurt his family’s business?

    April 18, 2014

  • Letters to the Editor: April 18, 2014

    Attendees at the Tipton County Board of Commissioners meeting April 7 were treated to an appalling lack of both action and concern by the commissioners.

    April 18, 2014

  • Letter to the Editor: April 17, 2014

    On March 20 of this year I attended a public meeting of the Tipton County Economic Development Alliance. Members of this group include the three county commissioners, a member of the county council, two members from the city council, and the mayor.

    April 17, 2014

  • Hicks: Measuring the unmeasurable

    One aspect of economic research I think is especially powerful is the ability to measure or monetize the things that humans clearly value but for which a market price is not necessarily apparent. This is one of the aspects of economic analysis that gives it such dominance over other social sciences.

    April 17, 2014

  • Rob Burgess House of Burgess: Bush presents 'The Art of Leadership'

    On April 5, “The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy,” opened at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum on the campus of Southern Methodist University. The display, which runs through June 3, boasts “portraits of more than two dozen world leaders” painted by Bush, according to the official literature.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bohanon: ‘Economics is fun’ in Vegas or in Bible study

    I am writing this on an airplane to Las Vegas. I’ll be attending the annual conference of the Association of Private Enterprise Education along with two of my colleagues and six of my students.

    April 16, 2014

  • Letters to the Editor: April 16, 2014

    At the time the agenda for the April 7 commissioner meeting came out, I was happy to see that the neglected commissioner board appointments were finally going to be addressed. These appointments had been in limbo for months on end.

    April 16, 2014

Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll