Who Is the Best Candidate To Be the Next President of the U.S.A.?

Feast of St Nicholas the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Myra

logo-usa-president.jpgSYMPOSIANS,

Be apprised that the date for the next Great Conversation has been changed from Tuesday, February 16, to Tuesday, February 23. A conflict on the Eighth Day Institute's schedule requires this change. We will gather at 7 p.m. at The Ladder, immediately west of Eighth Day Books. The evening conversation will end formally at 8:30 p.m.

The topic has not changed: "Who is the best candidate [as of February 23] to be the next President of the United States?" As the date nears and your choice solidifies, please come prepared to argue your claim with warrants/support. I hope that you will suggest this opportunity to others/friends whose views might be on the other side of the political spectrum from yours.

Looking further ahead: Have you asked your pastor  to consider preparing for the debate on Tuesday, April 12? (Pastors, have you mentioned this opportunity to your peers?) Non-ordained scholars within our churches are also invited to seek inclusion among the primary speakers. If you know that you desire a primary role, please let me know soon. The question: "What is the proper interpretation and understanding of the Creation accounts in Genesis 1 and 2?"

In the bonds of great conversation,

Mike Witherspoon

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  • commented 2016-02-22 20:23:15 -0600
    As a history teacher (please contain your envy), I’d like to approach Mike’s profuse menu of prompts by classifying some of the 44 Chiefs we’ve elected to this point, and then encourage you to project our next winner based on how our current candidates fit a winning profile. Please, indulge me, no one listens to a thing I say at my day job.

    Alphabet Soup Innovators: Think TR battling the trusts, or promoting “safe sausage;” Fifth Cousin Franklin rearranging the earth’s surface using mounds of the unemployed; LBJ evoking the fallen hero to augur Obamacare; and of course, that most radical liberal, Dick Nixon, who brought us: 1) an agency filled with clean-coal haters, and 2) no doubt thousands of “Employees: Please wash your hands after using the facilities” signs.

    Serial Cartographers: Jefferson, McKinley, Polk . . . Polk? James K., next to James Madison Jr (main author of both the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights), is much underappreciated. He only had a hand in the events that added approximately the final third of the continental U.S., while keeping the White House free of alcohol, dancing, and children.

    Crisis Managers: We start, of course, with the Illinois Rail Splitter, who somehow managed to super-glue a dismally breached country while concurrently ending a scourge; continue with an accused tree-splitter who quilted together a nation, and finish with a polio survivor, who, the antithesis of Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi, ladled out plenty of acronyms, and munitions, to lead this nation, and the bigger sphere, to brief respite from fear itself.

    So within which category do the five remaining Oval Office aspirants reside? Have we clearly defined the issues that will be the deal-breakers for our next Head of State, or are we looking for the person who we hope will handle the unforeseen exigencies that inevitably plague the leader of the Free World?

    I propose an Executive Order, calling for all of us to meet, and resolve, these pressing questions. No Senatorial consent required.

    Steve “Favorite Son” Witherspoon
  • commented 2016-02-18 18:39:50 -0600
    ​Great Conversationalists,

    We are looking forward to a “fun” evening of conversation as we try to monitor the many turns along the wild ride that the paths to Republican and Democratic nominations for POTUS 2016 have become.

    Further prompts:

    1.Whom do you want holding the office that, for some, symbolizes American leadership in the world, commands the armed forces of the most powerful nation on the planet, sets the tone for the purview of federal regulatory agencies, starts the federal budget conversation each year, and appoints Supreme Court nominees (Mr. Scalia, some of us will miss you) — and why?

    2.What Constitutional hermeneutic does America need more — originalist or activist?

    3.If pluralism is dying (given the postmodern worldview) and neo-tribalism growing, what would a Presidential voice say to restore national dialogue?

    4.Should Wall Street or Main Street receive more attention from the next POTUS?

    5.Which qualities in the next President are most important to you — and why: authenticity; open-mindedness; common sense; compassion; independence (not beholden); passion or dispassion; a dealmaker or purist; a working moral compass; sober momliness (Kathleen Parker on Hillary)?

    6.Have the world’s economic barons moved beyond the control of any nation’s president?

    7.Is national moral consensus so anachronistic and social media so personalized that the bully pulpit is just an intrusion, avoided by a quick click on whatever device individuals use to build their own moral autonomy?

    8.Is the migration of people groups across the globe approaching at will? Can presidents stop it? Should they?

    9.Is unilateral military confrontation so increasingly frowned upon by the world community, that the POTUS is relatively paralyzed?

    10.Given the eventual failure of fiat money — and the political promises that engender it — can someone be elected POTUS who realizes this? Or is democracy accelerating toward its own demise?

    See you on the 23rd, 7 p.m., at The Ladder, immediately west of Eighth Day Books.

    In the bonds of civil discourse,

    Mike Witherspoon

    P.S. I am bringing my yellow and red verbal-traffic signs! ;-)
  • commented 2016-02-02 13:34:55 -0600
    1. Whom will Trump choose as his running mate?
    2. Which candidate sees most clearly America’s proper, future role in the world’s political culture?
    3. Are any candidates spiritually positioned to have “wisdom from above”?
    4. Is Trump’s connection with the angst of the “lowering” middle class enough to make him surprisingly electable?
    5. Is the office of POTUS overly romanticized, even beyond anyone’s rising to the standard?
    6. Is America moving beyond unification, i.e., have diversity, multiculturalism, single-issue agendas so divided political loyalties that America should adopt the European system of proportional representation with an ascendant prime minister?
    7. Is today’s political anger in large segments of the electorate reasonable, constructive? Who can best manage it? Transform it into something helpful?
    8. Is Bernie identifying a future not-so-silent majority (the millennials) whose values portend trouble for the Republican party?
    9. Are Cruz or Trump even electable in November 2016?
    10. Is the American electorate, en masse, capable of recognizing the best candidate for POTUS? What are the criteria?
    11. What are the strengths that Hillary Clinton would bring to the Presidency?
  • commented 2016-02-02 13:32:09 -0600
    What continue to be the essential tasks of the President, Constitutionally and practically?

    What are the domestic and international opportunities the next President will have to make this a better world?

    Who is positioned to mediate the growing disaffection between the rich and the lower middle class?

    Who realizes that the economic malaise is more problematic on the demand side than the supply side?

    Who would want to be led to the pre-FDR days in which the social safety net scarcely existed?

    Who understands the price dynamics in health care, largely a function of suppliers realizing that consumers will pay most any price to stay healthy?

    Is there no place for a bully pulpit?

    Can this postmodern smorgasbord of moral autonomy be coalesced by the right leader?

    Within the fan bases of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, is there a hidden, subtle outcry for a return to monarchies, wherein solutions are dictated, sometimes speedily and decisively?

    Don’t we need a President who can work both sides of the aisle?

    If America in the past needed George Washington’s inspirational attitude, Lincoln’s steely resolve, T. Roosevelt’s progressivism, Reagan’s moral firmness, Clinton’s compromising politics (cf. the nation’s last balanced budgets), who might American need at this time?

    Is the Presidency becoming anachronistic? In the not-that-distant future will an International Directorate dictate world politics? Will this oligarchy balance budgets by requiring all to work and ending government-sponsored welfare (and its unaffordable costs)?

    Should POTUS be the chief executive along the lines of a city council-city manager model, except on a grander scale, so that the President merely implements legislation? Should the presidential veto power be emended Constitutionally, i.e. taken away?

    Does it matter if the President does not know the gaffe in stating Two Corinthians?
  • commented 2016-01-27 18:49:21 -0600
    Mike,
    Your clever framing of the topic for our upcoming discussion is skillfully filled with juicy adjectives and nouns that may very well [whether intentionally or not] obscure and obfuscate the issues if we are not very careful. But then again … what could be more characteristic of the kind of diatribes [not aka dialogues] we have come to expect in the world of American POLITICS.

    Well done !!! I am looking forward to a very vigorous evening !!!

    Bob
    PS. I intend to wear my rubber hunting waders to the symposium [and no this is not a 2nd amendment protest]. I just want to be on the safe side … […]it might get pretty deep in there by the end of the evening !!!