Does Character Still Matter When Picking President?

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 9, 2012

He was reading over my shoulder a couple weeks back as I was keeping up with the Republican presidential war in South Carolina. The headline described New Gingrich’s second ex-wife’s claim that her husband asked her to go along with his infidelity and “share him.”
“Dad, what is an open marriage?” my 12-year-old asked.
I told him as politely as I could phrase it, and his eyes narrowed.
“We don’t want a President like that, do we?”
There was a time when character was the primary consideration for picking anyone for public service. In the wake of Gingrich’s success in Bible Belt South Carolina, there have been musings about whether a cad can still be a good president. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, when he was a candidate, skewered Gingrich, saying anyone who would cheat on his wife would cheat on his business partner. By inference, he would also cheat his country. Quitting the race, Perry endorsed the Gingrich.
Strange bedfellows.
In the Republican response to the State of the Union message last week, Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana congratulated President Obama for being a good example of a father and husband. But he listed a host of reasons why Mr. Obama has been a lousy President.
President Carter taught Sunday School during his administration, but he’s often classified as one of the worst presidents.
Grover Cleveland was dogged with the ditty, “Ma, Ma, where’s my Pa?” regarding a love child he might have fathered. Unlike modern politicians, Cleveland confessed all, acknowledging he had paid child support for years for a child. He was elected to two separate four-year terms, 1885-89 and 1893-97. He won the popular vote in 1888 but lost his bid for re-election to Benjamin Harrison. A TV commentator last week longed for Grover Cleveland.
Maybe we’ll get the full package one day.

Square Broom Handles

Sometimes we forget just how good we’ve got it. Last week, RealTimeWWII, a Twitter site that recounts the day by day history of World War II, noted this from 1940: “Britain’s timber director announcing UK broom handles will now be square, not round, to save on wood.”

Snow Removal Service
Ends With Cleary’s Death

It’s a good thing this has been a mild winter. Many Mocksville residents would be snowed in otherwise because of the death last week of J.C. “Buster” Cleary, the friendliest guy in town.
Astride his red belly Ford tractor, he spent every snowy day clearing the driveways of his friends and even some people he …