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Pundit Roundtable Open Mic

Welcome back to Pundit Roundtable! I am your host, Ken McCracken, and this week we are opening up the Roundtable to any and all comers.

You must answer these topic questions in any way you see fit, staying on topic is encouraged but not necessary.

Topic 1: Do you have any secret, odd or uncanny talents?

Topic 2: What do you think of today's crop of elder statesman? Consider folks such as the living ex-presidents, Senators Kennedy, Byrd, Ted Stevens and such. Who do you like? Or not?

Please just add a comment below if you want to join in!

If you have any interesting links, ideas, suggestions for our readers, post those too or send them to me and I can put them in the post here itself.

Also, if you want to be on our list of pundits for the Roundtable in the future, let me know.

That is all!

ShrinkWrapped steps up with this assessment, especially in regards to a certain ex-president, and note in particular the possible future Roundtable question:

the current crop of elder statesmen are an embarrassment. Jimmah Carter leads the pack; he still has not met a totalitarian despot who he recognizes as a fascist. As long as they frame their arguments in "progressive, PC non-thought" and mouth the proper platitudes, which includes visceral anti-Americanism and minimally disguised (and, often, undisguised) anti-Semitism, they are just fine with Jimmy. He represents the worst of the liberal impulse, which at one time was a noble designation.

And that leads into my suggestion for a topic. I have been trying
for quite some time to figure out just what it means to be a liberal
today. I have had a terrible time figuring out just what they think
they believe in and have had trouble engaging any liberals in a
reasoned discussion of what it means to be a liberal. If anyone has
any ideas about how to pin down a workable definition of liberalism,
I would be very interested.
And as a point of interest, I am not interested in knowing what conservatives think of liberals; there is plenty of that around; I want to know what they believe in at their best because that would afford the best chance of addressing their arguments without descending into DU land.

Posted by Ken McCracken · 29 January 2006 03:10 PM


1. My hidden talents are:

I. I can move my entire scalp without using any hands. It looks like a toupee flopping around. People have genuinely wondered whether I am wearing a wig when I have done it. It also diffuses nearly any tense situation, because it is sort of funny. Almost nobody I have ever met has ever been able to do this. NBC's Conan O'Brien can, though.

II. I can whistle through my teeth, also without using my hands. Songs. Cat calls. You name it. Without moving my mouth, too. It has come in handy a few times, too. I got this one from my parents.

III. I can watch a few minutes of just about any old movie and tell you what year it was made. I definitely have not memorized any list or movies or anything like that. I usually don't even realize I am watching a movie with a famous actor. I just can sort of narrow it down by observing hair, clothes, furniture, architecture, dialect, picture/film quality, and so on. I have no training or schooling in this, nor have I consciously attempted to get good at this. It's really weird how accurate I am. And I am not really old enough to have lived through any of the movies, either.

2. As far as our elder statesmen go, we clearly have a deficiency, mostly on the left. This could probably be expanded into a lengthy post, but there are a few reasons for this. First, the WWII generation is rapidly giving way to a far less worthy generation. And the stragglers from the WWII generation still in politics aren't exactly the cream of that crop. Kennedy could be using this opportunity, near the end of his life/career, to become a well-repected elder statesman. He is instead going off the deep end the other way. Same thing with Jimmy Carter. He was America's worst President. For a while he had a genuine claim on the title of "America's best ex-President." Now, near the end of his life, he is aiming low-- and hitting his target.

Kennedy and Carter are just a couple of examples of older politicians who have chosen a divisive, pandering, partisan path, over a uniting elder statesman role. What kind of legacy is that?

Another reason is that the elder statesmen of the Vietnam protest movement (in their 30s at the time) are now retiring in droves. These folks, in their mid-to-late-60s would have once made great elder statesmen-in-training. Now they just revert to their anti-American, anti-war radicalism that made them feel alive and youthful in the 1960s and 1970s.

The biggest reason, perhaps, is that the older generation of Democrats is befuddled and frustrated with their party's precipitous fall from respectability and electability. After all, they controlled most of the government for generations. Plural. They were the party of the people. They even did a few good things, now and then. They still can't quite get over losing that power. They don't understand that the people have rejected their ideas, more than once (in 1994), but pretty consistently for more than a decade now.

Posted by: Will Franklin at January 29, 2006 05:33 PM

Will,... One good thing about Jimmy Carter that I can think of is Habitat For Humanity...But that is all I can really think of that might be good about Jimmy Carter!....(I always like to try to find a bit of positive even in the worst of people!)
However, Ted Kennedy lacks any luster as far as I know??? Correct me if I am wrong?
Even though Gerald Ford was a "liberal Republican" it is hard not to like the man!...
George H.W. Bush I really admired! His downfall was when he allowed the Dem. Congress to sucker him into raising taxes! That was when the MSM went on their rampage of "Read My Lips"...
Bill Clinton... Hmmm... How can I put this? That Clinton Era was a Nightmare!... Let's see now, we had Gennifer Flowers and an entire soiree of other coming out of his ears!... Then we had Travelgate! Vince Foster thing... Susan McDoogle and Whatever her husbands name was! There are so many Things that it would take to long! BUT ... he does play the Sax!... AND his wife stayed with him even though he couldn't seem to resist repeated urges toward every woman that suited his fancy!... That Hillary is a saint!... It takes a village to satisfy him! Sorry! That just slipped out!

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at January 29, 2006 06:47 PM

Ken,... It seems to me that the Liberals are fixated on Abortion! That seems to have brought John Kerry home to try and filibuster Alito... Abortion seems to be the center of the Democratic party??? Or is there something I am missing? Oh! Yes!... And they seem intent on not providing answers for the SS disaster that is about to erupt!... I guess there is one other thing that the Libs are about and that is trying to get the President impeached as payback for Bill Clinton's lies under oath!... That is just how I see the libs.

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at January 29, 2006 06:59 PM

You are right I think - the Democratic Party has three planks on its platform: abortion at all times under any circumstances, hate Bush, and do nothing on SS.

Not very inspiring, is it.

Posted by: Ken McCracken at January 29, 2006 07:40 PM

As for the elder statesmen, I have to give a nod to Senator Robert Byrd. He had some great things to say about Samuel Alito, and he rightly castigated his own party for their horrid treatment of Alito during his confirmation hearings.

Byrd is doing all this for the wrong reasons of course - he is in a red state, and a deeppockets opponent has shown up to challenge him. But, nonetheless, he did the right thing.

Now, Jimmy Carter on the other hand . . .


Posted by: Ken McCracken at January 29, 2006 07:43 PM

1. I can pee standing up and hit a toilet with a 60% accuracy rate.

2. So I am driving about two weeks ago in Phoenix and I spot a 1992 or so Ford Bronco with a "My President is Charlton Heston" sticker. So as far as elder statesmen go, I give the nod to Moses.

Posted by: Justin B at January 30, 2006 04:55 AM