John Dickerson Thinks The Way We Pick Presidents is FUBAR
John Dickerson is a correspondent for 60 Minutes, a political analyst for CBS News, a contributing writer for The Atlantic, and one of the three hosts of Slate's Political Gabfest podcast, which incredibly has been going for 15 years. He was previously the host of "Face the Nation" and a co-host on "CBS This Morning."
John's most recent book "The Hardest Job In the World: The American Presidency," looks at the history of and expectations for the office, and says America’s process for picking presidents is badly broken.
“We encourage impulsive, winner-take-all displays of momentary flash to win a job that requires restraint, deliberation, and cooperation,” he wrote.
And Americans have gone too far in seeking always to send an outsider to Washington to disrupt the status quo. “Our presidential candidates go through no apprenticeship process to test whether they have governing qualities ... We’re not simply judging a book by its cover, we’re judging a bomb-defusing manual by its cover.”
And so in this episode I ask John about why he thinks we should acknowledge that presidents do sometimes have to lie or mislead, and that we need to have intelligent criteria for analyzing whether someone is lying in a way that is constructive or destructive.
We talk about how he thinks primaries should change, and how our political debates need to be completely overhauled.
And we discuss Trump's attempts to overturn the election, and Mitch McConnell's long-delayed recognition of Joe Biden's election win. The weeks of saying nothing while Trump misled millions into believing the election was stolen has done what John calls "serious damage" to democracy.
We end with a few thoughts on Advent.
Thank you for listening to this show. I hope you have rest and peace over these holidays. My family and I celebrate Christmas, and I wish those of you who do as well as Merry Christmas. Happy Hannukah, Happy Kwanzaa, andd Happy New Year.
Outro song: "Summer's End" by John Prine
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