Jules Witcover, Ronald Reagan and Germond in Oval Office in 1981
|Born||John Worthen Germond
January 30, 1928
|Died||August 14, 2013
Charles Town, West Virginia
|Occupation||Journalist and author|
|Known for||Panelist on The McLaughlin Group|
American voters have to pay closer attention to politics if they want to avoid four years of whining about the outcome.
I really found this campaign odious. I couldn't get up for it. The quality of the candidates and the campaign, I just found the whole thing second-rate. I didn't know how to explain to my granddaughter that I was spending my dotage writing about Al Gore and George W. Bush.
For those of us who spent our careers competing with David Broder, the hardest thing to abide was the inevitable comparison. If someone said Jack Germond – or Jules Witcover or Walter Mears or whoever – 'is a pretty good political reporter,' the default response would be, 'but he's no David Broder.'
Rather than fretting about IQ scores, voters should try to determine what candidates read – other than the Bible, which they all say they read – and the kind of people with whom they spend their time.
Most of the good people of my generation… had offers to become editors, but the thought of going inside was just absolutely horrifying.
Spend hundreds of millions; talk endlessly about issues; present 12-point plans for education, the economy, and the environment. But in the end, the election of our next president can turn on a gaffe.
Candidates should be extremely cautious in displaying a sense of humor. If he or she tells a joke with a point, there is almost certain to be some minority group offended.
Pictures can be devastating. Who allowed John Kerry to get himself photographed windsurfing in a flowered swimsuit? Anyone in the real world in that operation?
Unsurprisingly, the poll-takers don't talk a lot in public about the ignorance of the electorate on political and public policy matters. And the politicians are not going to disclose the, let's say, limited body of knowledge in their constituencies. You don't get elected calling your voters airheads.
Attack politics costs us dearly in terms of insight into the candidates. In a presidential campaign, the focus is so tight that the politicians are afraid to say anything that hasn't been scripted.
Television doesn't like politics very well, if you can infer that from the way they cover it.
You could write your fingers off for 25 years… and never get the kind of hearing you could get from shooting off your mouth on television for a half hour every week.
I have always argued that newspapers should not have any civic purpose beyond telling readers what is happening… A reporter who doesn't quickly tell readers what they most want to know – the score – won't last long. Better he should teach political science.
Every newspaper editor says the heart of the paper is the reporter – which is true – except for the pay!
Politicians read the polls that show 85 or 90 percent of the voters profess a belief in God, so they identify themselves with religion, often only to the degree necessary to reach the constituency they are targeting.
The secret of doing well on TV is to understand that it's not too important. A lot of people watching doesn't change anything.
Mo Udall didn't want the presidency bad enough. He was too sane. He was a marvelous guy, but you had the feeling there was another Udall outside his body watching the candidate Udall who was too extravagant, telling him to cut it out.
The country is stronger than the result of any one election. But we shouldn't forget that these are just ordinary people. I wish Americans would look at them level, not down or up – just level. It doesn't take some special dimension to be president.
Everyone I know thinks television is the most important part of my life. I did it for the money! I was able to send my daughter to college.