Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Pundits and Perfect Candidates

Main Entry: pun-dit

Function: noun

Etymology: Hindi paºit, from Sanskrit paºita, from paºita learned

Date: 1672

1: pandit

2: a learned man: teacher

3: one who gives opinions in an authoritative manner: critic

As I read and hear the words of the today’s media pundits regarding the presidential candidates, I am amazed that the political-know-it-alls find faults with everyone. Allow me to modify that: the pundits find faults with candidates whose political philosophy differs from their own.

As I pondered the pundits I remembered something that took place during my first year at Eden Theological Seminary. I was in a class taught by Dr. Walter Brueggemann, one of the leading Old Testament scholars of the second half of the Twentieth Century.

Dr. Brueggemann stated that Israel viewed David as its greatest king. And I asked Why? since King David was far from perfect: he was a liar, a thief, a rebel, a bandit, an adulterer, and a murderer, to name a few of David’s less than perfect qualities.

King David Covets the Wife of Uri'ah Who He Then Sends to His Death [See 2 Samuel 11]

The Prophet Nathan Confronts King David [See 2 Samuel 12:1-14]

I shall never forget Dr. Brueggemann’s response. He said throughout the history of the Judeo-Christian God and humanity, God has always chosen humans who are less than “perfect” to serve God. The one exception was Jesus, the Messiah, but he really doesn’t count, since Christian theology informs us that Jesus is God incarnate.

Now, if God selects humans who, like King David, are far from perfect to be God’s servants, why do today’s pundits spend so much time pointing out the imperfections of candidates for office?


  1. will have to completely and cheerfully disagree with the notion that Jesus is God but happily agree with OBAMA '08!!! Spare us from anything else or I guess it's a mass movement to Canada??

  2. Clinton was too funny with 'he didn't inhale'. At least he was trying to get to the honest marker with that one! (hehe) I think it's a funny question and shouldn't be determined whether the candidate would be a good president or not.

  3. I am becoming very tried of the views of the pundits!

  4. Nick, I just wanted to thank you for such an objective post. No matter who it is we support, the media will tear them apart - not looking for the good, but focusing on the imperfections.

    I may not agree with your political leanings, but I vehemently agree with your thoughts in this post!

  5. Hello Alex's Dad, I am Gandalf and Grayson's Mom!

    I hate to state the obvious, but did not your question in fact answer itself?

  6. Hey, if you can point out the imperfections of someone else, no one will look to close at yourself.

    I partially agree but also partially disagree. I mean I think you need to be able to look up to your leaders. We are not perfect but when we slip, if it is bad enough, I question how you can trust someone again. I know forgive and forget but that is hard to do.

    But I do question what on earth some of the things that they dig up on political people, has anything to with anything. I mean Obama gets dingged for his minister and again for his company he keeps and even his house. So what on earth is all that about?

    What kills me is how much just short of lying the candidates are doing. I know enough about Michigan politics that I every commercial I see I recognize all the lies or half truths that are being told. Stuff like one person says we need a 24 percent flat tax. They tell everyone this is a new tax... TRUE. They do not tell you that this is to replace the existing tax system. So while they did not lie, yes they did by withholding important information that they knew would totally make their commercial not only a non issue but maybe even a good thing. The other side says their opponent cast the deciding vote on a big tax increase. First can you say that when a whole bunch of people voted the same way. Also, he was not the last person to vote for it so wrong again. I have a real hard time believing anyone these days.

    I am so sorry. I need this insanity that is called campaigning to END NOW!

  7. Humanity in a leader is appealing if you ask me. I'm not looking for the Messiah to lead my country, but rather someone who can empathize with every strata of my country's population.

    Excellent post my friend.

  8. It's my opinion that, for the most part, the opinion of others (especially the that of pundits) is none of my business. :-)

  9. Jay Are: I’ve no desire for anyone to agree with the Christian theology; after all, Nick’s Bytes has readers who have many differing beliefs and I am not a fundamentalist or right-wing Evangelical.

    That said, I’m in 100% agreement with you on the election of Senator Obama in November. Hey, just glance at my sidebar!

    Deb: The whole inhale has been, to me, humorous from the beginning. Perhaps that’s why the media talking-heads keep bringing it up. After all, as Rush Limbaugh says over and over and over, as a talking-head he is neither a news reporter nor a pundit; he is an entertainer!

  10. Abby: I, too, am very tired of the pundits! So tired, that I find myself doing my best to ignore all of them!

    Dana: You are most welcome. To me, as a student of history, I believe in a form democracy that goes back to its inception in ancient Athens in which citizens don’t avoid discussing politics but do the exact opposite. No matter what their positions, they discuss and debate and by the time the vote comes, they cast theirs for the common good.

    Perhaps because pundits claim to be “experts” with the mission to “teach” the rest of us citizens is the primary reason most of them have the effect of making me want to vomit.

  11. WillThink4Wine : Welcome to Nick’s Bytes! I am so glad that you clicked over from Alex’s blog!

    Yep, my question did answer itself. We theologians are notorious for asking rhetorical questions!

    Barman: You are absolutely right about keeping the focus on them. That was one thing I learned when I was a kid from read the book 1984!

    As for much of the, uh, shit that is dug up on candidates, the families, friends, etc. I, like you, don’t believe that it has anything to do with anything! I do believe that the media takes itself too seriously, although our American “cult of the celebrity” as seen in gossip column-like TV and radio shows and Internet sites rather eggs that on.

    As for political and campaign “lies,” I suppose they have been around since the beginning of voting. I know from history that they were around in the politics of the Roman Republic!

    I suppose it is the work of the citizen of a democracy to be informed enough to see through the mendacity to whatever truth lies beneath it.

  12. Anndi: Thank you.

    I am in 100% agreement with you. I believe that humanity, empathy, and compassion are three qualities of excellent leadership. The lack of those qualities, I firmly believe, in the Bush administration has been very hurtful to millions of people around the world.

    Carol: I truly agree with you! Now, if the folks to love gossip could just be convinced of the same!

  13. oh and by the way, Nick, I'm a Christian as well and appreciate the service and care you've given in your life...just disagree with the popular belief that you mentioned.

    always enjoy your blog and your views and discussions. Thanks!

  14. Because God KNOWS that ALL humans are imperfect (ask Alex!) and pundits haven't worked that out yet. ;0/

  15. Jay Are: No question about you being a Christian! There are many Christians who don’t believe that Jesus is divine. I was even a bit reluctant to write that phrase in the original post. Thanks for the dialogue! You have inspired me to write a future post on the subject of divinity with which I believe you’ll most likely agree.

    Crazy Cath: Alex definitely know that, at the very least, his silly hoomin is far from perfect. I think he says that in about 90% of his blog posts on Alexicon!