What should I say to Rotary in the morning?

Back before I realized it was on the morning after a critical World Series game, I agreed to speak to the Rotary Club that meets at the Palmetto Club at 7:30 a.m. tomorrow. I’ve been asked to speak on “the upcoming election and the state of national/local politics.”8662336773_7910f6010a_b

As is my wont, I intend to reserve most of my time for questions (that ensures that I address things my audience is interested in, and besides, I enjoy it more), but I do need to come up with some opening remarks — and it’s not a good idea to try to whip them together during the game tonight.

So I’m thinking about it now.

The problem, of course, isn’t a lack of things to talk about, but choosing from an overabundance.

What do y’all think I should say, to start things off?

18 thoughts on “What should I say to Rotary in the morning?

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I can only speak to the cycles in which I was involved:

      1996 — We liked Dole better than Clinton.

      2000 — We liked Bush better than Gore (as a board; personally I remember feeling rather noncommital)

      2004 — We disliked Kerry more than we disliked Bush (if you look back, you’ll see most of the editorial was about Bush’s flaw)

      2008 — My man John McCain was running, although I liked Obama a lot.

      Oh, wait — you were suggesting a topic, rather than asking a question… :)

      Reply
      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Quirky little detail about 1996…

        I told y’all the other day that I voted for Dole as a protest, but would have voted for Clinton if I thought Dole had a chance.

        All that year, I had been writing editorials and columns that in one way or another expressed our or my approval of Dole and disapproval of Clinton.

        I was expected to write the presidential endorsement when we got to that point in the fall. But as the time for that arrived, I had decided that, based on the awful campaign he had run, I would no longer be able to write in good conscience that I thought Dole would be a better president than Clinton.

        This was before I was editorial page editor; Tom McLean had the job then. I went in to see Tom and said he would have to write the editorial; I no longer could. He said OK, and he did. (I didn’t try to talk him into endorsing Clinton; I knew he wouldn’t go for it, and I don’t even think I would have wanted us to.)

        But I cast my vote for Dole. To register my displeasure with Clinton.

        My voting decisions can sometimes be complicated, particularly in presidential elections. This year is an exception to that. Donald Trump has provided the stark clarity that was missing in 1996…

        Reply
    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      You know what? I think that might be a good topic — presidential endorsements over the years….

      I think I’ll start with the story of how my views on the 1992 endorsement almost kept me from joining the editorial board.

      Views that, by the way, I put in a memo — a memo NO ONE had asked me to write; I just did it and distributed it among senior editors. I have that sort of compulsion, to offer commentary whether it’s to my advantage to do so or not. Hence the blog…

      Reply
      1. bud

        How about this, a hypothetical endorsement if Trump was running against Bernie Sanders. You’ve browbeaten everyone who votes for Trump or even a third party candidate without properly vetting your own bias. Sure, it’s easy to support a vote for a member of the establishment – your chosen soul mates, especially someone rather hawkish, over a very dangerous man. You ask others to disown their concerns about Hillary because Trump is just so bad. I largely agree but dude you need to do some introspection the way I did. I have never despised a politician as much as George W. Bush and for me to acknowledge EVEN HE would be better than Trump took a great deal of very hard, deep reflection. (Even now I probably wouldn’t vote for W unless I was in a swing state). Likewise you need to honestly reflect on a choice between Bernie and Trump. That would give you some perspective on why many people may not see the election the way you do. I believe you could work that kind of soul searching into a nice speech. Unless of course you would NOT vote for Bernie. In which case you’re just a hypocrite.

        Reply
  1. Matt Bohn

    Why the local newspapers didn’t endorse in 2012 but did this year. I remember that in 2012 it was noted that SC would vote Romney anyway. The call was for pragmatism. South Carolina will most probably vote Republican next Tuesday but the paper endorsed Clinton anyway. What changed and why is this year different?

    Reply
      1. Matt Bohn

        My apologies. The article said that Romney was going to win all of South Carolina’s electoral votes and that might not be a bad thing. A poor choice of words on my part. I always end up feeling stupid when I post comments here. Heck, maybe I am but I can live with that. I do enjoy your blog though!

        Reply
  2. Norm Ivey

    Bill Weld, Libertarian VP candidate, came just short of endorsing Hillary on Rachel Maddow tonight. That might be interesting.

    Reply

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