Teachings from the Times of the Pterodactyls

“Think of one depressing question each day,” said no one ever.

Surely there are enough unintentional downers that nobody needs to go searching for new ones, especially if they can be avoided.

Not so, my friend Michael Smerconish, a morning radio guy on Sirius XM, a once-a-week CNN TV guy and an occasional novelist and public speaker.

The poll question on his website, www.smerconish.com is “If the general election were held today with President Obama versus any of the five remaining candidates, would you vote for Obama or for one of the five?”

Why is that so depressing? And are there any teachings from the times of the pterodactyls to help us answer it?

Well, this story is not about the suspense of who’s winning in an unscientific poll on a website designed to attract more thoughtful moderates. As I write this, the President is leading by 70% to 30%.

If you are a supporter of the administration wouldn’t you prefer to think that his successor would be better still? Most don’t although we can’t tell which of the 70% or the 30% favor or dislike the President.

If the last eight years have not been your political favorites, wouldn’t you at least like to hope that one of the five candidates would be more to your liking? Again, most of the Smerconish voters don’t think so.

Back in the time of the pterodactyls, I learned a technique for the multiple-choice questions on the SATs if you did not know the right answer. Eliminate the ones you know to be wrong to increase the odds of guessing right.

For me, that means no check mark next to the President. If only one reason were required, I would lead with being tired of getting called a racist for any criticism not only of his actual record but of the exaggerations and distortions that are floated about by the spinners.

Spinner – The stock market is up a million percent since “he who walketh upon the waters” was elected. Hosanna.

LibertyPell – Interestingly, a 17-year career in investment management has taught me that no President actually has much impact on the stock market so do you think he should be taking credit for that?

Spinner – You are a racist.

Yup, I can live without that, though on present form, I guess I should get ready to be called a sexist for the next few years.

If backup reasons are needed, I choose excess partisanship, though that might be more the fault of the President’s staff, and a leadership deficit. If given a choice, I’d prefer someone who thought the last four words of the title “President of the United States” were at least as important as the first one.

That leaves me with any of the remaining five candidates.

Hillary Clinton, who will probably win: qualified but crooked. That is 1 to 1 but the crooked part is mostly from interests I might prefer. Well, except odious governments.

Bernie Sanders, who will be burned at the stake before being allowed to launch a third party effort after he loses the nomination. Sometimes I wonder how he feels about all the lies he has told to his followers and, of late, I have been wondering about his mental well-being. He scores no points on the plus side and virtually an infinite number on the minus side.

Donald Trump, who seems the likeliest nominee unless he too is burned at the stake before July. Like Bernie, he scores no points on the plus side and virtually an infinite number on the minus side.

Ted Cruz, who hangs perilously at the precipice of defeat. He is the candidate who reminds me most of the person I was scared might be under my bed when I was about five. You can’t come back from that so there is no need to do his plus minus.

John Kasich, who long ago fell from the precipice of defeat but is probably the first or second most qualified. He gets a point for qualified but surely he loses one for hopelessness.

Philosophical question: is hopeless better or worse than crooked?

Thanks Michael Smerconish for that miserable set of options.

But the lack of answers does not make it a bad question.

How come you didn’t offer “none of the above?” Back in the time of the pterodactyls it took a good deal of work to eliminate all of the wrong answers.

4 Responses to “Teachings from the Times of the Pterodactyls”

Ashley Higgins, April 30, 2016 at 6:13 pm said:

I never was able to visualize the monster that resided under my bed . . . until I saw Hillary.


Haven Pell, April 30, 2016 at 6:42 pm said:

OMG, were they down under my bed together? Whatever could she have been doing with Ted Cruz? This is all too horrifying.


bill gordon, May 01, 2016 at 12:28 pm said:

Hiltedactols may have been the result of such unimaginable couplings.


Haven Pell, May 01, 2016 at 12:43 pm said:

I wish I could unsee those words.


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