ESPN talking head Stephen A. Smith was a guest on “The Paul Finebaum Show” this week and said under the right circumstances he would run for president of the United States of America. Why not, right? If a reality television star could be president, why not Smith?
“Obviously, when you think about the standards that were once held in the White House, I’m pretty damn good but I’m not perfect. I would’ve told you once upon a time, ‘Hell no,’ but when I see some of the things that have transpired, I can honestly tell you… if enough people came to me and said to me, ‘Stephen A., you have a legitimate shot to win the Presidency of the United States of America,’ I would strongly, strongly consider running.
“I have no desire to ever be a politician, but I’ve lost so much respect for the nonsense that I see taking place on Capitol Hill, that if somebody said to me, ‘Stephen A., you could win this thing,’ yes, I would run for the presidency of the United States of America.”
— Paul Finebaum (@finebaum) August 23, 2022
Smith is already playing the role of politician. Appearing on “The Paul Finebaum Show,” a popular sports program, especially in the Southern states, and saying how he’s lost respect for the nonsense on Capitol Hill. He’s speaking to a potential voting base. With no mention of a specific political party, his base is free to interpret his comments as they wish. It’s a smart move.
Imagine Smith on the campaign trail hosting rallies and engaging in debates. He might have zero experience in governing, but no candidate wants to see him in a live debate setting. This is what Smith does 24/7, 365. He’d leave opponents dumfounded with his verbosity and theatrics. It would certainly be a compelling watch.
Of course, therein lies the problem.
This isn’t about a hypothetical run for the presidency by Smith. It’s about the fact that governing this nation has turned into a three-ring circus. A spectacle for people to choose sides and watch as elected officials use bully pulpits to consolidate power, put on performances for the media, and make life harder for the people they are supposed to represent.
Smith’s feeling of “losing respect” is a sentiment shared by many Americans about our government, regardless of party affiliation.
According to the Pew Research Center, Americans have been deeply distrustful of and dissatisfied with the government for decades. Sixty-five percent of Americans believe most political candidates run for office “to serve their own personal interests,” and only 20 percent say they trust the government in Washington to do the right thing just about always or most of the time.
It’s no wonder people with no background in governing or with any real desire to govern, like Smith, make statements like he did. The idea being ‘I can’t possibly be worse than what’s already happening.’ There’s a hint of resignation in taking that position. When you think about it, that’s a particularly sad and depressing state of affairs.