The adult in the room

Published May 30, 2024

By Carter Wrenn


Patti Davis, Ronald Reagan’s daughter, writing a column, remembered watching the Kennedy-Nixon debate with her father, said Kennedy and Nixon ‘probably didn’t like each other’ but were ‘unfailingly polite in their disagreements,’ concluded that’s how adults were ‘supposed to behave’ back then.

She talked next about Jimmy Carter’s debate with her father – about Carter criticizing Reagan and her father’s humor in answering the attack.

She rolled on to Al Gore unexpectantly crossing the debate stage in 2000, walking closer and closer to George Bush, invading his space – and how Bush gave Gore a friendly smile and nodded, the same as saying, ‘Howdy.’

Back then, she added, in politics, people expected a basic dignity – moving on she added in 2016 Donald Trump pulled the cork out of the bottle.

Moving on, again, talking about Trump’s upcoming debate with Biden, wrote, ‘Obviously Mr. Trump is not going to be civil’ – then advised Biden ‘to remind voters he is…the adult in the room.’

I’m not sure Biden’s up to that. But it would be good to see a bit of civility return – from both candidates – when Trump and Biden debate.