‘Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder.”
Assorted sources trace that maxim’s origins to Greece, way back when it wasn’t deeply in disastrous debt.
And 2,300 years later, the adage’s wise recognition of personal perception’s power endures.
Offensiveness, obnoxiousness and inspiring insight lie in the eyes of the beholders, too.
Lately, though, many pundits have beheld comments by assorted candidates — and not just Donald Trump — as not just inappropriate but intolerable.
Lots of regular folks, though, are even more offended — and rightly so — by far too many politicians’ habit of saying one thing while pandering for votes then doing quite another after getting them.
So judge for yourself how heavily the following remarks weigh on your scorn or commendable scales — and test your knowledge of who said what and when (answers at column’s end):
1) “We are not about to send American boys 9,000 or 10,000 miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.”
2) “I don’t think our troops ought to be used for what’s called nation-building.”
3) “Even if we give first priority to the destruction of terrorist networks, and even if we succeed, there are still governments that could bring us great harm. And there is a clear case that one of these governments in particular represents a virulent threat in a class by itself: Iraq. As far as I am concerned, a final reckoning with that government should be on the table.”
4) “Riding up here (to Washington, D.C.), I saw this state (South Carolina) could care less. I just saw Carolina license plates, Tiger paw license plates. They just can’t wait for the kickoffs here at the end of the month. They just don’t worry about the 60,100 textile jobs alone we have lost since NAFTA.”
5) “I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage.”
6) “We discourage any companies that have unions from wanting to come to South Carolina because we don’t want to taint the water.”
7) “The Confederate Battle Flag has wrongly been used for racist and other purposes in recent decades. It should not be used in any way as a political symbol that divides us. But we should also remember that honorable Americans fought on both sides in the Civil War, including slaveholders in the Union Army from states such as Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland and Delaware, and that many non-slaveholders fought for the South. It was in recognition of the character of soldiers on both sides that the federal government authorized the construction of the Confederate Memorial 100 years ago, on the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery.”
8) “When you give parents (school) choice, you really do give the kid a better chance. You really open that child’s mind to amazing opportunities that they would not have seen before. The statistics bear it out, and personal experience says it’s real.”
9) “I would ask the Republican Party why most major companies are firing Mr. Trump, and I don’t think we should hire him. ... I’m not taking on voters, I am taking on an idea that I think he’s appealing to the dark side of American politics. He is not offering solutions to hard, complicated problems. He is basically selling fear and prejudice.”
10) “This (the Keystone XL Pipeline) is President Obama’s decision. And I am not going to second-guess him, because I was in a position to set this in motion, and I do not think that would be the right thing to do. So I want to wait and see what he and Secretary Kerry decide. If it’s undecided when I become president, I will answer your question.”
11) “It is so important that people not give up, that people keep making noise, keep pushing.”
12) “We need someone not beholden to Washington interests and megabanks to lead the country and change the culture.”
1) Lyndon B. Johnson, in those or similar words, on multiple occasions during the 1964 presidential campaign.
2) George W. Bush during a presidential debate on Oct. 11, 2000.
3) Al Gore in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations on Feb. 12, 2002.
4) Ernest F. “Fritz” Hollings while announcing his decision not to seek another Senate term on Aug. 4, 2003.
5) Barack Obama on MTV on Nov. 1, 2008, three days before being elected president.
6) Nikki Haley during an automotive conference in Greenville on Feb. 20, 2014.
7) Jim Webb (former Virginia senator and current Democratic presidential candidate) in a June 24, 2015 posting on his Facebook page.
9) Lindsey Graham on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” on Sunday.
10) Hillary Clinton in response to a question during a town hall in Nashua, N.H., on Tuesday.
11) Mark Sanford on WTMA’s “Morning Show” with host Charlie James on Wednesday.
12) Rick Perry during a Wednesday speech to the Committee to Unleash Prosperity in New York City.
Frank Wooten is assistant editor of The Post and Courier. His email is email@example.com.