Flashback: A debate so civil that people felt good about both candidates.

Of course, we’re not talking about Clinton-Trump or Pence-Kaine …


Every time that I watch one of these current day mud-slings, I think retro to the good old days when 2 contending candidates could share a stage, explain their contrasting positions so clearly that voters had a basis for choosing, and leave the stage as friends – just like they were when they walked in.

The year was 2000 and it was the Vice Presidential debate: Joe Lieberman and Dick Cheney.




The nation was ideologically divided … maybe not a divisively as today … but, there were stark contrasts in positions.

Still the men were willing and able to conduct themselves as statesmen …


Time magazine called it: A Debate Good Enough to Make You Want to Vote

Here are some snippets …

Anyone who took the time to tune in to the traditionally superfluous vice-presidential debate got to see a pair of confident, articulate, serious and dignified number-two men have a gentlemanly discussion — and gentlemen’s disagreements — about the right direction for America and the current state of the world.

Not that Dick Cheney and Joe Lieberman, at a table on stage at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, left the traditional running-mate chores undone.

They were surrogates for their candidates, and astonishingly effective ones.

These two were almost translators, calmly and precisely explaining what their bosses had meant the other day.

It was the traditional debate attitude that was missing — the grandstanding, the posturing, the darting search for that “Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy” moment.

In other words, these politicians were a couple of class acts.

Cheney and Lieberman poked at each other’s math dutifully but briefly. Never mind the numbers.

It’s a philosophical choice, best outlined in a calm, intelligent discussion.

Both men showed a talent for that.


When Lieberman said: “My wife wants me to go out in the private sector” … Cheney countered: “I’m going to try to help you do that, Joe.”

Both men laughed. Real laughter. It was fun.

Cheney’s performance was a bit of a revelation, mostly because it really didn’t look like a performance.

Lieberman was merely as affable as expected.

The shocker was in the, well, civilized nature of it all.

Both presidential candidates should be envious, and a little embarrassed.

The vice-presidential debate of the 2000 presidential election was a cleanser of the political palate for any voter who watched it.

It’s enough to make a person want to vote again.

I’d just add “enough to make someone want to vote for a candidate, not just against a candidate”.

The timeless line: “Both presidential candidates should be envious, and a little embarrassed.

I wish the current candidates would watch the tapes and internalize the message.

That said, I’m betting the under for this Sunday’s rematch ….



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