Candidate X doesn't know Y: What's your dealbreaker?

Every candidate is ignorant about something. Most of the things aren’t too important, but some are.

What’s one thing your candidate had better know about to get your vote?

For example, if it were revealed tomorrow that Barack Obama was a Holocaust denier, I would vote for someone else. If he couldn’t say who was the leader in Germany during that time I would probably vote for someone else. If he couldn’t name who was the head of the Luftwaffe, I would shake my head and probably still vote for him

What things for you are so important that ignorance is unacceptable?

There are plenty of quotes at the time that make a candidate seem too ignorant to live, but any reasonable person will shrug it off as a ‘brain fart’.

For me, a candidate still believing our course in Vietnam was the the correct one is unacceptable. Not that either do, as far as I know.

No one can know everything, so it’s how someone deals with their ignorance that is telling, rather than displaying the ignorance itself. Denying the holocaust is one thing and wholly unacceptable; not knowing of it and admitting it is quite another and regrettable but correctable.

I don’t really give a shit about most of the bread and circus type issues (abortion, prayer in school, etc etc)…the only issue that they MUST understand is the economy. They have to have a fundamental grasp of HOW the economy works so that they can grasp how much of my (our) collective money they can blow on stupid programs. They have to understand enough not to attempt to kill the golden goose.

I despair of ever having a candidate I can vote for with a clear conscious…


Being ignorant about science AND pandering to the Religious Right. I was sick to my stomach watching the Republicans raise their hands when asked if they believe in Creationism.

Yup. Creationism is a deal-breaker.

Creationism is bread and circus…unless they are pushing through a creationism agenda (i.e. they are pushing to teach it in the public school system). Bush was supposedly a creationist…yet there has been no push for creationism from the federal level to the public school system.

As long as they don’t do that I could care less what they believe.


I would agree with this to a point, but certain beliefs are so out there (IMO) that I wouldn’t trust that person’s judgment on anything else without serious scrutiny. The whole “there’s no way they’re crazy enough to (gas puppies/bounce babies/pee on granny)” stops being valid when (in my case) they think the Earth is 6,000 years old. They might not draft the Grandma Urination Stimulus Package but I wouldn’t want them in a position of power, anyway.

Where would you draw the line then? If you are a Jew and they are a Christian then you don’t believe in what they believe in. If you are an agnostic (like me), then you don’t believe in their Christian dogma (like Obama), no? The problem is that belief is just that…it’s belief. And folks believe all kinds of strange things.

As long as they aren’t pushing their magic on the public by attempting to either pass legislation or otherwise inject it into public agencies I really don’t care what they believe.


I dunno. I think I’d have to fall back onto “I’ll know it when I see it.”

FTR, I’m agnostic too; recovered Catholic.

True, but a lot of religion isn’t specifically nullified by actual scientific evidence. There might be a god somewhere (something you and I can agree on), but there were not any fucking dinosaurs running around 9,000 years ago.

There weren’t probably any non-fucking dinos running about 9k years ago either. Probably part of their problem…had they been fucking like they should have been they might still be about today…



Oooh! I may have one. Do any of the candidates realize Henry Paulson is lying to build his own giant golden parachute & leave them no discretionary budget for the next four years?

My absolute dealbreaker is a candidate supporting the Assault Weapons Ban. I don’t want to drag this into yet another gun debate, but the short version is that we had the 1994 AWB which banned a number of firearms that weren’t really used in crimes all that often, the bill wound up not doing anything as far as affecting crimes, and it was allowed to sunset in 2004 because Congress realized it wasn’t doing anything to stop crime.

To be fair, gun-related issues strongly shape my opinions of candidates because it’s something I’m strongly familiar with and have a vested interest in. But my belief is that there’s only two ways someone can support the AWB: 1) They’re interested in as much gun control as possible and believe they can sneak an AWB through. 2) They’re unaware of how little “assault weapons” have to do with crime and/or mistake them for more powerful weapons due to the deliberately deceptive terminology. #1 indicates gross dishonesty, and #2 indicates a severe lack of knowledge about the issue. #1 is never acceptable to me, and #2 isn’t acceptable for someone seeking office with the intent of being able to affect the issue.

As an interesting aside, another dealbreaker would have been voting against the Vitter amendment – that was a post-Katrina measure that basically made it illegal to confiscate legally owned firearms just because there was an emergency. Thankfully, that’s moot with regard to the current presidential race, as even Obama and Biden (with strong anti-gun track records) voted in favor of the amendment.

I agree with bread and circus. It’s mostly just noise.

My limtus test is probably more than one thing…but once a candidate looks into my eyes (via the TV) and tells me with all seriousness that the government must run X, where

X = healthcare, education, railroads, biomedical research, drug approval, new investments in technology, etc.

because we can’t be trusted to do it for ourselves, they have lost me.

That’s not the same as providing support and funding for those things to help the poor. It’s RUNNING them. And giving the power of the purse to run them to Congress or some new federal bureaucracy. It’s a sure sign that the candidate has probably either been (1) in government all of their life or (2) been a lawyer.

Unfortunately, a lot of times both major party candidates suffer from the same disease. At that point I kick it over to the 3rd party candidates, or vote based on some larger strategy that doesn’t necessarily square with whether or not I support the candidates’ stance on the issues.

I’m not asking about political beliefs. I’m asking about facts. Not opinions. Facts.

What facts are absolutely essential for Candidate X to know?

The fact that jobs, improved living standards, and wealth creation do not spring forth from the government.

If there’s something you’re tempted to write in this thread that half of the people in the US would disagree on, that’s a hint that what you’re writing is probably an opinion, not a fact.

This is addressed to everyone in the thread. There is a difference between a political opinion and a fact. There’s a hundred threads for you all to yammer on about your political opinions. I want to talk about what we demand as baseline knowledge for political candidates.

Really? I don’t really think that’s particularly relevant to the modern political environment. Before I looked up Luftwaffe on Wikipedia, I knew Hermann Goering’s (how do you do an umlaut) name, but I didn’t know what role he held.

If I had to pick just one, I’d say probably a lack of knowledge about basic science would do it. I include evolution in this: there’s no way I’d ever vote for a creationist or an ID proponent.

Jeez. Sorry. I guess I thought it was baseline knowledge.

My dealbreaker would include something about knowing the difference between “could care less” and “couldn’t care less.” :wink:

Nah, but seriously folks… Like some others I’d say evolution is a major dealbreaker. So is knowing the history of our country, plus the major players of the world.

Yeah, I took a stab at Goerring (best thing for him!) and was right. However, I’m also one of those kooky voters who wants my leaders to be smarter than I. God forbid my own knowledge, or that of the average U.S. American, should be used as the standard by which we judge our leaders! We used that as a litmus test in 2000, how’d that work out for us?

So just because I could only name three Supreme Court cases off the top of my head in five seconds (with more time I came up with five or six) doesn’t mean I don’t expect candidates for the highest offices of the land to know at least that many. I want, as a popular banner puts it, the smartest motherfuckers in the room.

In other words, I expect a presidential wannabe to know our Constitution solid. I expect them to know that Spain is a NATO ally and who its president is, and even if s/he can’t name the dude, I certainly expect him or her to know that this individual is not Latin American. I expect them to know that Roosevelt didn’t speak on television in 1929.

Of course, anyone can make a mistake, so if the candidate reveals his or her ignorance on any of the above, I also expect them to know how to make a graceful apology or explanation for not knowing this stuff. (Okay, that’s not a ‘fact’ that the OP wanted, but admitting a mistake is a lost art in politics, and thus it’s a skill I rate highly.)