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Senior Correspondent

The President is to appear tonight with Jon Stewart.  Mitt Romney refused to appear on the View.  One is being criticized, the other not.

This is another of my generational observations.  There was a time when our Presidents were men of dignity and class.  They weren't people we'd have a beer with or would necessarily feel our pain.  They were men of accomplishment and vision and patriotism who cared about our country as a whole and it's place in the world.  They were people we admired.  They weren't like us.  They were far more able.  At least that is the image they projected. And the one we wanted to see.

It has changed.  Now we seem them out campaigning in shirt sleeves and blue jeans.  We see them trying to look comfortable doing unseemly things.  They have surrogates who are more interested in destroying the competition's reputations than promoting their own policies.  Both parties are guilty of this though perhaps at differing times.

I personally don't want to see any candidate being questioned by the intellectual heavy weights on the View nor the snarky, foul mouthed likes of Jon Stewart.  To me it demeans what they are trying to accomplish – being elected to the Presidency of the United States.  I certainly don't go to those sources to gain in depth perspective.

When did all this start?  Perhaps with the hero worship of Kennedy.  He was young, good looking and charming.  Especially next to Nixon. Television was just gaining a foothold and became more and more the instrument of change when it came to personality over substance.

The next big change was when the magnetic Bill Clinton snatched victory from a tired, boring George H.W. Bush.  It really slid downhill from there.  The boxers versus briefs episode put the bullet through the heart of dignity.

It continued to disintegrate with 24/7 coverage when every word and nuance was dissected by a media no longer neutral.  The result is what we have today.  Where a mind can't be changed without being disparaged.  Where accomplishments are derided rather than cheered – because they aren't like "us".

I don't know who will win this election, but you need look no farther than the campaigns to see why the world has such a diminished view of us as a world leader. We have become self-centered and mean spirited.  It's not a pretty picture.

How long has it been since you've heard the lyrics to America the Beautiful?  Take a look, refresh your memory.  Do you recognize it?  Or is what we have today the new normal?  If so, what a pity.

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