The Instigator
Harlan
Pro (for)
Winning
29 Points
The Contender
DucoNihilum
Con (against)
Losing
28 Points

If a president has an approval rating of 33% then they should honorably resign.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/18/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,871 times Debate No: 4090
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (17)
Votes (15)

 

Harlan

Pro

Hello, I would like to clarify that I intend for this debate NOT to be specific to George W. Bush. This is a debate about presidents in general, whether they are democrats or republicans…

When you are president, in this democracy, your solemn duty is to protect the interests of the people.

A few presidents that have achieved extremely low approval ratings are Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and both George Bush's.

Since approval ratings vary, this debate will circle around the hypothetical of a president having an approval rating of 33%. I assert that this hypothetical president should honorably resign, being unpopular as he/she is.

33% is only one third of the population. The right thing to do would be to honorably resign, because they are no longer wanted by the nation. A president who truly valued democracy would do just that.

To not resign in this hypothetical does not arise from any sense of benignity, but from hunger for power, in most cases. To not resign is to openly defy the will of the majority of the United States; it is to oppose the nation to which they vowed to serve. These kinds of politicians to not believe in democracy, they see it as an obstacle that they must overcome to get power. Have these politicians no sense of honor, no sense of duty to the country?

We live in the twenty first century; we can not tolerate power-hungry politicians continuing to stay in power even after it has been made clear that the citizens of the country to which they rule are opposed to their seat in government. This is not representative government, this is despotism.

One of the first questions that should be asked of a candidate before they are elected is: "If you are no longer favored by the nation, shall you resign?"

-Harlan
DucoNihilum

Con

DucoNihilum forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 1
Harlan

Pro

I must say I am slightly dissapointed. I will give the benefit of the doubt to my opponent and not assume that he has conceded out of lack of rebuttal. Though I must say that it looks awfully strange that he has been here on debate.org and participating in other debates, yet has failed to give a round 1 argument.

My opponent said in an earlier debate him and I had:

"as they have not posted in the last few rounds I take that as conceding, so I should win this debate."

So, surely he will be able to post next round, for otherwise, with his own logic, he should lose.
DucoNihilum

Con

First and foremost, I must apologize for my tardiness. I always hate it when someone forfeits a round, but hate it more when they forfeit all rounds. I will try to make a much greater effort to post in all rounds for now on.

I think that you and I might have very similar overall goals, to get rid of bad leaders, however you and I have different means of doing so. Personally, I have strongly disapproved of many of our leaders, and thought it might be good if they resigned. However, where you and I differ is that I believe that they should resign based on their actual job performance, if they in fact do their best to uphold the constitution or of they do not do so well at upholding it.

While it is possible that a president with a low approval rating is doing a bad job, that does not necessarily mean that he is doing poorly, in fact it means absolutely nothing. The duty of the President, or leaders in general is not to follow every whim of the public as public opinion waxes and wanes, but rather to run the executive branch as per the constitution, regardless of public opinion. If we expect a president to resign simply because of a poor public opinion, then we must also expect the president to do many other things for public opinion. Public opinion is not always rational, and not always correct.

Your argument is based on a fallacy, argument from popularity. Simply because a politician is unpopular does not mean that he is a bad politician, nor does it mean he has at all failed his duties.

I will give an example of a politician who might be unpopular, but who nevertheless would likely follow his duties as per the constitution. Ron Paul did rather bad in the Republican primaries. If he were to have become president, by whatever means his approval rating might be very low. After all, his views differ greatly from those of the majority of the American public. However, would he do bad at his job of president? On the contrary, he would follow his duties to the letter, being a very well known constitutionalist. For another example, FDR was rather popular, at least more popular than The Bush's, Nixon, and other presidents with low approval ratings. He however, did not stand by the American principles outlined in the constitution, in fact, he went against them, starting a miniature socialist revolution in the US.

Popularity is not now, nor will it ever be an indication of job performance. Politicians should only retire, or be forced to retire if their job performance is low. As an argument from popularity is clearly not an indication of job performance (as per the logical flaw) then no percent of the population should have any say in determining if a president should be impeached, or resign.
Debate Round No. 2
Harlan

Pro

Don't worry about missing the round one. I should ask voters to not let this affect your voting, given the now apparent fact that it was not due to lack of a rebuttal, this should not be considered when voting.

You begin by asserting that that whether a leader should resign should be based on their "job performance", and "upholding the constitution" But I should like to ask you what you precisely mean when you say "job performance". I should also like to ask who gets to decide whether they are properly doing their job. You? That would hardly seem fair. Why not let the majority decide whether they are properly doing their job? Whether or not they are doing their job right is a matter of opinion. Therefore, public opinion polls are very proper for determining this. The difference between your argument and my argument is that you do not create a way of determining how well they do their job, exempt your own opinion.

Isn't the whole spirit of the constitution that of a democratic one? Would it then not seem that to "uphold the constitution", as in truly believing in it and following its virtues, they would step down when called upon to do so by the populist?

This statement of yours' truly shocked me:

"It means absolutely nothing"

Public opinion polls mean absolutely nothing? Ill tell you what is means: it is the will of the majority, and the notion that that means nothing is contradicting the concept of democracy.

"The duty of the President, or leaders in general is not to follow every whim of the public as public opinion waxes and wanes, but rather to run the executive branch as per the constitution, regardless of public opinion. If we expect a president to resign simply because of a poor public opinion, then we must also expect the president to do many other things for public opinion. Public opinion is not always rational, and not always correct."

I agree that the presidents' actions as president should follow his/her own opinions. They should represent their own beliefs, and let the voters decide whether they should be president. But of course, things can change, and their personal beliefs may no longer represent the population's opinion. In this scenario, I do not advocate that they make DIFFERENT executive decisions based on this, I advocate that they resign and let someone whose opinions DO represent the popular opinion become president.

The idea that if one should resign because of approval ratings "then we must also expect the president to do many other things for public opinion" is a fallacy. There is a monumental difference between an unpopular leader being replaced with a popular leader…and the unpopular leader trying to do popular things. No matter how noble the leader may perceive their mission to be, it is inescapable that they are not wanted, and that not leaving office would mean defying the United States

Also I would like to focus on what you said at the end: "Public opinion is not always rational, and not always correct."…

The flaw in your logic here is assuming that there is some fundamental, manifest truth. The terms "rational" and "correct" are purely relative. While I may not "agree" with the populist always, nothing really matters, and I must admit that because nothing really matters, there is no fundamental truth, and therefore, someone must decide what the "correct" things might be. Now, it may not be perfect, but I can think of no better way to decide what we should pretend is "right", than to follow the will of the majority.

"Your argument is based on a fallacy, argument from popularity. Simply because a politician is unpopular does not mean that he is a bad politician, nor does it mean he has at all failed his duties."

You will not have to read many of my debates to understand that I believe that the concepts of "good" and "bad" are meaningless. And once more, someone has to decide what to pretend is good and bad, and why not the majority. This is not a matter of good and bad, this is a matter of defying the nation they should be working with.

You then give a scenario in which Ron Paul was president. You say that he would be a good president, but, once more, this is solely your own opinion. It does not matter whether they are "good" or "bad"; these are in fact relative opinions. We must, by default, look at the will of the majority as a deciding factor. If Ron Paul were somehow president, and if he had very low approval ratings, then the right thing to do would be to resign, because he would be WORKING AGAINST THE NATION to which he would be supposed to be serving. The president is one man. For him to stay in office against the will of the vast majority would be despotism. This is un-American and contradictory to the virtues of democracy.

You then give the example of Roosevelt, who you claim did not follow the constitution. I would like you to cite something as to what is giving you this notion. But anyways, even the constitution is distantly flexible based on the will of the majority. And who is to decide whether Roosevelt did a bad job? You? Or the United States of America? From a theoretical point, no matter the president or whether they are "right", the US citizens should be the people to determine whether they are doing their job. And if it turns out that they are not favored by the majority, they should resign. That is what a true believer in democracy would do.

"Popularity is not now, nor will it ever be an indication of job performance"

Ah, but then what is? You will answer that it is whether they follow the constitution. But who decides that? Well, you do. Their job performance is an opinion, and is relative. You then state that opinion doesn't matter.

"Politicians should only retire, or be forced to retire if their job performance is low."

Once more, who would decide that?

My opponent's argument revolves around some implication that there is a fundamental and manifestly correct truth about whether a president has good performance. Suspiciously, he seems to have been the one to announce to us who has good job performance and who doesn't. Therefore, he either believes that his opinion is more accurate than anyone else's, or he is receiving this information from god.

My opponent's logic is flawed because:

-He sais "I believe that they should resign based on their actual job performance", indicating that Presidents should resign solely based on self-evaluation. This would obviously be biased.

-He presents his own opinion on why certain presidents should resign, but then says that opinions don't matter.

-He assumes that resigning based on opinion polls would imply making other actions based on opinion polls.

-He has created a myth that there is an absolute on whether or not a president is "good", when in fact these are all relative to opinion

-He provides no method of deciding whether they should resign, exempt his own personal opinion, and the president's self-evaluation. The only logical way to decide their job performance is to conduct a survey, as any other way would be despotic, and undemocratic.

My opponent, to my dismay, will have the last word. Oh well, vote PRO.

-Harlan
DucoNihilum

Con

You are "shocked" by what I say only because you have some misconceptions about this country, and about democracy in general.

While we are taught in school that democracy necessarily equals freedom, and that democratic nations are free nations that is not always the case. My job is not to provide you with an alternative as to which we could judge the performance of politicians, but simply prove yours wrong.

While immediate inspection may show that democracy is a great way to determine which is good, this is not the case. In fact, I will try to show that it is an especially bad way of deciding what is good and what is bad, and that we should not use democracy, in any respect, to decide if our leaders should resign or remain the leaders.

While our country does use a somewhat democratic process to decide who our president will be, this is not a very good process to begin with, to escalate this by having politicians resign based on the whims of the public would be disastrous. While you claim that politicians will not necessarily have to follow these whims of the public, it will in fact necessarily happen. No politician would want to resign, so to remain in charge the politician would have to effectively follow public opinions waxes and wanings. This would be a bad thing, as this would lead to tyranny.

Public opinion, democracy rule simply shows that the majority will get their will taken, not that people will be delt with freely. If 66.6% of the American public wanted to execute black people, would that be just? Under your view of this great democracy it would be a just move. I disagree.

Allowing the public to decide who is president, and who is not president will not stop tyranny, it will create it.

To empirically disprove your argument that democracy should be used to determine if somebody should resign from office, I submit the logical fallacy, argumentum ad populum. Argumentum ad populum is a logical fallacy in which one believes that since a view, a person, or a thing is popular that it is favorable, or likewise, since something is unpopular it is dis favorable, or in this case that a politician should resign, not resign, or be put in his position of power.

Your entire argument is based off of how great this democracy is, however, democracy's foundations are in tyranny, and fallacy. As democracy, majority rule is based off of a logical fallacy we should not have politicians resign if their approval rating is even 0%. Logical arguments should be used, if anything, determining who is correct through a logical process and analysis given the situation, such as, for example, an impeachment. If you accept pros argument, you deny logic.
Debate Round No. 3
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Leftymorgan 8 years ago
Leftymorgan
With that kind of thinking then, what can be said about the congress if their approval numbers are half that of the president. Shouldn't they also resign their positions if the presidents approval is higher than theirs. On this topic I am not really taking sides because I believe that they all aren't doing a very good job and we need to draft an entire new team this election cycle and the next.
Posted by chevy10294 8 years ago
chevy10294
POlls mean nothing. If you look at the number of people that voted, it isn't that much
Posted by DucoNihilum 8 years ago
DucoNihilum
For what reason should the majority rule over anybody else, including even me?
Posted by Harlan 8 years ago
Harlan
Present an alternative...

Sure it aint perfect, but if somebodies gonna rule, it migh as well be the majority.

If the majority doesn't rule than who will? You?
Posted by DucoNihilum 8 years ago
DucoNihilum
The majority is no more right than anybody else, perhaps even less right, in fact. Why should the majority be allowed to reign over the minority in tyranny, simply because it sounds nice?
Posted by Harlan 8 years ago
Harlan
I do not say that the majority is always right, I say that we must let them decide what to pretend is right, when no opinion is truly right.

Yes, we may label it whatever we wish, but I call it democracy.
Posted by DucoNihilum 8 years ago
DucoNihilum
Was your entire argument not based on Argumentum Ad Populum?
Posted by Harlan 8 years ago
Harlan
My opponents argument was fundamentally fallacious. How was his fallacious argument more logical than mine?
Posted by DucoNihilum 8 years ago
DucoNihilum
My opponents argument was fundamentally fallacious. How was his fallacious argument more logical than mine?
Posted by libertarian 8 years ago
libertarian
Funnybrad333:
The Iraq War should have been done with a long time ago. We cannot achieve anything from it that we did not have before the ridiculous war. He lied to Congress to get it passed. Trampled over the Constitution. Managed to have two recessions and be oblivious. Responded terribly to Hurricane Katrina, although nobody blames him for the NATURAL disaster. He has a low approval rating because he has a low performance.
We don't have a true democracy because of the electoral college and people who steal the votes of Floridians and barge their way into the White House.
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