Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Process - SICK!

Every four years the same hue-and-cry is heard, to wit, that something needs to be done about national elections resulting from campaigns that are far too long and are powered more by the money candidates can raise than by their resumes. This cycle has been the worst within memory reaching back to the 1940s, when the perpetrator of this corner took notice as an adult. Indeed, this cycle is marked more by its obscenity with respect to the garish commercialization of the office than by anything else.

The current trouble started back in the 1970s when the primaries came on line as the actual determinants with respect to the nominees. Concurrent with the rapidly increasing use of TV, candidates started early and made actual vocations of campaigning for months and even years at a time, notwithstanding that many if not most of them were already in elected offices and thus glaringly neglecting the duties which they had been elected to discharge and which they had sworn to carry out. Both Senator Obama and McCain have been AWOL in the Senate for so long that they might have trouble finding the restrooms, as has Senator Clinton, who’s actually been campaigning for the presidency since 2000, when she bought and paid for a New York Senate seat as a stepping-stone to the presidency after never having lived in that state.

Though popularity has long been a part of the process, the popularity contest this year has been obscene to the point of trivializing the election and the office…so obscene that the largest rally for any candidate was held in Berlin (not Ohio), Germany. The whole "world-affairs-education" trip made by Senator Obama (an admission of his almost total ignorance), in which he was fully prepared for the office, took a whole week to complete. It was a photo-op exercise, nothing more, nothing less.

Picking Sara Palin for his running mate was too transparent a gimmick on the part of Senator McCain, who must have felt that countering a black with a woman was the way to "back in." It was cynical, though it must be admitted that she has had far more actual experience at governing than any of the other three candidates, all of them senators who had never run any kind of operation, although McCain did take credit for "running" a U.S. Navy fighter squadron. While McCain and Biden at least had had decades of service in Congress, Obama, who took office in 2005, had pulled out of his Senate duties by 2006 to start campaigning and has done nothing else since then.

The parties need to get their acts together. The superficiality of the process was graphically shown this year when the democrat delegates of Michigan and Florida were not to be seated in the convention because the democrat pooh-bahs were miffed at their states' lunge toward the front of the pack with respect to holding their primaries. One remembers that famous TVed debate. Of course, when it became clear that Obama didn't have to worry – VOILA! – the rules were ignored. Disgusting!

Ironically, if a campaigner had to undergo a security check, Senator Obama probably couldn't pass it, mainly because of his close associations with well documented subversives, people like William Ayers and his partner-in-terrorism-crime-wife Bernardine Dorhn, Jeremiah Wright, Tony Rezko, Louis Farrakhan, and the honchos in ACORN, a subversive organization dedicated to milking governments on all levels for everything it can get, as well as perpetrating fraud in its well-documented registration efforts.

Solutions to this problem are not hard to recognize. If state primaries are to be held, they should all be held on the same day not more than four months before an election (July, first Tuesday). Campaigns should be legislatively sanctioned to begin eight months before the election (March). The conventions don't matter and could be held at any time. Vice presidents should be chosen in the primaries, not by the prez-candidate. Campaigning would then be prohibited before March of an election year, immeasurable relief for the public. There should be a cap on the amount any candidate can spend, no matter how much she/he raises. Actually, the intervals could be much shorter since both radio and TV make exposure so complete that everything a voter needs to know can be learned in a very short time.

Actually, the parties should like this approach. For one thing, campaigns wouldn't be started so early that changing world and national situations would necessitate constant changes in both philosophy and, more importantly, the spinning and speech-writing process. Case in point: the Iraq "Surge." This blind-sided Obama, who had already declared the Iraq effort a loss. Case in point: the Afghani/Taliban re-surge. This blind-sided McCain. The only wild-card thrown into the four months preceding the current election has been the economic mess, but even the run-up to that was perfectly obvious many months ago. The current Congress was totally asleep at the switch, led by Senator Harry "the Whiner" Reid and Speaker "the Grandma/Nanny" Pelosi, but McCain has had to take the hit since the democrats, playing upon a perceived ignorance on the part of the public, successfully laid it at the feet of Bush/McCain.

In any case, the constant theme sounded by the public for months has been along the lines of "Just get it over with!" This cycle has comprised irrefutable proof that the election process has been prostituted to the extent of being silly, superficial, dishonest and depraved. Enough already!

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

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