Monday, May 14, 2007

540 Days to Go? I’m ALREADY Tired of the Candidates

How in the name of electoral-process did we get where we are?
Please! Lead me to the nearest smoke-filled room, where I can get my candidates the old-fashioned way—from political bosses. Dick Daley in Chicago is pretty much the last of the species left standing.

C’mon, Dick, give me a Democrat.

How in the name of electoral-process did we get where we are?
Richardmdaley Please! Lead me to the nearest smoke-filled room, where I can get my candidates the old-fashioned way—from political bosses. Dick Daley in Chicago is pretty much the last of the species left standing.
C’mon, Dick, give me a Democrat.
There are no Republican bosses. It's not their style. Patronage is for the lower classes and Republicans don’t dig lower-classism. Five rich guys pick the most electable, give him plenty of dough and a memory for whom he is indebted.
Cartoonmittromney The whole miserable (but survivable) process used to wrap up between August conventions and November elections. There was actually a little bit of suspense at the conventions, which have now been relegated to dreary expositions of worn-out rhetoric. Somehow, some way, we have tickled and cajoled and advanced the worn-out rhetoric to six hundred days before the elections.
The burning question of the moment is not who is best qualified to lead their party. The question is who can possibly have the stamina to still be on their feet 540 days from now. A battered, glassy-eyed electorate will finally stagger into the voting booths, to vote for one of two incredibly damaged, stained, discredited, besmirched and tainted candidates.
The news is out—the nation is actually being run entirely by 33 Senators, who don't face election for another five and a half years.
Senjoebiden Usually presidents, two-thirds of the Senate and all of the House of Representatives are busy elsewhere—elsewhere being out on the campaign trail. Does anyone actually expect Hillary, Barack, Joe or Chris to be available for Senate business? Not a chance.
Will Sam, John or Chuck be there to answer roll-call votes? Only for the major legislation and, even then, they may be fogged in at the airport in Memphis.
Personally, my eyes already glaze over when I see articles under the rubric Election 2008. Rudy Giuliani’s abortion position is of no interest to me in a race that is years rather than months from its conclusion. Will Hillary stumble over Bill or self-destruct on account of her ‘yes’ vote. Can I possibly care this far from the finish?
But they’re not yet done with us, these election re-configurers. In another nine months or so—still time to get laid and actually have the baby—February’s super primary will have effectively closed the doors on candidacies.
Let’s see now, that’s after next year’s Super Bowl and the football season hasn’t even started yet. But wait, first we have to dispose of an entire baseball season and have to do the National League Playoffs and the American League Playoffs and weary our way through a seven-game World Series. Hockey and basketball are in there somewhere as well.
Gonefishing Barack who? Hillary? I don’t even know where to spend my summer vacation yet. And that’s just this year’s summer vacation, there’s still next year’s to plot out and a whole ‘nother baseball season and the start of ‘nother football season and . . .
. . . what are they doing to us?
Six full months before those anti-climactic conventions drop their nominating balloon extravaganzas, we will  know who's making both acceptance speeches. More than 180 days of buyer’s-remorse will have passed before our bleary eyes and it won’t even be election day for yet another three months.
Oh, Ghost of Elections Past, is there no way to end this suffering? Can’t we just put a bullet between the eyes of this new-fangled election process and stop the Chinese water-torture of endlessly smiling candidates?
Fourthjuly The jet fuel, the shoe leather, the bunting, 4th of July bands in two consecutive years, hundreds of thousands of rubbery chickens served at thousands of luncheons no one wants to attend; all of it intent upon the demise of the American electoral process.
First came the idea. The idea was for states to get an early primary date, so that the small states could force the candidates to pay attention to them. New Hampshire and Iowa were proud to be first. So proud of themselves that every other state snuggled up as closely behind as spooned newlyweds. Ah, the unexpected consequences of good intentions.
We are now old marrieds.
Hillary As old marrieds and staring that January-February landslide of primaries in the face, the candidates have been forced to back up. Essentially, in the ways of modern politics, the super-primary has become the election. In the ways of election financing, contributors (the name of the game) combine to build an impenetrable candidate war chest.
Getting sufficient dough means backing up even further. Campaign fund results have now delimited themselves into quarterly contests, much like the quarterly results a stock must provide in order to remain viable on the market.
Candidate as hedge-fund. Who'd have ever thought it? But such a lovely irony.
Senbarackobama Barack out-performs Hillary in the first ‘quarter’ and the buzz drowns all rhetoric.
It matters less and less what is said, more and more what is contributed and who contributes.
David Geffen goes from Clinton supporter to Barack and the country shivers in anticipation. John Edwards may be out for the count, not because of his position on issues, but for the cost of his haircut.
Can anyone doubt this is the best way to elect the president of the most powerful nation on earth?
Johnedwards It's more an auto race than a presidential race. In car racing, a sprint is driven differently than the Daytona 500. Sprinters put it on the floor. The big-name races are longer, way more prestigious. The well managed team likely lays back, positions itself, makes judicious pit-stops and then surges down to the flag.
What we have devised by the need for early money and early primaries is the equal of a vehicular marathon, a ten thousand-mile test of endurance across entire continents.
It remains to be seen if a marathon is the ideal template for a national election. It will be (and is already) incredibly dull to watch, as candidates avoid that word or flash of temper that might come back to doom a long race.
Surely we will have heard and forgotten and ceased to care about nearly every position taken by a bewildering host of candidates and most of us will be there only to see the wreck.
225 days left to Christmas. Five hundred forty days left to the 2008 election . . .
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