Political realities

Am I the only one who feels like the presidential campaign has been going on forever? I’m ready for it to be over. I’ve had quite enough of the mud-slinging, issue evasion and double talk. My contempt knows no party lines. Not that it would matter, as both seem to have melded together any way.

No, I’m officially sick of all politicians. And herein lies my dilemma. If I’m frustrated with all of my options, who am I going to vote for?

Both candidates, in my opinion, are trying to sell themselves to the undecided voter. Unfortunately, the sales pitch has been going on so long that I’ve forgotten what the product is. But I’m not alone. Even the candidates themselves, who are constantly contradicting themselves, don’t seem clear on this anymore. While touting expensive “rescue” plans, they swear that they’ll cut taxes and slash spending. It doesn’t add up.

Is this a reflection on their opinion of our intelligence? Or are they so used to saying what they think their audience wants to hear, that they no longer pay attention to the content of their latest spiel?

And while everyone has been focused on first the primaries and now the general election campaigns, the state of the economy was largely ignored. Until it crashed and burned.

We can hardly claim to be blindsided. We had plenty of warning signs heralding doom and gloom on the economic front. Prices at the pump started their meteoric rise at least three years ago and pundits were screaming then that it would lead to recession. The rash of foreclosures that first indicated the impending housing crisis occurred more than a year ago. It had heavy coverage on international news networks, yet American eyes appeared to be elsewhere.

Are the presidential candidates changing their message to reflect the current state of the economy? Only slightly. They’d rather take pot shots at one another.

And let’s talk about their choice of vice presidential candidates. Each has selected a stereotype rather than an actual person. Palin and Biden were chosen for the demographic they can attract, nothing more. And that bothers me. Shouldn’t politics be about governing, not marketing? About what they’ll do once in office, not how to get elected?

I watched Katie Couric’s CBS Evening News segment called ‘Presidential Questions’ last night. Listening to both candidates give their opinion of the best and worst things to happen to our country and then decide which three living people they would like to have dinner with, I had a scary thought. This might just be how some people will decide who to vote for on election day.

Given our nation’s obsession with reality television, maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. Heck, maybe we should just give into it. Instead of a protracted process of primaries and campaigning, next time around it our president should be decided by a political version of Donald Trump’s Apprentice.

We’d start with a team of Republicans and a team of Democrats who would face a variety of pseudo-political challenges. At the end of each week, one would be eliminated based on their performance and popularity. The last one standing, would be “hired” as our next president.

And think of the revenue we could raise! The bidding war that would no doubt ensue between the networks for right to air the program could be used to pay for the $800 billion bail out. I’m sure advertisers would pay a pretty penny for spots. Maybe that could go to the winner’s favorite cause, be it health care, social security or corporate welfare.

Hmmmm. I’m starting to like this idea.

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