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Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Long and Whining Road

Has anyone else wondered just how we got to where we are with the ‘08 Presidential candidates? While most of us cannot remember the original slate of hopefuls without a scorecard, an old newspaper or Google, it has become painfully clear that we might have thrown out the baby with the bathwater. To that end, it might be helpful to reminisce about the field of candidates that are no longer in the race.

On the Dems side there was, Biden, Dodd, Edwards, Gravel, Kucinich, Richardson and Vilsack. For the Repubs there was, Brownback, Gilmore, Giuliani, Huckabee, Hunter, Paul, Romney, Tancredo and not one, but two Thompsons, a motley crew if there ever was one. But at this late date, they have one character not shared by those left standing. None of the aforementioned had an “unfavorable” rating over 50%.

This alone should give us all pause, that on this Easter Sunday, long after most of America has had primaries, both Democratic candidates’ disapproval ratings are over 50%, with McCain hovering around 46%. It would appear to beg the question: Just how did we get this far along with people that most of us don’t like or approve of???

Well folks, anyone who thought it was a good idea having a 12 to 18 month primary season, is an idiot. All it does is squander precious resources, at the expense of those with little to spare, in the name of “getting to know your candidate”. It allows the media to “shape” an election, while they fill their coffers. And finally, it insults the intelligence of anyone who has discovered that we can pick an American Idol winner, with more voters and candidates in 24 weeks than over 70 weeks, for President, from a field of 15.

And as to “getting to know your candidate”, how’s that Rev. Wright thing working for you? The media sat on this story, video and all, for well over a year, while the Blogosphere went nuts and “unconnected” America swooned over a candidate they knew nothing about, other than he gave a great speech, to the peril of all but one of the Dems. Just imagine the impact of Wright’s tirade on Obama voters last fall, before the first primaries.

Hillary, in the meantime, enjoys nary a peep from the media over her well documented outrageous conduct with staff, employees and security.

On the Right, shaping a candidate is much easier. You just ignore all those that pose a real threat to the last Democrat standing. Paul was never really in it, as he took the old slot left by Perot. Hunter and Tancredo were easy to eliminate, due to their lack of funding and “one song” band approach to immigration and defense. Giuliani was a little tougher even though he had a couple of ex-wives, a crook for a best friend and even a daughter that wouldn’t vote for him. But, he had inflated expectations, 9/11, and being the former mayor of “the center of the universe” which doesn’t play all that well beyond Newark.

Mike Huckabee and Romney were a little tougher to discourage. The media just kept ignoring Romney except for a steady barrage of Mormon questions and a daily tally on the checks he was writing. Huckabee discovered that he was more for comic relief, with his witty banter and upbeat character, than anything resembling a real candidate. And that all he needed to stay in the race, a little longer than Romney’s bank account would allow him to stay, was a plane ticket.

Tommy Thompson didn’t last long after he put up his seed money, while Fred Thompson suffered from the cruelest punishment of all. He refused to commit to a candidacy within the allotted time allowed by the media manipulators. His punishment, a virtual blackout of his message, policies and platform. Fred’s only real exposure was 30 second sound bites speedily crafted during media circuses branded as debates.

No folks, we have gotten here because we were led here. And nobody in this media driven sideshow has once mentioned our obligation to know our candidates and duty to vote under the most precious of Rights, until we are down to the clowns remaining.

Personally, I would recommend a complete “do over” of the entire primary system, not just Florida and Michigan. It certainly makes more sense than continuing with the choices we have now.

But hey, I could be wrong. The Dumbplumber

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