Democrats & Liberals Archives

Enjoy The Show

Why do we put so much emphasis on the “Dog and Pony Show” that is the race for the Whitehouse?
Why do we forgive all of the flaws of the candidates and get sucked into a glorified “popularity contest?”
Why do we allow the candidates to reinvent themselves and create false images of themselves just to win elections?

The upcoming Presidential race has unfortunately begun earlier than the usual nauseatingly long year before the election. This election seems like it began years ago. That’s when Hillary stopped working for our state and began her campaign anyway.

We have Giuliani using the death of thousands of New Yorkers as a sign of his strength and vitality. We have Fred (ching ching) Thompson telling everyone who’ll listen how “conservative” he is. We have John McCain, who at one time was considered a “maverick”, a hero and a man of conviction, who now devotes a great deal of his political campaign pandering to the “far-right” kooks and Bible thumpers, thinking they’d vote for anyone other than a bigoted, judgmental, closeted whack job like themselves. The GOP also offers up Mitt, tell me where I stand Romney. Huckabee becomes irrelevant because he has a simple message that lacks the theatrical “bull-shit” distraction factor and very little “baggage” for the media to latch onto. That’s American politics for you.

On the other side of the isle we have the carefully constructed, poll tested, do nothing, say nothing, other than the carefully scripted, non-committal, status quo campaign of Hillary Clinton. We have the Barak Obama campaign, which most Americans, other than Oprah’s fans have dismissed as the “Black guy” who will make a gaff sooner or later so we can justify not voting for him. Unless you watch FOX News then you have to wonder why the United States is allowing Osama Bin Obama to run for President in the first place. How many times can they say or spell his name incorrectly before the far right realize it's done purposefully. Last but not least we have Senator Edwards. This guy actually wants to make changes in Washington. This guy actually wants to give our government back to the citizens of this country. This guy wants our votes to count again. What the hell is wrong with this guy?

The frontrunners have name recognition, usually because of bad decisions and character flaws. The frontrunners have cash. The frontrunners get the face time. The frontrunners in this election have demonstrated their ability to get their message across, even though it wasn’t always the message they put forth. They want us to ignore their voting records and ideologies. They want us to focus our attention on the carefully crafted façade that the hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign contributions have paid for. Unfortunately the hundreds of millions of dollars come from the select few who can afford to buy representation in our Democratic (In name only) government.
Which of these frontrunners do you want guiding a ship that has been taken alarmingly off course by the most corrupt and inept administration in our history?
Why are the most flawed and useless of the candidates becoming the frontrunners?
Why is it that Hillary, the fake and Romney, the undecided get anointed by the media Presidential “Frontrunners” in the first place?
That’s American politics for you. At least we know why the rest of the world is laughing at us and waiting for the United States to fall off the world stage.
Uneducated voters, a sleazy media machine spawned from a Rupert Murdoch wet dream and a complacent American public have been just as damaging to this nation as the useless leaders we keep putting in office.
Dean screams and his campaign dies. "Makaka?" Gary Hart bangs a "hottie" and becomes unelectable?
We love our soap opera's and reality T.V. don't we?
When do we ask ourselves whether these guys were qualified or deserved their fate?
We voted for a spoiled, rich, coddled idiot because he created the image of the "regular guy", toughness and rugged Americanism. Good going folks. Great judgement call there.
Vote for change. Vote your conscience. Ignore the Dog and Pony show that is happening before you. Look into their voting record. If they voted the way you would have, by all means vote for them. If you’re making excuses for that candidate, like if they knew now what they knew then…Vote for someone else. It was their job to know.
For a majority of the voting/nonvoting public, enjoy the show.

Posted by Andre M. Hernandez at October 24, 2007 10:40 AM
Comments
Comment #236828

1.5 billion dollars was spent on the 2004 Presidential elections. Estimate for 2008, 3 billion. A 100% increase in 4 years.

Why? Because Americans believe what they see on TV and hear on Radio. All that advertising and marketing of candidates designed to present the candidate’s best attributes, and hide their less than best.

The best way to know a candidate is to note what the ads say about the candidate, and subtract from that what the critics say of the candidate, and you can be reasonably assured of having a far more accurate picture of the candidate than believing either the candidate’s ads or the candidate’s critics. For most candidates this equation reveals mediocrity at best.

Another way to assess candidates, and probably the best, is to sit down, and with pencil and paper list in one column the 5 most important attributes you would respect in a candidate like education, experience, humanitarian, etc. And in another column list what issues are most important to you and which way you would like your candidate to go on those issues, like Illegal immigration, border security first.

Then take these lists and compare the candidate’s records and campaign issues/promises against your list. The single most important reason most voters are disappointed with politicians is that they vote for them based on ads about the candidates which tell as little as possible about the candidate and even less about what they will do when in office. In other words, voters vote their feelings about a candidate instead of making a rational and researched assessment of the candidate. Gut feeling is a very unreliable guide to voting for a candidate, as GW Bush has proven twice.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 24, 2007 11:43 AM
Comment #236839

Running for a national office like President of the United States is perilous to true character. The candidates must first appeal to their parties base, often full of single-issue or extreme view voters. Ask John McCain how the 2000 election went. Then the candidates must appeal to the entire nation with its diverse views and backgrounds where the careful packaging of a candidate to match the guesstimate zeitgeist is tested even though it is usually hogwash. Remember that laughable but successful “compassionate conservative” phrase?

Now, Hillary is the “practical democrat”, Edwards is the “change democrat” and Obama is the “anti-Washington let’s work together democrat”. What’s surprising is Obama and Edwards are not doing better in these primaries. Perhaps having the first woman as presidential front-runner is just to powerful for democratic female voters to pass up. I wouldn’t blame them. Perhaps the zeitgeist is about the middle-road.

It shows how being forced to appeal to a broad (no pun intended”) range of people and ideas in order to win is a challenging, compromising, and often surprising process. How could an individual stick to their best nature in such an environment and win? I’m not saying it can’t be done but it might take a miracle.

If you want better candidates vote in a reasoned fashion such as David suggests and ignore the packaging. At least that is what the primaries used to be about. Just be prepared for your candidate to lose and possibly for a long time. But if more voters did that, then we would likely get a better candidate and one, unlike ‘W’ in 2000, the voter deserves. Usually the voter does get what it deserves after all, like ‘W’ in 2004.

Posted by: chris2x at October 24, 2007 1:04 PM
Comment #236841

Well said, chris2x.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 24, 2007 1:07 PM
Comment #236843

Oh, in light of this post it is also hard to take seriously efforts to get more people to vote. Those who care enough to follow the issues usually have the civic pride to vote. It’s hard to believe that if better candidates ran for office the non-voters would notice. If more Americans voted the next president of the United States might be a soap-opera or reality TV star.

Posted by: chris2x at October 24, 2007 1:12 PM
Comment #236847

chris2x, personally, I have changed my mind on voter participation. I now believe those who don’t vote shouldn’t vote. I don’t want unmotivated and politically ignorant people showing up to vote and canceling my vote with their ignorance. So, I am content that those not motivated to vote, don’t. Good for me and those who do vote, since, it strengthens and enhances the value of their vote.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 24, 2007 1:22 PM
Comment #236849

David,

I too am glad my vote counts for a little more. Since I was taught voting was a civic responsibility I too wanted more Americans to vote for a long time. But what I really wanted was more Americans to feel they had a civic responsibility, to educate themselves on the issues, and then to vote. I now see low voter turnout as the natural consequence of less people feeling responsible for their government. I’m not saying it’s easy to keep the faith in light of current government but the alternative is worse.

It begs the question of how long our current system of government can function if people don’t vote. Thomas Jefferson thought a revolution was necessary every generation or so. Reinstituting the draft might have that effect. At a minimum our schools should be teaching a lot more civic lessons and critical thinking. Then, when more people understand their responsibility voting percentages will go up.

Posted by: chris2x at October 24, 2007 1:37 PM
Comment #236850


Half of the people in this country could care less if there is or isn’t a dog and poney show. As far as they are concerned, all the candidates are just clones. I think Chris2x may be right. If the non voters became motivated enough to participate, we might end up discussing the latest veto by President Paris or President Jerry, Jerry. Can we truly say that the country would be worse off?

Posted by: jlw at October 24, 2007 1:52 PM
Comment #236853

The disciplined and effective use of smears, particularly by Republican operatives, as Andre alludes too, also creates an atmosphere where the careful and disciplined are encouraged. Maybe that is why Hillary is leading by so much. Obama, as engaging as he can be, seems to me rather vanilla in this campaign. Others such as Edwards and Richardson are willing to go out on a limb some but they aren’t doing particularly well. Edwards might make a run.

It’s a good thing Edwards has an appealing fighter in a spouse to take on the amateurish Coulters of this world. Just add “fight ridiculous smears 24-7” as another qualification (or disincentive) for quality candidates.

Posted by: chris2x at October 24, 2007 2:15 PM
Comment #236854
Why do we allow the candidates to reinvent themselves and create false images of themselves just to win elections?


Well, we know that Hillary
can’t “reinvent” herself and 50% of the American people “definitely” know it, too!!!

Posted by: rahdigly at October 24, 2007 2:18 PM
Comment #236856

David and chris2x,

Low voter turnout leads to a diminished voice in our government.
I’d rather have more people outraged about the direction of our country when government fails than not having my vote cancelled out.
Low turnout means complacency. Complacency leads to less accountability. Less accountability leads to failed government.

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at October 24, 2007 2:46 PM
Comment #236858

Andre, resolve the complacency first. Then encourage the newly motivated to vote. NOT the other way around.

You appear to forget your Constitutional history. The reason suffrage was issued to ONLY white male landowners was because they were the most literate group, the most to lose at the hands of politicians, and therefore, the most motivated to stay knowledgeable as to the goings on in government.

I don’t want the ignorant, the slackers, and the short-cutters to vote. If they don’t think their vote matters, if they aren’t motivated to research the candidates and stay abreast of what is going on in government, I don’t want their ignorance overriding my vote. Let them be ruled instead of rulers, its what they have allowed themselves to be trained to be good at. The founding fathers were wise to withhold universal suffrage.

I think a minimal civics and current events test would be healthy before citizens were allowed to register to vote. I know, it wouldn’t pass judicial muster, and I offer only half jokingly. But we have enough ignorant and uninformed voters to go around. Let’s not encourage even more. Instead, let’s establish national educational standards that require current events every year from 4th grade through baccalaureate degree. That would scare the bejeesuz out of politicians, and we just might get back to responsible government again.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 24, 2007 2:59 PM
Comment #236865

David,

You’re assuming the person teaching these current events courses are doing so without spinning those events to fit their politics.
We need to get people to vote. The slackers and uneducated will at the very least keep better tabs on the officials they voted for.
If you want people to respect something, make them a part of whatever that is. Ownership is the key. Make them a part of the process and they will remain a part of that process.
We need to hold the media, elected officials and those who educate our children to promote voting. I believe low voter turnout is a major factor in the way our government fails us today.
If the people don’t care why should elected officials?

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at October 24, 2007 4:08 PM
Comment #236868

Andre said,

“If the people don’t care why should elected officials?”

Exactly Andre. But how are you going to MAKE people a part of the process. Unfortunately you can’t make enough people outraged these days unless government does something which obviously affects them (draft anyone?). You also can’t make them interested in policy if they’ve been raised on YouTube or Howard Stern and cherish their Ipod playlist more than what their elected representative is doing. Voting doesn’t make at least half the people interested in policy either.

You have to get them while their young, inculcate them about the importance of democracy and staying informed more than they are now thru the schools. Teach about bias if you are worried about a current events curriculum turning into someone’s soapbox. “Rock-the-Vote” and P-Diddy campaigns are only going to get us so far. I think a national holiday for voting makes sense but should only marginally help.

What are you for doing differently? Are you, for example, a supporter of district elections over city-wide elections, especially when minorities are underrepresented on school boards? Or is there a more drastic revolution needed to get people involved?

Personally, my parents talked politics at the dinner table and my father was an American Government instructor at our community college. Not all of us can have that AND my sister votes but has little interested in politics or policy. Ignorance gets us into wars. I’d rather have a polity that is trying to be informed than whoever is voting for the next American Idol wanting to get Saddam Hussein for 911. I wouldn’t create a litmus test but I draw the line at complacency.

Posted by: chris2x at October 24, 2007 5:26 PM
Comment #236871

Andre said: “We need to get people to vote. The slackers and uneducated will at the very least keep better tabs on the officials they voted for.”

WRONG! Nothing in evidence demonstrates that will be true. An abundance of evidence exists showing that even motivated voters DO NOT keep tabs on what their officials are doing until 4 to 12 weeks away from an election. A majority of voters can’t even name their state legislators, and only 1 out of 4 has ever communicated to their representatives in Congress positive or negative.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 24, 2007 5:57 PM
Comment #236895

Andre,

Your article is good, but I’m noticing something here in Kansas. More and more young people ARE getting interested in politics. They actually seem to be asking questions.

The two most divisive issues remain abortion and gay marriage, but what I’ve witnessed indicates young people are beginning to look beyond the “core” issues of modern conservatism.

At the Senior Center I hear conservative women talking about how good they think Hillary is for having stood by hubby Bill throughout his escapades. Sadly they say very little about her policies or her ability to lead the nation.

I get the feeling that this election cycle will end like the 2000 election ……… someone will be elected because they’d be great to sit down with for cookies and coffee. The last time it was someone you’d like to have a beer with, eh?

I can only hope that none of the front-runners on either side get their parties nomination.

Posted by: KansasDem at October 24, 2007 9:45 PM
Comment #236907

Andre
Spot on about Edwards. One reason his candidacy has not taken off is he is not taking corp, money.The way HC is going it looks again that we will have a choice between two corporatist.What we CAN do about it is send him twenty bucks. That and not go along with the corporate medea method of dealing with him,ignore him whenever possible.

DR
Another part of your very good list should be a column for actually proposeing realistic and workable methods for dealing with the problems listed in part A. A good look at Edwards is worth it. He is quite specific.You may not like all his proposals but remember the criteria,realistic and workable.Plus he scares the hell out of the corporatist.

Posted by: BillS at October 25, 2007 2:18 AM
Comment #236953
Andre wrote: Why do we put so much emphasis on the “Dog and Pony Show” that is the race for the Whitehouse? Why do we forgive all of the flaws of the candidates and get sucked into a glorified “popularity contest?” Why do we allow the candidates to reinvent themselves and create false images of themselves just to win elections?
Good question.

It’s a paradox:

  • Most Americans are upset about many things, and complain a lot, deplore little (or nothing) getting done, and give Congress’ a dismal 11%-to-18% approval ratings (a record low).

  • But most voters then reward Congress with 96.5% re-election rates (since year 1980).
  • The reason? Here’s one theory.

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 25, 2007 3:57 PM
    Comment #236960

    Andre, great points, but hardly news. There hasn’t been a really good person, with strong character and strong values, running for President since … well a long time. I can truly say the only time I have ever voted for someone whom I thought would really make a god president was Carter in 1976. And that did not exactly turn out too good. While he was a genuinely honest and decent person, he did not make a good president. I truly believe that Carter was the last President we have had whom I could honestly say was honest with us, told us the truth, and truly cared about “We the People”. Since then it has just been a bunch of guys (and gals) who tell us what we want to hear and try hard not to say something stupid, which in the end they always do. :)

    Since 1976 I have consistently voted for “the lesser of 2 evils” IMHO, and 2008 sure looks to shape up as more of the same.

    Posted by: Steve K at October 25, 2007 5:30 PM
    Comment #236971

    David R. Remer- While making many excuses for her

    votes on waging WAR on Iraq, How is it that Hillary

    Clinton was the only Democratic Presidential

    Candidate to vote for Bush’s new policy, for going

    to WAR with Iran. I believe her slippery slope

    began with her vote on the Iraq Bill, then her

    Chinese connection, an her final an last slope,

    has signaled her demise with the Iranian War

    Bill. (no Trust- no Credibility- no Vote for her!)

    Posted by: -DAVID- at October 25, 2007 9:42 PM
    Comment #236990

    David
    I tend to agree. HC is a corporatist. It is in the corporate interest to invade Iran,or so they believe,to solidify control of oil. Of all the serious candidates out there only Edwards and, to an extent Mc Cain ,are not corporate schills. One reason they do not get much corporate owned media coverage.

    Posted by: BillS at October 26, 2007 1:47 AM
    Comment #236993

    BillS

    Seems as though just a few of us would like to
    avoid the same old scenario which has plagued us
    for the past many years. Edwards is a good bet. I
    was thinking some creative critical thinkers would
    consider giving ex-Senator Bob Carry another chance
    at running for President. I guess the present
    regimen could not deal with an honest President,
    an seems like the populous does not care, either.

    Posted by: -DAVID- at October 26, 2007 3:56 AM
    Comment #237090

    Instead of starting a big media campaign to turn out the vote, we should start a grassroots effort at our dinner table. Discuss the politics of the day with your family. Turn your children into informed voters and dutiful citizens. Ignorant voters will always turn out, but if enough people vote, it should minimize the damage these people can cause.
    The People of New York should be angry at HRC. She had done nothing for her state, ahem, for the state of NY, and she promised not to run for prez if reelected. Many New Yorkers would be proud to have the next prez to come out of their state.

    Posted by: JoeRWC at October 27, 2007 8:28 AM
    Comment #237190

    Andre,
    Great article. The one point that I disagree with is the notion that you should base your vote on their voting record. Voting records - especially for Congressman and Senators can be twisted and distorted - especially by ones political enemies. People wind up voting for “brides to nowhere” because the bill also contained money for sick babies or something. I think that we need to look at the policies that they are advocating and their credibility.

    Posted by: Ray Guest at October 29, 2007 8:31 AM
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