The Campaign

Am I alone, or is anyone else already bored shitless by this presidential campaign?  You realize we have three months, a whole quarter, left?  Egads.  I just don’t care.  I wouldn’t have thought there’d be a presidential election that inspired me less than Bush/Gore (remember, back when it was possible that Bush wouldn’t turn out to be the worst president since….maybe ever?).  On the whole, sticking to my frequently made argument that the only appropriate basis for voting for a president is foreign policy, I guess I favor Obama’s re-election over a Romney presidency, so it’s not that I’m completely uncaring.  But, lord, our system does a lousy job at elevating good candidates to select from.  I’m really beginning to re-think my long-held opposition to a parliamentary system.

Can we pass a federal law either outlawing political ads during Olympic broadcasts, or amend our Constitution to have presidential elections during non-Olympic years?  While we’re at it, let’s make sure they don’t fall during World Cup years, men’s or women’s, either.  In fact let’s go all the way and make sure our presidential elections don’t fall in any Tour de France year, just to be sure. Ah, who am I kidding? No American presidential candidate is going to pitch campaign ads to us elitist Europhile soccer and biking fans.

A local state house candidate has the slogan, “Someone to Believe In!”  A bit of a messiah complex, maybe?  I’ve met the guy, and I like him. I could even consider voting for him.  But I’m not really looking for someone to believe in.  And if I feel the need, I’ll pin all my hopes and dreams on someone really important.

About J@m3z Aitch

J@m3z Aitch is a two-bit college professor who'd rather be canoeing.
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20 Responses to The Campaign

  1. lumbercartel says:

    On the whole, sticking to my frequently made argument that the only appropriate basis for voting for a president is foreign policy

    I’m surprised that the Supreme Court doesn’t make the cut.
    As far as a parliamentary system goes, we’re effectively on our way there without some of the benefits. As time goes on my view of explicit proxies (e.g. poltical parties such as Israel’s) improves.
    Post-Citizens United we have the worst of three worlds: partisanship uber alles, individual elections for lockstep “representatives,” and hamstrung parties (the only remaining players with spending and fundraising limits.) Better to let the parties come to the table openly instead.

  2. Matty says:

    I know this wouldn’t work but but it might be more pleasant for you if there was a fixed election campaign season of say one month before the vote and no campaigning outside that time.

  3. lumbercartel says:

    Matty, if you start from the premise that freedom of speech and press should be at least as nearly absolute as US law holds it to be (and that’s a point where I’m pretty uncompromising) then there are really only two ways I can think of to limit the power of money in elections:
    Limit the time window, which looks to me to point towards unpredictable election dates (hey, Brits!)
    Apply effective countering forces. A widely active and informed electorate would be ideal, but we might have to settle for strong political parties.

  4. Pink says:

    Romney seems to be presenting himself as a hawk when it comes to military solutions to our foreign policy. And, that seems to play into the hands of the Religious Right as other far right extremists.
    I’m thinking the Republican Party is about to be taken over by far right extremists and I’m wondering if any Republican politicians are going to bolt the party and join up with the Democratic Party.

  5. lumbercartel says:

    I’m thinking the Republican Party is about to be taken over by far right extremists and I’m wondering if any Republican politicians are going to bolt the party and join up with the Democratic Party.

    About to be?!?

    At a guess, not many will. The politicians aren’t going to lead on this, they’ll follow their constituents as they race to the right, and I don’t see any sign of resistance developing on that front. Groupthink, from the looks of it. There’s not much sign of any reluctance or “going to far” complaint and what there is gets dealt with pretty harshly.

    If anything slows the stampede, IMHO it’ll be demographics: moderation, one funeral at a time. Otherwise it’ll just run until it hits some other constraint.

  6. Pink says:

    I expect so.

  7. Pinky says:

    It’s an interesting discussion and it weighs heavily on the future of the two party system. How much pressure can the electorate take beforfe it responds with a vengence?

  8. James Hanley says:

    Pinky’s temporary use of “Pink” puts me in a Joe Cabot mood, and I’m thinking about assigning you all color names. Matty’s Mr. White, D.C. Sessions will be Mr. Red. Lancifer will be Mr. Black… the best thing is I already have a Mr. Pink, so there won’t be any complaints about that name.

  9. Pinky says:

    So, whar are we going to do today, Brain?

  10. Mr. black says:

    I like my new name.

  11. James Hanley says:

    “I tried that once, it don’t work. You get four guys fighting over who’s gonna be Mr. Black. Since nobody knows anybody else, nobody wants to back down. So forget it,
    I pick. Be thankful you’re not Mr. Yellow.”

    You’re welcome. It seemed appropriate for such an evil man. But on the next job you’re Mr. Beige.

  12. James Hanley says:

    Same thing we do every day, Pinkie….

  13. Pinky says:

    You mean we’re going to take over the world?

  14. lumbercartel says:

    The same thing we do every blog-post, Pink: try to break through the Wall.

  15. D.A. Ridgely says:

    I’m sure I’d be bored if I was paying any attention to the campaign. It’s hard to get excited about a liberal pretending he’s a conservative running against a conservative pretending he’s a liberal.

    OTOH, I may have to follow the media a bit more now just to see how often it disparagingly labels Paul Ryan as a libertarian, which is true in approximately the same sense The Archies was a heavy metal band.

    Both major parties, by the way, are invariably controlled by pragmatists who give lip service to the ideological extremes of their base for financial and volunteer support, only to ‘betray’ that base when their candidates move toward the center, where the votes are, in the general election. The odds of the Republican Party actually being overtaken by bona fide right-wing extremists are the same as the Democratic Party becoming in thrall to the sort of progressives who think The Nation has become disappointingly centrist; to wit, zero.

  16. Pinky says:

    Personally, I wonder how otherwise those who seem to be intelligent people can be taken in by any such self serving person as Mitt Romney thinking he is a liberal or a conservative. Anyone knowing just a little about the LDSofJC church is well enough informed to know that Romney is working on his personal future in the afterlife and that precludes everything else.

    But, WYSIATI.

  17. D.A. Ridgely says:

    I wonder why people care about a politician’s motives, given that politicians are, to put it mildly, at least as self-serving as other people. If a politician’s votes or policies and financial supporters fall more or less on one side of the political spectrum or the other, that suffices to characterize his politics. It’s irrelevant if his personal motive is to follow the mandates of a Magic 8-Ball he believes to be the one true source of salvation.

    I’ve known some pretty lackluster Mormons in my time, so I’d say “just a little knowledge” of the LDS or Roman Catholicism or Islam, etc. is a laughably insufficient basis for predicting a putative adherent’s actual beliefs, motives or behavior. But to each his own prejudices.

  18. Pinky says:

    I/m sure.

    But, another thought to hold in mind is the fact that politicians almost always are members of a political party. And political parties are all about–100%–winning. Historically, use Hitler as an example, they always appeal to the major interests of the electorate. And, they are consistaent in their position of representation until they have gained enough power to enact their personal interests and deepest beliefs.

    What can be done about that?

    Anything?

  19. Dr X says:

    James,

    I’d love to hear your thoughts about the tactical merits, or lack thereof, of the Ryan VP selection, as well as anything else you might have to say about it.

  20. James Hanley says:

    Dr. X.,

    Since I haven’t posted anything in a while, and rain is preventing me from working on painting my house, I might concede to that request. I’ll say upfront, though, that you’re not tapping into one of my strengths, and I doubt I could say anything more meaningful than the standard pundits have.

    Or I might focus on finishing the painting in my pantry and the creation of American Gov’t quizzes in Blackboard (one of the most excruciatingly dull tasks I have ever done, worse than grading, nearly equal to the one horrible half-day I spent working in a fiberglass factory).

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