Presidential Debates and Status Quo Complacence

Monday July the 23rd saw the dawn of a new era in American politics. The joint CNN/YouTube Democratic Presidential Candidate debate was held and the 30+ questions used from the pool of just over 2,000 30 second clips were cherry picked by CNN producers in much the same way the first few Town Hall Meetings screened the people given the privilege of asking the candidates questions back in the 1990’s. The venue, The Citadel is not only seeped in history, is in South Carolina and is one of the forerunners in the Democratic Primaries. This debate is important for more then the obvious reasons of; merging youth culture and internet dizen with main stream politics, giving access of people across the country to the candidates in a national debate, etc. This event showcases and highlights the dysfunctional and sad state of our political selection system and the failure of modern politics to hear and reach the common American.

Next came the Iowa Straw Polls, for the Republicans. Romney proclaimed himself the majority winner, rightfully so, and both McCain and Giuliani were not present or campaigning for the race. Like the YouTube debate the Iowa caucus event (with the lowest showing since 1999) is one where the audience is a preconfigured mass, they had to pay $35 to vote! Over the past month much media attention has been placed on candidates cleaning homes, working alongside nurses, mouthing off about attacking targets in Pakistan, flip flopping more then John Kerry on abortion and yet just displaying how out of touch they really are and how desperate they are to look normal and feel out pain as Americans. Why is it they are so out of touch? Why are they reaching so hard to connect with Middle America? Why has our joke of a political selection process kept sinking lower and lower in people’s views and perceptions? How come the jokes and views of politicians have become status quo and accepted and ‘just the way the system works’?

‘Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain…’ what a classic line from 1939’s Wizard of Oz and how fitting it is in describing our modern political selection process. How does this famous line from a classic American film apply to politics and the CNN/YouTube debate? Bait and switch. The old trick of slight of hand used by magicians and crooks historically and now mostly by politicians and our mass media to confuse and steer the masses into the ideas and pre packaged fluff they expect us to keep buying. The media reports only what they want us to see, usually doom and gloom and sensationalized or over hyped stories of the worst side of people. Politicians only give canned and well rehearsed general answers and never commit to any issue or side besides the big button issues of the hallowed base of the party. Like David Blaine putting a pen through a quarter we are being distracted by the obvious and not noticing the slight movement in the shadows just out of our main field of view, the trick of an illusionist and scammer whose purpose is to confuse us by distracting us from the truth.

Notice the numbers above, 30/2000 videos were selected. This is roughly 1/10 the submitted videos were used, all selected by CNN producers without the help or advice of YouTube or anyone else. What is the production team’s agenda? What is their bias? What are they throwing over our shoulder while making us believe there is a card in there hand? Well, we all know they want ratings, sponsor money, market share to leverage for their next great media circus. Granted 30% of the videos were most likely crazy and pointless crap like asking Obama if he liked the Obama girl video, we can all do without that, but I bet some of what was culled was smart, intelligent, and had real meat to the questions. Instead we go a sanitized, MTV style of ‘best of’ selections that fit the production team’s demographic spread and not the real good stuff. Sure there were some smart and good questions included, but do you really believe that ground sirloin in the meat case at the local grocery store is 100% ground sirloin? If you do I have a bridge in Shanghai for sale. (I worked in a meat department for 2 different grocery chain stores for 2 years each in high school and college and I can tell you the store policy is always to add from 50% to 15% filler {cheap tube meat} to the good stuff to reduce costs and recoup spoiled and stolen ground beef… yes people do steal that much meat). The media is behind the curtain pulling all the levers and pressing all the buttons while distracting us with the loud noise and bright images they want us to see, showing us the sensational and not the real or relevant.

There is another side to this topic, a darker and more troubling side. The mass media in America has a huge responsibility to the American people and even people across the planet, as they trust them as being fair, balanced, truthful, and accurate. The responsibility of the power of influence is like a drug, and the media has been hooked since the 1800’s. Just like Lindsay Lohan has to have her fix of alcohol and cocaine the media has to have its fix of hysteria and influence shifting. Sure the media is good when exposing corruption, scandal, evil deeds, but they have to guard against the sensational railroading and news creating that has plagued them now more then any time in our history. Our mass media has gotten too full of itself and believed it is the one responsible for everything going on in our country, yes and the scary thing is, it is mostly true.

The media helps to create, procter, and report opinion polls on just about everything, especially politics. One of the first things my college major taught me was statistics are slanted and surveys are even more slanted. As an Information Resource major my professors were sticklers for proof and citation. Some even required reading 2 layers deep into new research papers and examine peer reviews (not fun to a procrastinator). There are two types of surveys, qualitative and quantitative. The first looks at the numbers and the second at the quality of the responses. When it comes to polls its not the answers the reporters are misrepresenting, it’s the questions they fail to expose because it would show the biased of the survey. How do I know this? I was able to take a phone survey from the Wisconsin Democratic Committee (or what ever their name was) for the 2004 elections. The questions were so slanted and the possible answers allowed such a pointed view no matter how you answered. Liberal or conservative, those creating the surveys have an agenda and will craft it to show what they are looking for. Only professional information scientists adhere to the strict standards and ethics of trying to keep biased out of surveys and statistics. Notice when a political poll comes out they never talk about the criteria of those taking it (that is why the small print always says ‘not a scientific survey’.

Let’s take the war in Iraq. A national survey is reporting that 78% of Americans oppose the current course of the war. Wow, sounds like its more anti-war now then in the ‘60’s during Vietnam! Now how did this report surface? Who took it? When was it administered? How were those taking it selected? How did the administers try to remove bias, what methodology did they employ? See, if you stop to ask the real questions then the picture begins to look less clear then the reporters want you to believe. How about this, a regional survey is reporting 78% of urban women age 18 to 35, making less then $35,000 per year, comprised of 40% Latino, 25% Black, 20% White, 10% Asian, and 5% other from New York, San Francisco, and Boston and were listing themselves as mostly religious, and finally have a close personal friend or relative who has died or been injured in current military operations in Iraq oppose the current course of the war. See the difference, and this is just on the surface! There are tens and tens of criteria that have to be considered to have a real survey that truly measures a cross section of a particular population to record accurate projected public opinion. But this takes time, money, and most importantly… it can not be used to push an agenda by the media.

Politicians are really simple minded puppets about as smart as a bag of rocks. If the media reports a poll showing people are worried about crime, for example, all the politicians begin beating their chests about how tuff on crime and how much they respect and honor law enforcement officers (until they get caught drunk driving at 2 am chasing Lindsay Lohan). I am spending a lot of time on this because it matters that much. The media shapes public opinion by hoping we are too lazy and stupid to read between the lies and deceit to see the motive behind their actions. They have gotten away with this for so long they forgot how to really report news, not just make it as if a chef makes a cake. When it comes to political coverage now days its all polls this and polls that and just reporting on spin spin spin.

Why are politicians shady, lying, masters of doublespeak? Easy, the media lets them get away with it! Remember they are just about as smart as a bag of rocks, so if they got pinned down in the spotlight a few times they, and the rest of them, would straighten up and fly straight. Why did Hillary Clinton get away with pledging to take big oil’s profits away form them? Why is Obama allowed to make freshman mistakes time and time again? Why is it Nancy Pelosi got away with a huge jet identical to the one the VP has? Because the media let them get by with little more then a slap on the wrist, minimal coverage and no follow up questions. This is even more evident during debates and politicking. I remember a vice presidential debate between Cheney and Edwards where both men took 5 minutes to say nothing about a serious and well thought out question. 10 minutes of wasted time! Did the moderator stop them, chastise them, tell them they did not answer the question? No they just sat back and looked like they were in deep thought and the question was answered. The media never holds politicians accountable for their answers in these debates. Some of the YouTube questions were very simple but good quality inquiries on real issues. What happened? Standard canned answers which quickly turned into sound bites highlighting the candidates strengths.

“How will you fix the outrageous cost of medicine in this country?”

“Let me tell you, first we need to hold high level bi-lateral discussions with industry leaders and see why their industry is having such a hard time meeting realistic needs of Americans everywhere. Secondly we have to hold the industry accountable for prices, set up grants and incentives to pay for new drug research so they no longer need to fund new breakthroughs with American’s hard earned dollars, Lastly we need to instill good old values and honesty in dealing with industry, much like my stance on the war. I never believed in it, I never voted for it, I never wanted any part of it. Its values and dedication to these ideals and values that make me the best option for change in bringing us to where we want to be.”

See what I am talking about, yea I made it all up, but seriously it looks like what you see in every debate. A 5 second questions answered in a lengthy 5 minute convoluted answer that gets so far off point and purpose it turns into a free campaign ad and sound bite that resembles cotton candy when you are starving. Why not say either; I will hold pharmaceuticals responsible for their practices, introduce regulation legislation to begin a national debate that will work for everyone, and introduce incentives to relive the burden off of those in need, or better yet, I have no clue at this time, but if you elect me I promise on my mother’s eyes I won’t take any of their money and I will work my arise off to fix the problem. Where are the reporters to call these cotton candy answers for what they really are, fluff and hot air? Why does the media refuse to clearly, distinctly, and in simple and logical terms spell out and hold each candidate to their respective platforms? Why is it most people in America can not answer the following questions;

  • Name 3 of the platform issue your candidate stands for.
  • How will your candidate’s stance improve your view of the nation in 4 year’s time?
  • Name at least 3 issues you differ with from your candidate and why you still support them.
  • What specific policies your candidate backs will improve the country by the end of their term?
  • What percentage of your candidates foreign and domestic policies to you agree with?

Outside the media the next largest pit of vipers is that of political advisors. These are the real puppet masters. The people responsible for the canned responses, political spin cycle we have become accustomed to. They are the ones who listen to the polls, formulate strategies, run damage control, write speeches, book interviews and public appearances, hire, review, approve all those political ads we see everywhere, and they are the ones who put the candidates out there everywhere around this time of year.

Not only are they slick and snake oil salesmen reborn, they are in bed with the original problem with our political system, the media. It is not a stretch to connect the two together as they rely on each other. The press gets its candidate information, a majority of the time, via press releases or scheduled interviews with the advisors. These people will arrange the question pool and prevent their candidates from getting ‘sideswiped’ by a zealous reporters ambitions for a career making scope. In return the reporter is granted future access on a mutual understanding basis. This is a high stakes control game the advisors try to dominate as they are the gate keepers who control what they hope for as the next president or congressional senior committee chair. Their hard work and sleepless nights of devotion are paid off by inside information and cushy government jobs.

You can’t run a campaign on just hope, hard work, doughnuts, and enthusiasm. You have to have money and lots of it these days. It’s funny that most people decline the federally available Presidential Fund monies set aside for each candidate (there are too many restrictions and limitations to make the money viable, just ask Ralph Nadir!) The sad reality of today’s system is that it takes hundreds of millions of dollars to run a campaign. Notice I did not say win, Ross Perrot can attest to that one. Before the first debate, two months ago, the leading two Democratic candidates had raised nearly 100 million dollars.

Lobbyists throw hundreds of thousands of dollars at each, every, and all candidates these days. This ‘shotgun’ approach guarantees access and favoritism as they can say they helped all equally and showed no favoritism but without their help the candidate would have never won and if they had backed only one candidate it would be unfair and biased. Sure, and the ALCU loves the latest wiretapping law just signed by Bush over the weekend.

Remember the flack over the Dick Cheney dinners at $15,000 a plate? Well boys and girls, its not just the Republicans doing this (thanks to the liberal press and lack of real enthusiasm) this sort of this goes on with the Democrats too. At one of these fundraisers you are basically buying access to the candidate, their time to listen to your concern and thoughts. Sure it’s a really good steak dinner, but I can get one for much under $100 a plate too. So how does Suzie Homemaker tell Hillary about the need for morning breakfast programs nationally because it saved her life on a local level? Well she can’t. These fund raisers are for only the high rollers and shakers of the business world and us middle class or low class citizens are not allowed. Influence is peddled at these dinners and only the with a distinct financial stake in this candidate winning will attend and overspend for smoked salmon by a good $14,920 a plate.

The saddest part of all this is these candidates are supposed to be courting us, the American people, not the big corporations, lobby groups, and industries of America. We only find out about these dinners, parties, balls, events after they happen. The press is thrown a bone by being allowed to cover the event (remember the political advisors control access from the statement above). The access of these parties is focused to those who have clear agendas and not the best interests of the people at heart. I think rust belt middle class factory workers are smart enough to vote for the candidate who best represents them, not the candidate the steel industry selected.

The worst part of all this money floating around is that there in really no transparency going on. Howard Dean had the best funded campaign last presidential elections until just before the primary, then his campaign was flat broke! Where did the hundreds of thousands go? I know people have to get paid, hotels, dinners, salaries, printers, TV aid producers, etc have to get their share… but is it really necessary to spend this much? Why is Obama buying a fleet of busses? Why is Clinton spending so much on New York branding companies to alter her image? Why can’t we the people who will follow the winner and those who contribute their hard earned money get a fully transparent and accountable look at the books? Why was is Edwards could get away with a $400 hair cut for so long BEFORE the press reported it so many years ago?

I know you like me, you really like me! Echoing the ranting of Sally Fields Academy Awards acceptance speech the candidates seem to be trying hard to run for class president and not leader of the free world. It is all a dog and pony show with cheap tricks to turn the most powerful publicly elected office on the planet into a popularity contest. Ok I’ll give you this, we need to trust and like our president but, they are to be a leader… and one of the things a leader MUST do is to make hard decisions and do unpopular things at unpopular times and LEAD the nation, not run it by popularity polls. President Bush really pushed against popular sediment in the nation with his troop surge in Iraq. His rating is at its lowest ever, confidence in him is at its lowest, the Dems are calling for censure and impeachment, yet his request is showing results. The lowest US troop death count in almost a year, clean up around Baghdad in gaining ground as violence is shifting away from where the troops are, the leader of the mosque bombings is now dead, despite all the violence and lack of action on the Iraqi government to do anything, the military operations are showing signs of success.

Just like a class president candidate many count on their ‘appearance’ to carry them. This is not restricted to physical appearance, don’t tell John Edwards or his barber that, but to how they want people to believe they will act in the future. How do they win this popularity contest? Polls. Again the scourge of the modern political landscape rears its ugly head. Too many advisors and strategists pre-position and posture their candidates on the results of the latest poll figures. This is reactive politicking at its worst. Instead of leading a candidate is either following the trends or back peddling from missteps along the way instead of leading or trail blazing to the forefront of the pack.

Candidates are fully aware of their true base, not the party base all the news channels talk about. Obama and Clinton both know they have the anti-war base split between them, but this is a political base. Teachers unions, nurses unions, UAW members, this is a specific base. While candidates try a shotgun approach to appeal to more people and blur the lines they always try to reassure their base that they are fighting for them. This is called ‘preaching to the choir’. You see it at rallies and conventions all the time. Clinton’s team will always show her in a crowd of women and coffee shop types, Obama in a group of young trendy fresh starters, Republicans with established and Middle America types you expect to see next door. This purposeful and deliberate branding and image portrayal is key in keeping their base and bringing in the bandwagon jumpers who always back a winner.

While this helps with the people who are drawn to them it does nothing for the middle of the road and less radical center that makes up the majority of the voting public. The YouTube debates highlighted how inept and stupid this strategy is. Candidates lost their swagger and fell into the plain jane generic mold you see in debates. Gone are the days of finger pointing, passionate retorts and rebuffs. Gone are the razor tongued witty barbs that made debates see how well a candidate could compose themselves, stand up to criticism, think on their feet, and most importantly how well they knew themselves, the situation, and their opponent. Candidates now refuse to take a definite stand or position out of fear of alienating a portion of the population. There is no controversy, no real wit, no bull dogs or mongooses but neutered narcoleptic sheep leading sheep.

Debaters now rarely directly attack an opponent, they doublespeak and spend 5 minutes saying absolutely nothing. If a candidate is not hard enough to call a snake a snake to their face how can they deal with saber rattling and strong arm negations with unreasonable countries. Today’s politicians are too apologetic, never trying to offend, never trying to impassion, never trying to rock the boat or make an enemy. All our potential leaders have one thing in common, they lack a real spine and the ability to lead. Leading is not doing the popular thing or the safe thing. Leading is doing the right thing at the right time and not bowing to pressure but by telling the people around you to shut and follow. True leaders will hear all sides, make up their minds, and then stay the course. Changing course mid steam shows weakness and a lack of mental ability as it means they chose the wrong path to begin with.

Our country needs a leader. We need a person who will lead on domestic and foreign issues, immigration reform, campaign finance reform, healthcare reform, job reform, tax reform, modernizing the business and infrastructure of our country, stabilizing the economy and closing the equality gap, fixing our ailing primary education system (Jay Walking is NOT funny its embarrassing!), doing what is right for America with strong and aggressive trade policies with the EU, China, South America, and breaking into Africa and investing in this continent, and finally establish governmental fiscal responsibility and accountability to a degree we get rid of debt, replace SSI with a real system, and modernize our governmental fiscal policies so we the people know exactly where our money is going. We need someone with the plan, platform, and ability to inspire us all to follow them on this mission. We need this person to make the unpopular decisions for us we are unwilling to make ourselves. We still pay the least for gas in the world (outside of the Arab nations who produce gas) and its about time we raise gas taxes so we are more inline with the rest of the planet and use this money to fix our bridges, airport facilities, modernize our autos, subsidize public transportation, pay off our environmental debts for landfills full of tires, batteries, and other car waste byproducts. We need a person who can do this and inspire us to all to make the necessary sacrifices to make the world a better place for our retirement years and our kids. Real leaders do not run a nation by popular vote, they make a policy and then convince the people why this is the only way to fix the problem.

Don’t piss down my back and tell me its raining. Politics is influenced by our fascination with popular cultural fads too much these days, a nation debate being conducted by questions via YouTube. Not only has the election season been extended ah’la our sports seasons (candidates started running 5 to 7 months ago and elections are NEXT November!!!) but we also have to put up with all this fake and staged crap longer as a result of it. We all know they are faking things up there on the stages across America, the conventions are still nearly a year away, yet we seem to play blind man to all the things going on around us as a result. There are still significant things going on and we should be paying more attention to them right now then which of the 7 donkeys or elephants will win enough staged events to narrow the field down to 3 or 4 before the real selection process happens. If we can’t look at, digest, and select a candidate out of the 3 or 4 left after 6 months of exposure and news coverage then we are too dumb to vote. Why do we need 18 months to select just a Democratic candidate? Is there that much of a selection? From what I have seen so far they are all saying the same thing and making the same promises.

The November election is still 13 months away! Many states are moving up their primaries in hopes of catching the national spotlight. New Hampshire in turn has vowed it will remain the first primary. If this keeps up 16 years from now we will be electing the next president before the current one ever takes office! No wonder candidates need to raise $2 billion dollars; they are running campaigns for nearly 2 years! The reason for states to have early primaries is to get an early feel for how the candidates react to local issues and connect to their concerns. It is not for the publicity or news coverage, or the money spent by crowds following these people around. It may have turned into that recently but it is supposed to give that state’s citizens a chance to see the candidate up close and ask them how they will take care of them and their concerns. Instead North Carolina and New Hampshire are squandering their place by squabbling over who has the earliest primary, silly kids. Add this to the dilemma for Florida and the DNC threatening to ban all Florida caucus goers from attending the national convention, preventing them a voice to select the national candidate! Again the DNC is looking more and more like a spoiled child in charge of even more spoiled children all begging for the ultimate prize in attention seeking actions. Long gone are the times when running for president meant seriously minded and mature morale fiber and character, now its just a dog and pony show to find the best class president and popular person we can.

There are two saying I have found to be true the world over; the only thing a rich man wants is more money and the only thing a man in power wants is more power. Longer campaign seasons mean longer fund raising seasons which exponentially raises the chances of fiscal abuse and miss use of funds or influence. The less exposure a candidate has to fundraising dollars the better for everyone. Realistically in this world we need money to do everything, but when a candidate has to raise funds for almost 2 years do we honestly believe they will remember who the fifth, tenth, or forty-fourth large scale contributor requested of them when they gave them their hard earned money? Of course not, they will have to rely on their campaign managers and others to keep records, which of course leads to so many potential problems many years down the road. Why must we have such long campaign seasons? Recently Hillary Clinton, and other Democrats, have had a biting reality of this appear on their doorstep and in public. A major contributor was uncovered to be a wanted person of interest in felony charges and a known bilker and criminal. This is a shinning example of the problems with a long fund raising season and how we, as a public, need to know who is giving what and when because they are all vying for the most important job in America. Yes the office of President is important and we must really know this person is the right one for the job, but anyone will tell you… an 18 month job interview is just too long and ripe for issues when you can see the same results in 8 to 10 months or less.

On the topic of old sayings, when the cat is away, the mice will play. Where do presidential candidates come from? Congress, Governors, Governmental bodies, Lawyers, Business men. Well, while they are running for president who is doing their primary job? How many votes will the current poll of candidates miss, ten, twenty, thirty? They are on the road for almost 2 years! The voters who elected them are being cheated as they are not focusing on local issues or how their community is to be represented in a national bill vote. They are not there influencing, drafting, authoring or co-authoring legislation, debating policies, calling for votes. No they are out in some small town trying to secure a vote being held 13 months from now! How insane is that!

While the candidates are out trying to secure votes, energize the base, address a shifting and mobile platform customized for the audience they are presenting for at that moment, who is holding down the fort or filling their responsibilities? Political aids. These are the zealous minions who tow the party line blindly and unapologetically. They are not elected, therefore they do not answer to the constituents who elected their bosses. Anyone who has written their elected officials in state or federal governments know this. Our letters are nicely and carefully worded canned form letters tweaked by the aids to make us believe the real candidate cares and will do their best to represent us. These aids answer letters, set up meetings, fill in for duties and votes when possible and run blocking duties by isolating the elected officials and allowing them time to do all sorts of things besides legislating. This cheats the public as we are now represented by someone we do not know, is usually straight out of college, tow the party line blindly, does not take popular opinions at home into consideration when voting by proxy, and buffer the elected official so they can focus their attentions beyond the places we elected them to do.

Just before the turn of the century a new political phenomenon was sweeping the national spotlight, the town hall meeting. Remember the presidential candidates all vying for this re-connection with the average American? I do, and it was here I began to see how fake most of the candidates were as well as how complex the workings behind the scene were to pull it all off. This was the 1990’s equivalent of the YouTube thing we are seeing today. Sorry gen or Z or next-gen, or what every you are calling yourselves these days, but you did not create a utterly new and different medium or concept to connect with the candidates, you just updates an older concept around back in the dusty old 20th century. Over the years candidates lost their fire, their inspiring speeches of leading and trail blazing, and their ability to convince and elevate their platforms to something we wanted to follow. When was the last time you can remember a candidate pointing or waging an ominous index finger at an opponent or other person? When was the last time a candidate only referred to their opponents as how the establishment had lost touch, not to mock or attack? When was the last time a candidate clearly outlined their position, unapologetically and how their stance was best for the country? It is easy to point out the faults of the status quo, the faults of the person you are running against, the faults of the policies we are in today, that is what we see everyday on the news and hear in our open debates. As my wife likes to point out, if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem. Instead of saying the war in Iraq is going nowhere and how it is not worth another drop of American blood to continue tell us how you will fix the current situation. Recently the rhetoric over Iraq has went from pulling out all the troops by Christmas to a 2 year phased pull out, to staying the course??? What has happened to the peace loving, hippie, flower in gun barrel war opposition? It seems the radical stance has eroded into a moderate one, to capture the ever crucial Middle American independent vote. The radical left is selling out and this shows how solid their minds and hearts are in relation to everything, they have no heart to stay the course, no matter how popular or unpopular it becomes. Leading is being a leader in good AND bad time, taking people through painful and unpopular times, from the dark and stormy days to the break in the storm and eventually the clearing and emergence of the sun again.

Show me the money, as the conversation between Cuba Gooding Jr. and Tom Cruise went between their characters of the sports star and agent it goes between candidates and fund raisers. Why am I talking about this again, like a scratched CD, or broken record of my parents generation? Because it IS that important. If there is one thing we must learn form our history books, history DOES repeat itself, only through learning the lessons of the past do we have the ability to prevent this and break the chain to elevate ourselves to new territory. Money breeds corruption, like in the Roman empire and countless ones since then, if we allow politicians a veil they will use it and corruption will take root, spreading its dark limbs of deceit engulfing all that was good in the beginning. When a candidate has to raise money to get elected in the first place or to get re-elected they place themselves on the selling block, highest bidder becomes the benefactor and the previous sentence becomes a reality. Only big corporations, multi-millionaires, tycoons, and special interest groups can afford to gain access to the candidates now days. While I may send hundreds of letters outlining my logical and constitutionally accurate arguments to the right to bare arms, gun control laws, and the responsibility of the individual over that of the group my democratic representative ignores me and thousands of other gun using Wisconsin citizens to vote for more gun control laws and the suing of gun makers for wrongful death suits when these actions are illogical and against sane reasoning. While our letters are not fully answered or addressed it is not us, the electorate that gets the attention or the access to the representative, it’s the special interest groups such as the NAACP, AFL-CIO, and radical liberal organizations who pay tens of thousands of dollars for just one lunch before a key vote who get the representatives ear. Ignore the electorate for the special interest is what the norm is now, and it forces people like myself to join the NRA and other special interest groups, just to equalize this insanity, causing a vicious cycle. In the modern day media and sound bite world the candidates have all become products and not people. They have canned answers, robotic replies to questions, offer double speak, lack balls and courage, and offer fuzzy falseness that is worse then cotton candy. We might as well be buying a doll instead of electing a president. We get so much information and the lines between all the candidates blurs to where they are all just generic cookie cutter copies of the same message with just different icing and designs on the exterior.

In this upside down world where the stereo types have been shattered it is time for the same to happen on the realm of politics. In a world where the #1 golfer is black, the #1 rapper is white, why can’t the #1 politician be honest and inspirational? Will the real Slim Shady please stand up! Today politics is a career. Ok it was in the 1700’s as well, but that is comparing apples to pineapples. Abraham Lincoln was a lawyer by trade, George Washington a surveyor and plantation runner, Thomas Jefferson a plantation owner, Theodore Roosevelt a military man, Ronald Regan an actor. Despite all being outstanding presidents during pivotal and changing times in our nation’s and world history they all were not career politicians until after their main careers were over and they felt they had to fix something that was wrong. All had tasted politics before but it was not all they knew. They had humble beginnings, solid foundations in American reality and went from the pool of complainers to the ones leading the way to solving the problems. Take a good look around and see which present candidates on both sides can say the same. Who is a career politician and part of the problem and who is the one trying to reform and break the status quo?

What is wrong with career politicians I can hear from the back row, well this for starters… their interest is not in fixing the problems of our times, but in keeping their jobs. Career politicians are two faced and the masters of back room deals. They hold their own interests to heart and not that of the people who put them in office. In today’s world it is a rarity that this tactic will backfire for them. Countless numbers of cases are in place to ensure they can continue to succeed in keeping the charade intact. If abortion is the key topic their aids go out and collect the data, the advisors analyze the data and do their jobs of advising, telling the candidate how to answer questions, what the risks are, who they can alienate, etc. etc. Career politicians avoid conflict, are amiable people trying to please everyone all the time so they can keep their careers intact, it’s a hard tough job requiring careful planning and strategic posturing that would make a general envious. How can you trust a person who’s only goal in life is to make it to the top in politics and damn the people unless you need them?

Career politicians, good ones, will look like they are leading when in reality they are really good at weather forecasting. They can smell the rain in the wind, see the way the wind is blowing, feel the pressure building or falling and head in the right direction for this weather pattern. They are not leading, just guessing on what is going to happen and posture themselves in line with what they feel the future will be. That is the real reason so many Democrats are back peddling over their decision to vote for the war, popular at the time, not popular now. There are no absolutes in the world, not all career politicians are out just for themselves, but the majority is and the evidence is in the sad shape of our current political system. From campaign finance reform, to ethic committees and scandals running amuck and just bad legislation and pork getting through on ear marked bills and the like (the bridge to nowhere in Alaska) the proof is in the preverbal pudding.

What initially sparked this piece was the answers of the candidates during the YouTube and later debates. People always ask me why I liked Regan when his policies took a great toll on Middle America during the 1980’s, well, because he did what he said and he was funny to listen to. He came off as being a real person, with real compassion and stake in our futures. Sure trickle down economics was a failure, but we go rid of the specter of mutually assured destruction through thermo-nuclear winter as well as the collapse of the Soviet Empire and spread of democracy in Eastern Europe in return. Regan would hold his position, define it, defend it, and rationalize it. Today politicians talk circles around their positions, purposefully being as vague and gray as they can. From round-a-bout generic definitions and silly stories that resonate with hardly anyone the modern politician is a slick car salesman who will do what it takes to get us into this car today, and maintain their commission as much as possible at the same time. I am tired of hearing a person refuse to answer a honest and straight up question. I don’t care if you have 30 seconds or 30 minutes, if a person is asking a presidential candidate what their view on abortion is they should say what it is and if needed why. Canned generic answers are chicken crap answers and we Americans who continue to accept them deserve exactly what we get. Again, if not offering a viable solution and fighting for it, you are part of the problem.

It is bad now that in our day moderation is the only way to go. Moderates pull the popular line, the popular line is never to rock the boat, to keep the status quo going and ignore the rest. From time to time the system needs to be purged and the blood refreshed. This was the case in the 1700’s and it is the case today as well. We are fortunate in America that this does not require a coup de’ta or bloody upheaval to do. We get the opportunity to do so every few years, yet recently we seem content to just keep putting the same people in the same positions and expect different results. Radicals are seen as extremists, people too out there to be trusted or capable of doing anything. Here is a radical thought, limit all terms to two! If the president is limited to two terms they why not senators and representatives? Why do some senators stay in office for 50+ years?! How can a person living and working in Washington DC be in touch with his state when he hasn’t been more then a tourists in it for the past 5 decades?!!!! Why not limit the money flowing through our legislator’s paychecks? Why must we keep the policies of 100 years still in place when every conceivable landscape has changed when they were good ideas? Sure, new politicians would not be able to get things done as well, but who cares? If special interests are not allowed to contribute to campaigns and are limited to access to sitting representatives they their influence would wane and our elected officials could focus more time and energy on their jobs. Just because it was in our history does not make it relevant today. Times change, people change, the world changes, societies change, our political system should stay as mobile and open to change.

In the end the majority wins, you can’t please all the people all the time, but when the difference between the majority and minority is so slim it requires arcane ancient laws to be enacted and court cases to choose between them this is a sign of a problem. Our moderate world is surrounded by radicals on all fronts. From religious, ideological, economic, environmental, our world is on the brink of losing the gray scale and we will have to choose one side or the other. It is not nice that our modern reality is such, but until we can find real common ground to walk on we can’t expect others to join us. Our political problems are our own doings, our complacency and silliness made real. American is unique that the actions of the nation are the will of the people. Sure we blame our national popularity on Bush, but we put him there, twice. We blame the taxes on stalemated congresses, yet we keep the representatives in power. All our government’s issues are our own doing as the will of the people IS the reality of our current decisions or lack of them. Our individual attention to the government is a reflection of our current situation. How well we tend the garden known as America is how much crop these efforts will yield. As a fallow field with haphazard seed spread by hand will yield some food, the more attention we spend, the better the quality and quantity of the crop yield… guaranteed.

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