October 31, 2010
A cure for the common election
By Bill Kraus
Campaign 2010 has gotten to the point where I almost don’t care who wins. I just want it to be over.
I have had a bellyful of campaigns of mutual destruction where the objective is to dismantle the opposition irrespective of the side effects, like demeaning the trade.
David Brooks’s recent column asked who would want to expose him or herself to this?
The absurdity of exposing yourself to schoolyard level pettiness escalates when the price of entry into a contest of casting aspersions is close to astronomical.
Even if one puts aside the unfairness of unregulated, anonymous rabbit punchers who are free to spend their considerable resources on rants against the already beleaguered candidates, the abuse level is so high that even the spectators are repelled.
The only winners are the professional campaigners who are paid to perpetrate these atrocities and the TV stations which disperse them far and wide.
What is being wrought by these libelous, take-no-prisoners bouts is a warped democracy which suborns mediocrity or worse.
There are, of course, some worthy players and even a few of those who rise above the abusive process survive to take office. This despite, not because of, the system that has evolved for the benefit of the mercenaries and the media.
Mostly the system has exacerbated partisan fevers, promoted the importance of narrow interests many of which are social not governmental, made masters of the rainmakers in and around the system, spawned legislative gerrymandering to keep docile majorities of careerists who lack incumbency threatening courage and have no ambition to do more than hold the jobs their leaders have bought for them.
Despite the ravages of courts that are deaf, dumb, and blind to the collateral damage of unfairness and secrecy, all is not lost.
What is really needed is some adult supervision.
The citizen political volunteers who ran the parties and politics generally before the game got to be rewarding enough to attract the parasites and ugly enough to repel the adults are not barred from participating in politics.
Many of them have forgotten how to do it. More have outsourced politics to others. A lot think that contributing money to causes, front organizations, which is bad, or even to candidates, which is better, but not enough, is all they need do. Not so.
What they have to do is put their stamp on candidates and recharacterize campaigns, chase the foxes out of the henhouse, put their names and reputations behind candidates and campaigns, make the people they hire to run campaigns and the candidates themselves turn square corners.
They have to—ugh—take over the parties again. They have to put their names on the top of campaign letterheads. They have to put their time, effort, and presence where they are only putting their money (anonymously in too many instances) today.
Only they can make politics both respectable, responsible, and fun again.
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The Democrats do not want to discuss the issues this year. Because the issue is that the Democrats ARE NOT LISTENING! HELLO? Still waiting for an apology, or any hint that they are listening.
-RMJ | Hudson, WI | November 1, 2010
RMJ apparently didn't read Bill's article closely enough. It is hardly just the Democrats who are guilty of the ugly campaign extremes in use during this "silly season."
The example I've been using is a mailing from the Republican State Leadership Committee of Alexandria, Virginia, Ed Gillespie's organization, going after my Wisconsin state senator, Russ Decker. It shows a very obviously black man's hand over a young, white woman's mouth, with the copy reading "Why does Senator Decker want to let convicted criminals out on the street?" This Willy Horton style garbage is out of synch here in the northwoods. Standards of decency are really going to hell!
-John Smart | Park Falls WI | November 1, 2010