I am up to here (since you can’t see my measurement I am holding my arm way above my head) with Tim Russert as political Guru. Mr. Russert, who has had every opportunity to act as a journalist, has done nothing but suck up to the people he interviews on and off TV. Additionally, he has not asked a difficult follow-up (or maybe appropriate is a better word) question since I fell off my dinosaur in some campaign when I first realized I was older than dirt. But that’s not what I am going to blob about.
There was a Republican debate last night where the candidates argued over who could pray to God the hardest, who would pull the switch on an execution faster, who would fight the hardest to protect a fetus, who will build the tallest wall on our borders, who will snicker at Gays in the military and my own personal favorite -- who would wait the longest to pull troops out of Iraq (except Ron Paul — who all the others treat with disdain). There was absolutely no conversation about health care, education, or the economy. What is this election really about? These guys are fighting so hard to win the Conservative or Christian Right vote, that they have forgotten about what the real issues are for real Americans. Maybe it’s me, (and often it is all about me), but how will we build a strong and successful nation without real concern about the housing market, an aging population without good health care benefits, and educating our children so they can compete with children from other countries — and maybe teaching civics, public speaking and geography, about which they are totally clueless. I remember when Jordan started school and the teacher told her that it wasn’t important to know how to spell, write legibly, or know where to find Russia on a map. Have children today even seen a globe?
It is not that immigration is unimportant but building a fence is just a joke. People cut through, climb over and go through fences. If someone wants to cross a border they will. The real question is what can we do to discourage illegal immigration and encourage legal immigration. We might have the technology to identify bodies crossing the border, and we might be able to electrocute a couple of wanderers, but is immigration the issue or is it the impact of immigration on the economy?
I guess, given our limited international vision, and lack of concern about the environment and energy, it is not surprising that we have a President who has never gone to Israel, or a group of candidates who know nothing about the world except keeping troops in Iraq and making the Saudis happy -- without regard for their human rights violations. I am truly frightened by the prospect of the enormity of the lack of discourse about issues other than what happens in my bedroom, my synagogue, and my kitchen. (Don’t try to make the connection – it would take hours to actually get there.)
But I want to be fair in my criticism of candidates. What the heck is Hillary Clinton thinking? Here’s a campaign that has avoided most of the Presidential politics pitfalls by being cautious and mostly consistent. Why would you do something as silly as plant questions or talk about experience you don’t have. And here’s my own favorite with the regard to the Senator. Why would you ask for Barbra Streisand’s public endorsement? Not only is she closely related to Bill Clinton and an era gone by, but if there is one woman more polarizing than Hillary, it’s Barb. I wish she would just sit down and shut up – and I like her, at least as an entertainer. I get that Obama has Oprah, but Oprah is middle America. Endorsements may not help a candidate but they certainly send a message and if that message raises questions, the endorsement can certainly hurt. It’s why, in the old days when advance people made political decisions, we always made sure that the people standing next to the candidate on the dias, were not convicted felons. Oprah might actually get those women (who have previously not voted) interested in this election. She might, as she has done in so many areas, educate a great many people about issues with which they need to be concerned because they will impact on every American (if not foreign) life. Why didn’t Hillary just get someone nice to endorse her? If she wanted a singer why didn’t she get someone from American Idol?
I am now wringing my hands and holding my head. Where will this country be in ten years? Will my children be paying $10 for gas, a million for a small three bedroom home, 2 million for the college education of their children? Will we have ‘normal’ relations with other nations or will we remain totally dependent on the resources of countries that actually make things,( We no longer make things except a few cars that no one wants), that are way beyond us with technology, and who are well educated in science, math and the world around us. Will they still be arguing about abortion or will the technology have so surpassed the action that there needn’t be a discussion? Will women still be dying by the millions because there is no early detection for breast cancer? Will there be homes for the elderly which disregard humanity, and will I be in one? Will the Supreme Court or the Justice Department be making decisions that will further take away their civil rights? Will we be at war with Iran, Korea, or maybe Grand Fenwick?
As we approach the end of the calendar year and the beginning of the real Presidential political season, I have so many questions. One thing I am grateful for — I may have forgotten this on Thanksgiving, is that the Primaries may actually determine who the Candidates will be. For a while the media had already decided it would be Hillary and Rudy — he who still hasn’t answered ethics questions. And why doesn’t someone ask Mitt (or Willard, his real name) how he did flip flop 180 degrees on almost every social issue? David traveled with him last week and no one asks — not the public or media.
There are people who are fervent (another great word), about a candidate – even young people. With this group of candidates it’s hard to imagine, but there’s no accounting for taste. Kidding, I like when young people participate in government. And by the way, what happened to Chris Dodd (who moved to Iowa) and Joe Biden (who really does have experience). They seem to have disappeared. We know Richardson is still running for VP so that explains his lack of visibility. The primary season began so early and will end so quickly. There’s so much nasty it’s hard to believe that there won’t be so much bad blood by the end of the primaries, that the ‘winner’ won’t be considered the victor – they will simply be the ‘candidate.’ I am saddened that it will be another election where I will vote for the lesser of two evils --
I wish Sara Ehrman would run for President. I love her and she is smart, funny, worldly, experienced, takes no crap, and makes reasoned decisions. We’re just sayin...Iris
Sara Ehrman for President!