Tuesday, October 16, 2012 • 12:00am
I am fed up to "here" with this election. The campaign started during last year's baseball season and won't end until after this year's World Series. In the interim we have had basketball, hockey and almost two football seasons. Enough already!
This year the presidential race has become just another reality show. Is it America's Got Talent or America's Got Candidates? The campaign that has lasted for 22 months, won't be over for another three weeks. It began in January 2011, when Herman Cain announced his candidacy. Then in April, Barack Obama filed with the Federal Election Campaign Committee and Mitt Romney announced he was running.
With an anticipated $5.8 billion (with a "B") in campaign spending, the Presidential campaign has become its own economic stimulus. It is full employment for campaign workers and TV News.
Did you ever wonder why the coverage on news channels has been so constant? It is cheap programming that people find interesting. Who will be voted off the island this week? We have already decimated Herman Cain, Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann, and Newt Gingrich. Turn on MSNBC and Chris Matthews will tell you what a boob Romney is. Turn on FoxNews and Bill O'Reilly will tell you how inept Obama is.
I am finding the long awaited presidential and vice presidential debates a disappointment. Instead of candidates being rated on their plans for the future, they are being rated on whether they look down or up at their opponent, whether or not they smile or frown. (Oops, that guy scratched his ear. What does that mean?) Instead of specifics each debater is trying to one-up the other. Gimme a break!
Every day, all day, I get desperate email messages from fundraisers. "Contribute now so we can make our campaign matching goal. Contribute now so we can beat the other guy at fundraising. Contribute now so we can meet our daily goal." I get emails from Nancy Pelosi, Debbie Wasserman Shultz, even Joe Biden, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. My wife got a call from Mitt Romney's campaign. Perhaps she is a closet Republican and never told me?
Soon the Robocalls will begin. Starting next week, when I pick up the phone I will hear. "Hello, this is (fill in the name). This election is the most important in your lifetime (until the next one). I urge you to vote for (fill in the name). Your vote can make a difference in your quality of life for the next four years."
I am waiting for the competition to be so fierce that the Robocalls end with the admonition "We know who you are. If you don't want your tax returns audited, vote the way I told you."
When I grew up, every family dinner would be punctuated by a political discussion. My grandfather and I would get into heated debates over the issues of the day. My father and mother would join in. My sisters, who were younger and quieter would remain silent, watching the debate from the middle of the table, moving their heads back and forth as if they were at a tennis match while each side traded barbs. These debates often got quite heated. My grandmother would often intervene. While scurrying from the kitchen to the dining room, she would scold us saying, "Stop fighting at the dinner table!" Her loud admonitions had no impact.
There were certain assumptions during those dinner debates. Franklin Roosevelt was a god who had saved the economy and the Western world. Harry Truman inherited his mantle. Herbert Hoover was a devil and Thomas E. Dewey, was Hoover's disciple. To my father, Dwight D. Eisenhower was the Supreme Commander. But everything else was up for grabs.
Then, along came John Fitzgerald Kennedy. I was a Freshman in College when he ran and what a breath of fresh air he was. I have never been as enthused about a presidential candidate as I was that year. At last a young President of the United States. Never mind that Kennedy was as old as my father and my "ancient father" was only 43 at the time. Kennedy was amazing, he spoke with such eloquence compared to his opponent Dick Nixon or the sitting president Dwight D. Eisenhower, and his wife was beautiful. Check that, she was sexy.
The day after Kennedy was elected we all went back to our normal course of business. But, this year's election won't be over on election day. We will be flooded with questions about the veracity of the outcome in some states. Television news will hold forums on likely cabinet and Supreme Court appointments. There will be constant speculation about the composition of the Senate and House and how they will vote on key issues. There will be run-ups to the inauguration, including speculation on what the First Lady will wear to the 27 Inaugural Balls she will attend.
There is only one way to stop the continuing election season nonsense - vote with your clicker. There will be no continuing coverage If no one watches the debates, the constant political harangues, and the continuous commercials replete with American flags and caring wives. Television executives will switch programming choices to something else. It might be pumpkin chunking, Civil War re-enactors, or even episodes of Bridezillas and My Fair Wedding, but it won't be yet another campaign gotcha. So grab your television clickers and stand up for America!
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Henry Bassman has written about high-technology and medical technology (biotechnology, medical devices and healthcare issues) for more than 40 years. He retired from AT&T, served in the U.S. Army where he became a captain and worked for ABC News. He is now affiliated with a small investment bank. Articles by Henry can be seen on ABCNews.com and other business Web sites. Henry has lived in Summit, NJ for 37 years and has been married for more than 40 years. He has three daughters who graduated from Summit High School.
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