I’ve been following the presidential campaigns as well as our state campaigns for the U.S. Congress and I am sad to say that the faces change but the rhetoric stays the same. I was once married to a U.S. Congressman so I have a bit of experience in this “campaign stuff.”
Last week McCain said he didn’t know how many houses he owned and this week Obama didn’t know what town he was in. Both have made major gaffs that give the other side ammunition for derogatory comments and negative campaign ads. Each is bashing the other, each is reaching for anything that helps them win. They’re tired, they’re overbooked and they’re human. While they say a lot of words, neither candidate offers any hard specifics about what they’ll do once in office. Each offers a lot of generalities. Actually, they can’t do much more than that because, thank God, they are not a one man show once they get elected. They have a Legislative and Judicial branch they have to work with and getting that many “important” people to work together is like herding cats. The also have to cut through all the lobbyists and that is an even bigger challenge.
Last night I watched the opening of the Democrat Convention and felt like I was at a pep rally. Little of substance was said. Michele Obama gave the keynote address and I found myself feeling a bit distressed. She wore a beautiful designer dress, was coiffed and impeccable in her appearance and tried to convince the conventioneers that she was “middle class” just like them. (Actually, she has her own dress designer, Maria Pinto, whom she has used “for a long time.” I don’t know many middle class women who have their own dress designer, do you?) She gave a speech that was full of words but short on both feeling and substance. I wasn’t convinced. She kept trying to persuade the “congregation” that she and her candidate-husband are middle class – just like them. She painfully recited all the problems encountered by herself and Barack in their early years growing up in middle class neighborhoods. She failed to mention that she graduated from both Princeton and Harvard. I felt she “protesteth too much.” I came away from it wanting to know who the “real” Michele Obama is.
The children were beautiful.
The commentators afterward lined up on both sides, of course. Some seemed to think the speech was on target, wonderful, portraying a true picture of a middle class family that is headed for the White House. Others saw them portrayed as Bevear-Cleaver-family-wanna-be types in an effort to get votes. There was little middle ground with the news media.
On a state level it’s much worse. We have a number of candidates in the race for a congressional seat in my district in Arizona. All talk about “clean campaigns” and the mud is flying faster than I’ve ever seen political mud fly. I get 3 or 4 pre-recorded phone messages a day from these candidates, each bashing the others and asking for my vote – and my money. It will be a matter of picking the “lesser of the evils” on election day. That is very sad.
Where are the statesmen? Who has a passion for this country strong enough to put all the personal aggrandizement aside? Don’t tell me what you think I want to hear. Don’t read the polls in the morning paper and stand for the ” issues of the day.” What are your stands on the issues? What do you want to accomplish? That’s what I want to know – consistently and unembellished.
Senators McCain and Obama, don’t think I’ll vote for you just because you’re a war hero or a black man, a Democrat or a Republican, a liberal or a conservative or because you’re the “media darling.” I’m not voting for your wife or your children