Getting with the Process

Getting with the Process

If I had to guess, I'd say that most people are tired of the "political process". Too much of everything, too many candidates, too long a time, too much talk. And, think about it: this has been the process, not the election. The 2012 presidential election campaign is just beginning. The process is winnowing out candidates to determine who will best represent the Republican party.

  Democrats aren't doing any winnowing. They have chosen Barack Obama and they're sticking with Joe Biden as VP. At least that's the story now. It kind of makes it simple and avoids the spotlight that is shining on the GOP contenders. That spotlight exposes a lot of warts and Democrats are enjoying all the negative attention their opponents are getting.

  In the search for perfection - a no blemish person, from birth always consistent, perfect living, all knowing, all meaning, candidate who is wealthy enough to not need any outside money, but too poor to be identified with the rich, highly experienced and knowledgeable with a perfect track record from at least 100 perspectives, contenders are pricked and prodded, like pieces of fresh meat.

  While Republicans get questioned and question each other in as many as 23 debates, Obama strolls around the planet pretty much unquestioned. I think he's held one press conference with a handful of questions being taken in a format he controls. Not bad work for a candidate. Of course, his daily performance gets daily commentary, but he's rarely asked direct questions about anything of substance. In the meantime, he's free to comment about his opponents directly and through his surrogates. Unfair, but that's the way the "process" works.

  The real question is whether any of this benefits the public. While I would like to see a shorter campaign period (it seems to begin the moment a person is elected), I think the public benefits from the scrutiny the candidates get. The only problem may be that all the attention falsely distorts the candidate. Candidates are not the perfection I described earlier. They are generally quite ordinary human beings with many talents, but many foibles.

  Also, on the positive side, few should be able to say that they don't know much about the candidates or that they lack government experience.  Of the eight candidates still standing, one is a state governor, three are former state governors, one a former U.S. Senator, one a former House Majority leader, and two are House representatives. Some have published books. Two who dropped out were state governors and only one had no political or public exposure. So, if you haven't been paying any attention to the rhetoric you can still look up their records. It was a bit more difficult with Obama whose past prior to politics was obscure, and whose public service included one undistinguished term in the Illinois State Senate and a half a term as a U.S. Senator.

  Anyway, whether you like it or not, the "process" goes on. Ultimately, you have the right to vote for your choice. Even if you've shut out all the campaigns, you'll still be faced with two choices: whether to vote or not or whom to vote for. And, if you're holding off looking for that perfect candidate (maybe meaning you? Who hasn't dreamed, "if I ran the world"?), you really aren't prepared to vote anyway.