And Another Thing: Campaign craziness

By: Susan Rushton
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Good morning, all—I offer you a rewritten And Another Thing from 1996, a year that resembles this one only in one respect: it, too, was an election year. And as a result, it, too, grew crazier by the day, by the hour. Just like this one. The closer we get to election day during a major election year, the more this country resembles an anthill. Not just any old anthill, either: an anthill some 9-year-old has enthusiastically dragged a stick through. It’s more fascinating than almost anything else. Man, just look at ‘em scurry! That’s what these last weeks before the election reminds me of. Girding up, carbo-loading for that heady, ridiculous time before November. All the commentators say the same thing with the same sigh, yet with the same suspicious, telling sparkle in their eyes: we’re in for a nasty, bloody, appalling four months. It ain’t gonna be pretty but it’ll sure be a spectacle. Political Campaign: A war in which everybody shoots from the lip.—Raymond Moley Politics: The highly ceramic art of molding scum to your own desires. —Francis Leo Golden Perhaps politicians are the only ones suited for politics. Only politicians, after all, can take our antagonism. Only politicians can handle the boiler-room pressure of being grabbed from all sides and people being publicly outraged if they aren’t given what they want or told what they want to hear right this minute. Only politicians can handle having to make sense every moment they’re asked to speak, and only politicians can handle the inevitable abuse and fits of indignation from the media when they stumble over themselves. Only they have the shell to endure the hazing and emerge with ties straight and a statement prepared. The longer I’m a citizen of this amazing country, the less I can understand why anyone would volunteer to subject himself or herself to the labor involved in the job of governing. Wasn’t it Louisiana’s Huey Long who insisted “I’m not a nut, elect me”? I think now that the statement should be “If I’m insane enough to run, you should be sane enough to vote for me.” Yes. You should always be sane enough to vote. There are few things I do that give me as much as a kick as voting. It’s an act fraught with power and excitement. Voting makes a difference. It’s a pushy, uppity, loud thing to do. It can’t be by chance that elections take place in football season. Have you been listening? Watching? Surely you agree with me: a presidential campaign toward the end is a hopeless, scoreless, below-zero mid-December game between the Packers and the Bears, except that the spectators are all inside and warm. The players, outside, blinded by snow flurries, have to deal with paralyzed fingers and the barrel of Gatorade freezing over. I expect the next couple of weeks to resemble a Keystone Kops two-reeler, with custard pies flying everyplace and uniformed officials—the candidates, candidates’ aides, front men, spin doctors, security people and reporters of various stripes—dashing around at breakneck speed. Isn’t there a better way to choose our presidents? This process—with its frenzied conventions and media-determined campaign schedule and slick advertisements—it’s so undignified. It’s so ugly, so crazy, so exhausting, for everyone. But at least it grabs our attention. The media types always moan and groan with a suspicious kind of resignation. But they’re actually excited. They’re looking forward to this midwinter rout where the Packer linebackers stagger crazily after Chicago’s weary, slipping, frozen ends. We ready? We better be. Politician: A goon with the wind.~ Bob Hope Susan Rushton’s opinion column appears every other Sunday in the Auburn Journal. Her email address is