Friday, January 26, 2007

Too Much Too Soon

Hillary's visiting Iowa this weekend. Obama's entered strong into the polls. It's just barely 2007 and here we are full swing into the titillation of 2008 election foreplay. When this train really gets rolling, we'll be knee deep in platform posturing, mudslinging and full throttle scandal-mongering. The media will be whipped up into such a frenzy that everything except the 98 car pile ups, mysterious pandemics and epic natural disasters will be pushed from front pages and lead newscast stories so we can get a peep at the most recent percentages and hear the latest sound-bites from the campaign trail.

I'm all about the democratic process. I love watching the debates and hearing policy proposals batted around, not to mention catching the occasional gaffe or slip up. I'm into it all. But it's six hundred and forty seven days away---that's 6-4-7. I don't even know when people started declaring their candidacy so early and I don't even want to bother googling to check it out, but sweet Lord in heaven, it all just feels like the Christmas decorations are already up and it's the first week of Summer.

Why the need to start it up so early? What's the motivation? The whole process takes so much time, energy, and money: all the campaigning and analysing and proclaiming and retorting and fundraising. To spread it out over nearly two years seems to me to be nothing short of insanity. Especially when you consider the fact that a good number of the contestants are supposed to be helping run the country while they're out there jockeying for position.

And so I have a modest proposal: a 9 month limit on the presidential campaign process. If you can't lay out your platform and distinguish yourself from the field in the time it takes to gestate a human life, then you really have no business running for office. Here's how it'd work: the primary campaign would begin in June 2007, followed by the primary election in January 2008---that's 6 months to narrow it down to the nominees. Then the candidates would have another 3 months beginning in August 2008 leading up to the general elections in November. No campaigning would be allowed outside of those boundaries, no sound-bites for the media, no commercials, nothing. Zip, zilch, NADA.

Sound good? It's settled then. Someone please notify the candidates.

Seriously, why not? I'm sure there are legions out there who'll tell me why not, so please do, I want to know. Why must we and they tangle up so much energy for so long? Do we really need 600 plus days to figure out who we want to continue screwing up our country for another 1,460? (That's 365 x 4, by the way). No, I'm not really that cynical.

I'm actually very excited about this election and I think the country's moving in a better direction than it was as we headed into the last two. I really don't see how we could get much worse, so I'm optimistic. I just don't want to think about it yet. But the 24-7 news is on at work 9-5 and it's hard not to get hooked. I guess I'll have to invest in a pair earplugs and some blinders. Or convince my boss to switch over to the food network for a change.

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