The two major political parties have selected their presumptive nominees and are prepared to move forward to the general election. I have taken my lumps realizing I will not be winning any money in my presidential pool. I had a Mitt Romney/Charlie Crist ticket besting Bill Richardson/Barack Obama line-up in November. And while this year provided what has been by far the most competitive and exciting primary season of my life, the fun now begins in earnest.
Convention season is right around the corner. It’s a great time for journalists looking for shwag, and a financial boom for cab drivers, prostitutes and balloon retailers. I am curious to see how much coverage the conventions receive this year. Networks have moved to more of a twelve month season, and I am guessing are not interested in showing long-winded, blow-hardy speeches when America could be picking out a shiny suitcase of watching people try to cook or dance. This means the cable news channels and their talking heads are going to have to spend even more time than necessary creating “moments” that didn’t really move anybody. Those convention crowds might as well have been plucked from a theme park line to see a TV taping in Orlando. They are handed their props, told their chants and instructed on what the ques will be to use them. Those crowd reactions are about as organic as a Twinkie.
I am tired of hearing how historic this election is. Every time a President is elected by the American people, the US Supreme Court or Diebold, it is an historic event. Even more so now with the number of super powers reduced to two (I know it’s really just one, but one of Putin’s henchmen may be reading this and I may find myself in Moscow one day and I’d prefer it not being sharing a cell in the gulag with Gary Kasperov). While focused so much on the Democratic primary and if a woman or a black man would be nominated, several other note worthy facts about the candidates were overlooked. The US will elect it’s first Senator to the highest office in the land in my lifetime. There’s a reason the Oval Office has been occupies by a steady stream of Governors. Maybe not on a conscious level, but somewhere in the recesses of their minds, the population feels a little more comfortable having one of these guy in charge. They’ve already been in charge of a large government and had final say so. Someone coming from that type of position is going to seem like more of a leader than someone who was just a part of a large legislative body.
We also stand on the doorstep of not having a Southerner running the free world. So a man from either the rust belt or the desert southwest will be giving the State of the Union address next year. The nation may scoff at the South (even though it’s the region that controls most of the banking, shipping and retail) but every four years, when the country needs someone in charge, they look below the Mason-Dixon line. There was still a chance of this had Senator Clinton gotten the nomination. She is somewhat of a geographic chameleon, able to claim being from the South, northeast or midwest depending on what best suits her needs.
Another bit of history that could be made is the electing of our first Vietnam veteran as Commander in Chief. Despite the millions of young men that served in southeast Asia during the 60s and 70s, not one had been sworn in as President. I can’t believe I have lived to see the Boston Red Sox win two World Series and have not seen a Vietnam vet in charge of our armed forces. However, this country did elect back-to-back draft dodgers.
Even though the campaigns are in the home stretch, we are far from done with them. A more than 24 month campaign and a less than 24 hour news cycle is going to leaves us all a bit drained.
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