I often pity those who cannot admire the beauty of campaign season. They really miss out on the finer points of political campaigning. The press releases, the interviews, the stump speeches, they are all the result of hours of research and teamwork that would cause most football coaches to be envious. It's a chess match of massive proportions.
We are now approaching the most intriguing time of the election season. With
two weeks to go in Election 2000, we've come down to gut-check time and it's gonna get uglier than an 80 year-old East German Madame. The trailing candidates will begin their 'scorched earth' campaigning by trying to tear down their opponents in order to gain some ground and it's gonna be nasty. I wish everyone could learn to appreciate this time as I do.
The time is now for the political supporters get out and root for their teams and begin slinging the proverbial mud at their opponents. It is time for records to be distorted, for slanderous accusations to be hurled and for the skeletons in the closet to be exposed. Though most voters hate this type of politics, I thrive on it. I am a political junkie, and this is what I live for.
I love that every trailing candidate has to go negative. You can talk integrity and decency all you want, but when crunch time comes you have to get ugly. It's how the game is played. I think that somewhere in each party's campaigning handbook there is a dirty tricks sliding scale. If you are down 2-4 points in the polls: distort your opponents accomplishments or voting record. Down 5-7: charge him with wanting to cut a school program or Medicare. 8-12: infer that he has racist tendencies. 13 or more: start the standard "I think he's gay" rumor.
In the race for President, George W. Bush has widened his lead on Al Gore and if Gore doesn't stem the tide soon, it may become hopeless. For most of this campaign the polls have been close. Up to this point, each campaign has run a relatively clean contest. There may have been the occasional distortion, but the name calling has been kept to a minimum. With the polls moving significantly towards Bush, the Gore camp must begin frightening the blue hairs on Social Security and race baiting to have any chance of winning. If they are not in full throttle attack mode by the end of the week, I will be in shock. It's their only hope.
The Presidential campaign has been a back and forth exchange since April. Each camp has advanced and lost ground on several occasions. Being the political junkie that I am, this little dance has been fascinating to watch. I am going to revel in the ugliness which will transpire in the coming weeks. I really want to know about the skeletons in the closet. I want to see how nasty Al Gore can get. I want to know if the Bush camp will take the high road or fire back in kind. This is exactly how I want it.
What we are seeing now is the finishing moves on this year long chess match. Each side is now looking for their rook takes queen move. It's sheer beauty, and, as always, it will fall below the radar of the average voter. Every move, every counter move, every made for TV sound bite designed to get that last of the undecided vote, it's pure strategical poetry. The average voter is missing it.
It's obvious that the average voter wants different things than the political junkie. When a political junkie wants the candidates to bring it on, the average voter wants them to cut it out. The junkie wants more facts, more figures, more fuel for their arguments. The average voter wants a clearer picture of the future. The junkie wants a figurative hair pulling contest, the average voter wants to leave the voting booth feeling good about their selection.
The political junkie wants to witness the chess match, but the average voter doesn't want their future decided this way. They want honest campaigns on real issues so they can make a clear assessment on who should be in charge. They want for their future to be secure, their streets to be safe and to have a country they can be proud of. We political junkies may want this too, however, sometimes we get encapsulated in the cesspool of empty rhetoric, demagoguery and political jargon to actually realize it.
It kind of makes me wonder who should be pitying whom.
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© The Cynic, 2000
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