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 February, 2008


 A Look at the Longest Presidential Campaign in History

Is it November Yet?
By Al Owens

Hold your horses. The nation is still without a presidential nominee. Somebody please nominate somebody so we can put an end to these mysteries.

The only thing for sure, is the country is tired of the president we have. That can be discerned by the intense voter participation in every primary and caucus state to date.

People are voting in record numbers. Talk shows are buzzing ‘til they make your ears hurt. Predictions are starting to mean nothing. It’s a double barreled donnybrook – and I love it (Although I love glazed donuts, but wouldn’t want to eat them everyday).

There are so many exit polls, demographic breakdowns, debates, pre-debates, post-debates, surges, counter-surges, endorsements, stump speeches, photo-ops, counter-endorsements and non-stop-24-hour-news-cycle-political filler that draw me near, and then put me to sleep.

My favorite part of all of this is the Republicans are currently holding a circular firing-squad. So disgusted with the past moderate behavior of their perceived frontrunner John McCain, there are neo-cons planning on jumping off bridges if he’s anointed the party’s standard bearer. (Remember they’re neo-cons. They’ll find some bridges over puddles, from which to leap)

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton wants to debate Barack Obama once a week. That’s a bad idea. Why don’t they hold daily debates? By November, we can all get to the ends of their sentences before they do. (I already feel like that every time Clinton starts that phrase that ends, “On day-one.”)

Last week, Ann Coulter claimed she’d go to work for Hillary, if McCain wins the Republican nomination. I hear Hillary has a job opening. She’s looking for somebody to tuck-in Bill at night – when she’s on the road. I’d love to see Hillary call Coulter’s bluff.

This week, Coulter continued anti-McCain hissy fit by claiming that, “Nominating McCain is the gesture of a desperate party.”

It’s not like the Republicans (and the Democrats for that matter) haven’t had their share of alternatives to the last candidates standing. I fondly remember those wonderful summertime debates when there were enough presidential candidates to fill a brigade. There was: Tommy Thompson, Fred Thompson, Tom Tancredo, Sam Brownback, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, Alan Keyes and Bill Richardson who amassed a total of one primary vote between them. (John Edwards got one vote all by himself)

Now, all we have are these five people who’ve managed to hang on long enough that pundits are just starting to make stuff up.

They’d been universally fooled by picking Obama in New Hampshire. They’d been universally wrong in claiming that Super Tuesday would produce clear haymakers for the Republicans and the Democrats.

By un-Super Wednesday, all of the candidates (save Ron Paul) claimed victory. The Democratic delegate count is so close – nobody knows exactly who is really the frontrunner.

So, the pundits, having to fill up air time – have all resorted to Ouija boards. One of them divined that Thomas E. Dewey will win the general election.

This is American politics at its finest and, at the very same time, its worst. The suspense isn’t exactly killing me. I’m just running out of patience.

On Wednesday morning, up there on Gobbler’s Knob, Punxsutawney Phil’s cousin, Punxsutawney Phyllis saw her shadow and that means six more weeks of bad election coverage.

If I hear another proclamation that Obama has momentum, I’m going to scream. I don’t want to hear John McCain mumble, “My friends,” anymore. I’ve grown weary watching Clinton bob her head in agreement with her own words. I don’t want to see Mitt Romney – period.

And when did this thing start where presidential candidates appear for a news conference with their eager endorsers flanking them with silly grins? Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham are starting to resemble McCain’s life sized hand marionettes.

I don’t know about you, but I cringe with every new reference to Hillary’s gender, Obama’s race, McCain’s heroism, Huckabee’s religion and Romney’s, well, er, his resemblance to a mannequin. I already knew those things.
Then there’s all of this talk about how much money is being raised by all of the candidates.

Clinton had to lend her campaign money from her own bank account. Obama raised $32 million in January alone. Mitt Romney is thinking about raiding his son’s inheritance. There’s been enough money thrown around – you’d have to wonder if these people would just give the money to medical science there would be no more disease.

All of that money and nobody is assured of the presidency. By the time the Democrats gather their delegates this summer they could be forced to have that so-called “brokered convention” pundits keep talking about. It would be the first true one of that type since 1952. That’s when every presidential aspirant spent their bottle cap money on their campaigns.

There is no conventional wisdom anymore. Just a couple of conventions, and at this rate – there won’t be much wisdom to go around.