You are frighteningly correct. The whole system is flawed because no one can even begin to think about running for office without having access to a lot of money somehow. In the end, it's the money that gets people elected and it's the people with a lot of it who remain in control.
Money always has the last word. I'm reading Balzac at the moment and he goes on and on about the power of money. Nothing changes.
I disagree. I think there is the possibility of real change here with Clinton or Obama. America is not as rock-rigid as you think.
I'd like to agree. This isn't an attack on America. I could have said the same about any set of politicians in any Western democracy. As for the countries that aren't western democracies....
I've told this story before, and I suppose that it isn't really counter-evidence, but still. I have a friend who works at a bookstore. One of these candidates has been coming in there for years. He said that he is *unfailingly* wonderful to staff, genuinely interested in books and learning, and a really nice guy. It lightened my heart a bit.
I'd like to believe the next President will really change things round, I really would...
You're right but as sad as it sounds, it has to be better than what there is now and if anything, a lot more people are excited about voting this time around. If it weren't for politics I think both Hillary and Obama are probably pretty nice people as people go.
Almost everybody will be glad to see the back of team Bush.
"nice people as people go"- well yes, we're none of us saints.:)
Contrary to the propaganda put out by the Republican machine, the Reagan years were terrible - for the economy and for the little people. He came into office after touting Jimmy Carter's 65 billion dollar deficit and within six months had tripled it. Less than a year later, he increased the national debt to its first trillion, meanwhile, cutting taxes (for guess who?). The Clinton years were good ones for the little people. The economy picked up, everyone (it seems) was working, there were no fuel "shortages". The only thing that was "terrible" about the Clinton years was the Republicans' harassment of not only him, but also of Hillary. That's right, they started on her the day after his election and have not let up since. Bill Clinton left office with a big surplus rather than a deficit, and George the Second spent it on tax cuts and "rebates" to the poor people (I sent mine back with a note to "please apply to the national debt, as Mr. Clinton suggested". John Kerry is a good and honest man, also a neighbor of sorts here on the Hill -- I have known his work ever since the days of the Vietnam protests. Republican lies are what defeated him, but only by a narrow margin. Now after seven years of George Bush the Second we have another unwinnable war and the national debt is seven trillion and growing daily. No, I am not afraid of Hillary Clinton. She is tough enough to beat the Republicans at their "swift-boat" campaign tactics without resorting to the same. She has done a great job for seven years in the Senate. She stuck to a philandering husband even after the public humiliation of it all. She has the guts to stick it out, no matter what happens.
However, I pity the next president, whether it is a Democrat or a Republican. He or she will have such a terrible mess to deal with, and after the last seven years the people want fast action.
The one thing in this entire process that gives me some degree of hope is that it looks as though the Evangelical Right has lost a great deal of its political influence. It's still a player, to be sure (it's the only thing keeping Huckabee in the race), but even in the GOP you can see it no longer has the stranglehold on power it once did.
the sad thing is, this is not the way our system was 'originally' designed. But, see, you have to have money in order to get into the race - and then of course, if you don't have money you have to get it from somewhere, so here are 'those you do deals with', etc.
People don't seem to realize it's just an illusion. I vote because it's my right and my duty, but I am under no illusions that the person I vote for - no matter WHO - will be much different from the last umpty nine presidents.
Has there ever been a president who was a man of moderate means? I know some of them- Lincoln for instance- started off life in log cabins, but was there ever one who wasn't seriously rich by the time he ran for office?
2008-02-06 03:48 pm (UTC)
Political pragmatism trumps idealism in every time
I think Obama generates so much excitement and buzz because people see in him a break from the establishment you define here. But you and other people here commenting are spot on - a) the next president is inheriting a godforsaken mess, both foreign and domestic (Bush took two terms to reduce everything to a state of FUBAR, it will take a long time to correct it), and b) he or she is going to need to be able to play the political game of backroom deals and compromise to get anything of significance done.
I've a feeling that if Obama manages to win the White House, more than a few of his doe-eyed supporters will be disillusioned to the core after his first year in office.
2008-02-06 04:18 pm (UTC)
Re: Political pragmatism trumps idealism in every time
I don't have a vote- but if I had I think I'd be voting for Clinton. I don't like her as a person, but that's not what it's about, is it? I think, all things considered, she's the strongest candidate on offer.
As your first commenter said, you are frighteningly correct. Much as we want to believe the system is truly participatory, as individuals we're just along for the ride ... and the true powers that be don't want real change. And so it goes ...
Democracy is in crisis. We the people have seen through it. This isn't a happy state of affairs...
"A politician is the Devil's quilted anvil,
He fashions all sins on him and the blows
Are never heard."
Recently I said, who cares if it's a feminine soul or a african-american soul who gets elected when either one had to sell their soul to get this far?
On a more snarkier bent:
Last night as my wife and I walked to the polls we passed a Hillary campaigner and I addressed my wife: "So you're gonna' vote for Hillary and I'm voting for Obama?"
It would be nice to be able to put cynicism aside...
At least, whoever gets elected it won't be Dubya. I think it's a brilliant that your system prohibits a president from serving more than two terms.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.