Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Where are the soap commercials?

On Tuesday I found myself in a public space with full-time news on the TV. It was nonstop "let's talk for several hours while we sit here waiting until there's news". They even had a countdown timer, time until the polls close!

That was it! I am SO TIRED of this election!

First of all, the campaigning and the "news" coverage have been going on for at least a year (feels like decades). This started way earlier than I can ever remember. Secondly, there was no news whatsoever until the Iowa caucuses closed last week, nothing but speculation, but that didn't stop anybody from talking. There were more predictions than at a psychics' convention! Same for the days between Iowa and New Hampshire.

Here's where I have a huge problem:

1. Predictions are pretty much useless, and polls are pretty much useless; it's only the actual ballot that counts.

However, I worry that the predictions themselves tend to affect the outcomes. I mean, people do tend to be influenced by public opinion; people do tend to like to be among the majority, to have voted for the eventual winner. (Or people tend to vote for the underdog--your choice of theories; both have adherents.)

2. Even the primaries themselves are of limited value. Here's what happens: The state delegates, receiving from their voters via the primaries a mandate to vote for a certain candidate, go to the convention and vote that way on the first ballot.

If there's no clear winner (and has there ever been?), the candidates are free to vote as they wish, which will usually be for the favorite of the party leaders (after all, these delegates are loyal party members).

3. Claws will be retracted and the people who were denouncing each other as worse than Satan himself are now on the ticket together and/or lavish in their praise of and devotion to each other.

It's all such a big game! And we voters are totally fooled by it! And the media is exploiting it and us by hyping it (yes, the blog-o-sphere as well as MSM, I hate to admit--although I will say that many bloggers are talking the issues more than predicting). They tell us for days, weeks, months before how the vote will turn out. Then after the votes are in, they tell us why they were right or why they were wrong (doesn't matter which).

Okay then. I guess I'll jump on the bandwagon with a prediction: At the Democrats' convention, Hillary or Obama or Edwards will come in as the leader, having gotten there by accusing the closest of the others of treason, felony, and generally not being a nice person. One will go out as the Presidential candidate and one will be the "always have been convinced s/he is the best for the job and certainly better than the Republican" Vice-presidential candidate.

I can't make anywhere as clear a prediction for the Republicans, but the same scenario will play out. Maybe Romney and Huckabee (not necessarily in that order) will find that their religious differences are not a problem. Maybe Giuliani and Thompson (again, without necessarily being in this order) will have a lot more in common than they're currently admitting to. Anyway, the two, whoever they are, will have always been the best of friends.

In Bill's words from just before the New Hampshire voting, "!"

Meanwhile, I think I'll watch a lot of reruns while the news is on. Too much soap opera nonsense for me.

No comments: