Come November it will be election time and that means that politicians will be engaged in thoughtful, intelligent debate where they talk about the issues that are important to YOU.
And if you can believe that, I’ve got a bridge in Cleveland to sell you (I sold the one in New York last week).
Politicians and aspiring politicians are carpet-bombing the airwaves with hour after hour of falsely earnest drivel, all in the hopes of bludgeoning you into a stupor so that they get your vote. The problem is, the people in these ads don’t resemble anyone human. Always in slow-motion, shaking hands with the elderly and “listening” to children. Never mind the fact that once in office unless you walk up to their office with a wheelbarrow of cash (“small and unmarked”) they don’t have the time of day for you. No, Candidate Jones wants to know how you feel about taxes, how those “fat cats” (meow mix?) in Washington are screwing you over (“Hey senator, don’t YOU work in ‘Washington’? And I hear you have a calico.”), and tells you about the prescription drug program that will allow you to keep your nagging mom hopped up on goofballs for all eternity.
But what Candidate Jones likes to tell you the most is how bad a person Candidate Quimby is. Mud slinging is supposedly frowned on by the populace, but much like Anna Nicole Smith’s tv show – we love to watch (to those who watch Ted Kennedy, Anna Nicole is a rerun with larger breasts). The problem is candidates mudsling by claiming they aren’t mudslinging, as long as they can show you what a bad person the other candidate is. Example:
“Candidate Quimby is trying to distort my record, but what more do you expect from a man who routinely kicks his dog?”
I call this the “Don’t Look” defense. You defend yourself, then slip an accusation in under the table. The desired effect on the viewer is for you to say “Oooh, that dog-kicking Candidate Quimby! What a bad guy!” Candidate Quimby is now a dog-kicker, and a liar to boot. What can he do in response? Get a Stand-Up Man.
A Stand-Up Man is used when a candidate employs a third party to vouch for his character, even though the third party is obviously biased it’s supposed to come across as just a concerned citizen.
So there’s a police man on screen: “Candidate Jones cares about you, and your safety.” (He kneels down next to Spot, his police dog). “And unlike Candidate Quimby, he loves animals. Especially dogs that fight crime and get bad bad men. Like Candidate Quimby. To refresh: Jones – cop friendly, safe, dog lover. Quimby – cop hating liar who is probably a coke dealer.”
And obviously he’s a cop, so he wouldn’t lie. Never mind the fact that Candidate Jones has promised a generous raise to the police department when he’s elected.
You send candidates on your behalf to work for you, but it seems in the years between elections nothing happens – then in a short three to four month period the candidates scream, “OH MY GOD CAN YOU BELIEVE WHAT THEY’RE DOING?” Suddenly we’re supposed to believe that much like Godzilla awakened by yet another nuclear blast, the bad guys (how come the bad guys are always on the other party?) are working together once again to make life miserable for you (I was doing quite fine before, thank you very much). Somehow it’s hard to see these same bumbling “fat cats” getting religion and sitting around a giant circular table like Lex Luthor and doing evil-laughs that echo through the corridors.
And of course, your candidate – Candidate Jones – is the Superman to their Luthor (sans tights, unless you live in San Francisco), fighting for truth, justice and reelection.
What a wonderful democracy we live in.
Read more like this at the Washington Post and USA Today quoted OliverWillis.com