Tuesday, October 26, 2010

More Politics as Usual

In the past week, there have been a couple of political campaign ads that, if you listen carefully, you can't help but say, "Hunh?"

One that I've heard on the radio this week condemns a candidate for voting against the cost-of-living increase on Social Security and also voting against extending tax cuts. This strikes me as a damned-if-you-do/ damned-if-you-don't situation. If you want to spend more money, you need to increase taxes; if you want to cut taxes, you'd better not spend more money. You can't have it both ways.
The ad goes on to say how the candidate is working against our senior citizens by denying them their Social Security increase as well as saddling our grandchildren with massive debt. Well, if we want to pay out more money and not pay taxes, who exactly is going to foot the bill? With a 2010 budget deficit of over a trillion dollars -- that's a million millions, a 1 with 12 zeros after it -- and a national debt of more than 13 trillion, somebody will eventually have to pay. I guess it must be that anonymous "they" who shell out for unemployment benefits, emergency rescues and repairs during natural disasters, and all those other things that just seem to be there.

Another ad I've seen on TV the past few days had me wondering what the point of it was. A woman who owns a diner -- I'm not sure where, because it is never made clear -- talks about how the mayor tried all sorts of unscrupulous tricks to put her out of business and steal the land her diner was on. The woman speaks with a heavy accent, making it even more difficult to understand her story, and the voice-over and captions do little to alleviate the situation. Apparently, she went to court and was successful in stopping the mayor's evil scheme. But even after seeing it four or five times, I have no idea who the mayor she is talking about is, what office he is running for, or even in which state -- New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut -- this is taking place.

And then there was the gubernatorial debate that took place here in New York last week. Local newspapers and TV news programs referred to it as a "seven-ring circus" as the two major party candidates were joined by five others from minority parties. One, representing the Rent is 2 Damn High party, is apparently releasing his campaign platform as a rap CD and, despite the name of his party, does not pay rent.
Most amusing, however, was the former madam who compared her business to the MTA, saying that, unlike them, she had only one set of books, everything ran on schedule, and all the customers were satisfied.

Finally, basing their campaign on the concept that every elected official is evil, corrupt, overpaid and morally bankrupt, there are the groups who tell you to vote against all the "career politicians" and elect their candidate instead, usually touting theirs as a success in some other field.
Yes, I'm sure there are people in office who fit their description, just as there are people in every other profession who would. But before you jump on their bandwagon, consider this: If you need surgery, are you going to go to a "career medical professional" or a guy who has been a successful plumber? Do you want the car you drive repaired by a "career auto mechanic" or someone who is successful restaurateur? If you are the victim of a crime, do you want the aid or a "career law enforcement professional" or someone who wins at online poker?

While there are things about our government that are broken, they are not going to be fixed overnight by throwing everyone out and starting again. Vote for the candidates you feel will do the best job, regardless of party lines, and it will be a step in the right direction.


  1. Here in Oz, it's compulsory to vote. In our recent federal election, there was a story on our local 60 Minutes reported by an ex-politician, who basically said at the end of his story that because none of the candidates was any good, he recommended putting in a blank voting form. Unfortunately many people did this; we had a hung parliament (similar to in the UK) for a while there, and I think that possibly nobody's very happy with the outcome in the end.

  2. The diner owner has to be a New Yorker. After all, we all know there are no decent diners anywhere but in New York-- and they're mainly on Long Island. This makes the ad all the more baffling, since there's no "Save the Diner" candidate running for NY State governor. And I want a career diner owner making my spinach pie, not a former madame or a man who claims the Rent is 2 Damned High.

  3. I can't track every single candidate's record, unfortunately... but I do know that candidates who won't say anything about THEIR qualifications, but only how bad their opponents are, do not rank highly on my list.

    Eh. Bottom line is, while I rarely find a candidate I like... I can usually find one I dislike most, and vote against him or her.

    I remain,
    Eric L. Sofer
    The Bad Clown...