The saddest commentary on the deteriorating state of politics in this country may stem from the hilarious fact that some so-called political experts actually thought Fred Dalton Thompson had a chance to be President.
Or it may have lurked in the miniscule – but fanatical – following who believed the fantasy that Dennis “the Menace” Kucinich could win the Democratic nomination.
Those who know Thompson knew he is too lazy to be a good candidate for office. Kucinich sees UFOs and it would take one landing in the Washington Mall to skew political reality enough to turn him into a serious contender.
Every political race draws fringe candidates but the 2008 Presidential run has turned into a national Roswell.
Today, Kucinich will drop his second – and hopefully last – try for the top job. Thompson dropped out earlier this week. He was too lazy to even deliver the message himself or in person, allowing what was left of his campaign staff to send out a one-paragraph “I’m outta here” missive. The official excuse for being a no-show was that his mother was sick and he needed to be with her. His mother has been sick for a long time.
The landscape of political history is littered with these wannabes whose egos lead them to believe they actually have a shot. Some, like conservative blowhard Pat Buchanan, actually win a primary or two but fade in the stretch. Most never collect a single delegate. They end up spending other people’s money and leaving a mountain of unpaid bills to creditors foolish enough to not demand the cash up front.
Super Tuesday on Feb. 5 will thin the herd even more, leaving only the well-heeled campaigns that have won more than one primary contest. At this point it looks like the Democratic race will come down a fight to the finish between Clinton and Obama while McCain and Romney will vie for the Republican ticket. Giuliani’s “rope-a-dope” strategy appears to leave him as the dope. Huckabee and Edwards remain long shots who might be able to play spoilers if they stay in the race. Ron Paul’s ability to raise money on the Internet has not translated into any primary wins.
There has to be a better way to pick the leader of a nation.
Political primaries are, at best, expensive beauty contests where millions of dollars and thousands of hours of work are poured into states with only marginal numbers of voters. Momentum is gained in places like Iowa and New Hampshire with victories determined by handfuls. A few hundred caucus goers in Iowa or a miniscule number of voters in New Hampshire can make or break a national campaign.
Debates become carefully-staged media ops with each candidate sticking with prepared scripts that seldom answer the questions posed by the same talking heads who deliver pabulum on the nightly news. Rarely does any actual, honest debate escape from the prison of mediocrity that defines these events.
Pundits handicap the contests like horse races and concentrate on issues that have nothing to with a candidate’s ability to run a nation: Do young black female voters find Obama more attractive than Hillary? Is John McCain too old to be President? Was Bill Richardson too fat?
It’s little wonder that some flock to long-shot candidates and, for a while, a campaign with a PayPal account can become an overnight fundraising star, only to fade as the too-long election season drags on: All to elect the President of a Democratic Republic that slogs on under the illusion of Democracy.
Winston Churchill once said Democracy is the “worst form of government imaginable…except for all other forms.”
Maybe. Maybe not.