Playground Politics and Punishments

By Maggie Van Ostrand’

The age of playground politics has never been more apparent than these last few weeks.

“I’ve got more money than you.”
“Have not”
“Have too”
“Have not”
“Have too”

Or

“That’s what you said”
“Did not”
“Did too”
“Did not”
“Did too”

Or

“I’ve got Oprah Winfrey”
“Oh yeah? I’ve got Barbra Streisand”
“I’ve got Jack Nicholson”
“Oh yeah? I’ve got Robert DeNiro.”

I’m not even going to mention Ann Coulter promising to stump for Hillary if McCain is the Republican Party’s nominee. Does anyone care?

And what about Hillary’s eyes welling up yet again as soon as she saw Obama rapidly closing the gap? Well, if it worked before for that same reason, why not do it again? I wonder what she really thinks of women that we’d fall for those same old tricks that we invented in the first place.
She has driven some women right over to the double-O, Obama and Oprah.

Indisputable proof that the candidates were childish, is the Punishment Factor. Parents like the DNC answered the challenge by punishing the states as well as the kids. Think Michigan where the DNC stripped that state of its delegates as punishment for holding an early primary. Think Florida when the DNC stripped that state of its delegates for the same reason. Think the turning of Teddy. I’m not saying that Teddy was angry because Billy didn’t follow his advice. It must be a big fat coincidence that Teddy came out for the competition shortly thereafter Billy paid him no attention.

Only Howard Dean felt the punishment fit the crime.

I fully expected to be punished myself this morning at the polling place. “Do you want a paper ballot or the machine?” I was asked. I cannot recall ever having been asked that before. It’s like SATs for 2008 voting. I chose paper and, judging by the expression of the volunteer behind the table, I half expected the CIA to come bursting through the flimsy sides of the cardboard “booth,” guns blazing, warrants in hand — oh that’s right, they probably don’t need warrants any more — and arrest me on a charge of Not Going Green for wanting to vote on paper. I wanted to cry out “Please! Not the waterboard!!!”

The ballot was handed to me in a “secret envelope.” Could’ve fooled me, it looked just like a manila folder. It was kind of cute though, when the volunteer I handed the “secret envelope” to, the one containing my executed paper ballot, turned his eyes away as the contents slid into a big black machine. I hope it wasn’t a shredder.

Super Tuesday? I don’t think so. “Super” would be if all 50 states had primaries on the same day. It must be hurtful, if not downright insulting, to live in a state that doesn’t seem relevant and is neither talked about nor polled for opinions. Then again, it might be a blessing. It would be a relief, for example, not to have to answer the phone every time a political favor was requested.

Besides, what if every single person in every state not included in Super Tuesday voted for, say, Ron Paul? Then we’d have a real race for the nomination, and not the childish game that’s got me glued to the TV.

Perhaps candidate childishness and party punishments will result in improved political standards. One can only hope.

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