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Some things I learned from primary season
Posted By Ellen Ratner On 01/08/2012 @ 4:15 pm In Commentary | No Comments
A few people can make a revolution.
Well, not exactly a revolution – but a few people can change the course of an election and history. Iowa was not Florida, but we all learned in the 2000 election that a few votes count. President Bush occupied the White House and Vice President Al Gore made a slide show. The revolution that happened changed who was “surging” and who came into New Hampshire as a “winner.”
People run for president for many reasons, and sometimes being president is not one of them.
Rick Santorum clearly never expected to be in the place he is today with an almost win in Iowa. Making a ton of money as a lobbyist, albeit for “causes” he says he believes in, running for president has been a “win-win” for him. With most of the party leadership behind Mitt Romney, he knew there was little hope, but running can only increase his stature and visibility. There is no downside, except the wear and tear on him and his family.
People can be personally rigid, and it can be hard to adapt.
The candidate field has had a field day on the gay marriage issue. Forgetting his audience and the state he was campaigning in, Santorum compared gay marriage between two people as opening up the door for three people or other combinations. He was booed, and this was a group of college Republicans. Running successfully for office means understanding where you are running and who your voting audience is. This is not the nineties when the Millennials were not of voting age. They are now, and they think gay marriage is a non-issue, like the people who still wanted prohibition long after it ended.
The American people want a composite candidate.
Not one of the six candidates fits the bill. They want Ron Paul’s view of privacy, Mitt Romney’s management acumen, Newt Gingrich’s smarts and Gov. Huntsman’s worldview and vision.
Unless you are president of the United States or Lady Gaga, you won’t be remembered yesterday.
The former governor of the State of New Hampshire, John Sununu, could get almost no one interested in what he had to say in the “spin room” after the debate Saturday night. While Sen. Rand Paul drew a crowd and Romney’s chief spokesperson was so mopped you could not get near him, the former governor and President Bush chief of staff could only get three people talking to him at one point. No one really cared about his opinion. People are legends in their own mind, and they’d better have a family and friends who care about them, because after a few years no one else does.
Raising money makes everyone not clean. It’s time to get large amounts of money out of politics.
There are rumors that with super PAC money, Gov. Romney spent $20 million in New Hampshire. If that is even half true, it is an obscene amount of money. When you raise that kind of money, you are not your own man when you get into office. That observation goes for both parties. Congress is beholden to the drug companies, the telecom folks and others. That compromises Congress’ ability to make real legislation that meets the American people’s needs. Getting money out of politics may help our country faster than this kind of election process.
The post debate “spin room” is exactly that.
Like most media, I go to the spin room and listen to what is said. There is only spin, and we ought to stop that process by not participating. That, like massive contributions in campaigns, will never happen. There is too much competition and too much grabbing for access.
Most campaigns and debates are not really focusing on what changes people’s lives.
During the Saturday New Hampshire debate, there was no discussion about what would really create jobs, where revenue and income would come from and legislation that would be attempted. In previous debates we have heard about Obamacare, but no alternatives, no emphasis on what spending would occur and what we will do to put America in a competitive position in the world economy either with our education policy, trade policy or monetary/investment policy. That’s no way to run an election on which so many people’s lives depend.
These “shows” are no Lincoln- Douglas debates. We are all worse off because of them.
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