Monday, October 30, 2006

I approved this message

I hate this time of year. Campaign ad season. I hate campaign ads. In fact, I hate campaigns. I think campaigns are a testament to the great failure of American government. I think our politicians would be so much more likeable if they didn't have to run for office. First, voting tends to distract our government leaders for what we originally sent them to Washington to do, which is to govern.* What's the line from West Wing? "We try to get people to vote for us, and in the process we hope the people force us to do good things." They're so busy trying to stay likeable that they forget to actually stand for something.

* TOBY: Hey you want to know something? C.J. doesn't like running.
ANDY: Why not?
TOBY: Believe it or not, because it takes time away from helping.

Not to mention the fact that running for office and being a good representative can often involve two different skill sets, and those who persevere at the former tend to outshine the latter. George Bush v. Hilary Clinton, anyone?

But ironically, it's the job requirement to be popular that seems to make politicians so dislikeable. For example, I was watching the Kloubacher-Kennedy debate on Meet the Press a few weeks back, and I remember thinking, "You know, if Amy Kloubacher didn't have to run for office, she's a candidate I could see myself supporting." She seemed to have good ideas, wanted to tackle serious problems. But something about running for office made me dislike her. Like how she had to drop in "Well, Tim, as a former prosecutor" to every question. You were a prosecutor, you're tough on crime, I get it. You can change the subject now.

Anyway, I don't much care for campaign ads, either. Maybe it's the negativity of it all. The BBC agrees with me. Or maybe it's just the contrarian in me. I almost always find myself wanting for vote AGAINST the person who ran the ad. It's like those anti-smoking ads. Those things are so self-righteous, they make me WANT to smoke just to stick it to them.

Let's look at Amy Kloubacher again. I'll be voting for her next week, but I almost always find myself arguing with her ads. Even the ones that aren't negative. Like when she says, "In court a judge can throw out the evidence if it's improper, and that's what I hope you'll do with the chagres Mark Kennedy has placed against me. Rationing Lipitor? That's ridiculous! My mom's on Lipitor." Yeah, except you didn't actually deny your rationing desire. Or the one where she says, "I think they need some good Minnesota common sense in Washington." Really? Is that what you think? I've been to both Minnesota and Washington, and I'll admit there are a lot of things wrong in the District, but I don't think "Minnesota" common sense is the answer, doncha know?


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