The only cure for election burnout is more election
Late last week, while driving around — something I do pretty much all the time — news came over the radio that the White House was preparing to “shake up” its staff members.
Specifically, the analyst said, President Obama was likely to change his press secretary, his secretary of state and possibly his chief of staff within the next few days. As I type this, the press secretary (Auburn native Robert Gibbs) has already stepped down.
This is happening now, the analyst went on, because of the election.
“They’re shifting into campaign mode again,” he said. “Gibbs is great on the campaign trail.”
Well, I thought, that’s kind of a stretch, right? I mean, the election isn’t until November and it’s only January. Is he really that concerned about an election that’s 10 months away?
The host of the radio show howled.
“Campaign mode?” he said. “The election isn’t until 2012!”
This, it seems, is the way of the world in American politics these days. With the new Congress barely warming its seats in Washington, the conversation is already shifting to who will win the next election, in November 2012.
This isn’t a new trend, of course: Presidential candidates for 2008 were emerging in the middle of 2007, and some of the members of the current legislature had already begun campaigning against the current administration before they’d even taken office in 2008.
It’s a disturbing trend, really. Analysts, columnists and bloggers who focus on politics all seem to have their eyes on the same issue: Will this help (Candidate X) win the next election? Every issue — health care, Afghanistan, the economy — is viewed through the same prism.
What no one ever seems to ask is the following: Putting aside how this issue helps or hurts your political aspirations, is it good for your constituents? Is it good for America? Is this the right thing to do?
It won’t end anytime soon, of course. From now until 2012, Obama and the Democratic party will saw back and forth with the Republicans in Washington — the phrase “will of the people” will emerge multiple times, politicians will disingenuously complain about “government waste” (while openly lobbying for more federal money to go into their own districts) and every debate will center around “how it will play” in various political circles.
And we, the voters, will fall for it. Guess we always do.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
shameless promotion (2.0), part xvii
Editor's Note: In the ongoing attempt of this blog to promote its primary author's
failing career as a writer, we present to you this week's column from the St. Clair Times. As always, feel free to voice your own opinion in the comments about the poor quality of the writing, the topic or whatever might be ailing you at the moment (you can also find me on Twitter). Thank you in advance for your feigning of interest.