On the Money: Welcome Back to the Political Silly Season
By: Chuck Bates
I remember a few years back one of the best campaign commercials of all time when then Congressman Bob Beauprez was running for the Governor’s position in Colorado. The camera pans up from a pile of horse manure and the Congressman says something to the affect, “Smell that? Yep, its political season again.” It would seem the political manure is ripe and flying at breakneck speeds as we head into the one of the toughest and frankly meanest Republican Presidential primaries in recent history. With the advent of new types of media and the nearly ubiquitous smartphone allowing campaigns and bloggers to write about practically every jot and tittle of a candidate’s speech, demeanor and gaffes, we are all treated to a non-stop 24/7 political buffet that this writer is already growing weary of. Still, we have to cover the campaigns to try to bring some sanity to the silliness.
The most recent case of outright silliness is the attacks by Republicans on the free market capitalist system. You read that right. Newt Gingrich—or at least his supporters via a super PAC—have been unleashing a litany of ads aimed at Mitt Romney and his time as a venture capitalist. Since when did it become acceptable for free-market-believing Republican candidates to attack their very own ideology to go after a fellow Republican candidate? That would be like Barack Obama attacking a more-liberal candidate than himself (if that is even possible) and decrying Marxism as bad for his party while he practices Marxism/Socialism. Still this is exactly what we have seen. Now I am not a fan or supporter of Mitt Romney. If you have read this column very long you know I believe that Romney is one of the weaker candidates ideologically. Still I am unwilling to attack the best system for the creation of wealth and opportunity on the planet to score political points.
More evidence of the silly season was Ron Paul’s recent attack on Rick Santorum, using as his source of information a notoriously left-leaning organization’s materials. In a recent debate Rep. Paul attacked former Sen. Santorum using material derived from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Sounds like a good name until you realize that CREW is another one of the organizations bank-rolled by billionaire and leftist George Soros! CREW make a habit of going after conservative candidates and causing them issues with the FEC, the media and the public. For Congressman Paul to use their information with any credulity was practically absurd. He then attacked Santorum for being on the board of directors of an energy company where he aided the company in pushing back against the onerous EPA regulations that have been promulgated under the Obama Administration. So even here you have another Republican candidate doing the unthinkable and attacking free market capitalism to score points. Rep. Paul surely doesn’t believe any of this as he is the libertarian candidate in this race and has been a huge proponent of free market economics over the years. But here, too, his ideology is left hanging in a vain attempt to win the Presidency.
Not Just the Right Being Silly, How ‘Bout Those Dems?
Across the nation, state after state has passed voter identification laws requiring all who intend to vote to have a state-issued photo ID in order to vote. The reasoning for such legislation is simple: integrity of the ballot box. We know this to be necessary as voter fraud has become commonplace and, frankly, strategy for the Democrats in this nation. Groups affiliated with the Democratic Party (for example ACORN) have been stuffing the ballot box for years. One of the surest ways to make sure that John Doe is voting is to make sure John Doe has a photo ID to present prior to voting. Sounds like common sense doesn’t it? Well not to the Democrats across the nation. Instead they have gone silly by parading this as a racist issue. Apparently that argument works equally well in large Hispanic as well as African-American communities. They cry foul and even invoke some revisionist “history” claiming that rich, white Republicans are trying to bring back Jim Crow laws. Are you kidding me?! This is absurd on its face as, Tennessee for example, passed a voter ID law and even has offered the state-issued ID (if one does not already have a driver’s license) for free. But this doesn’t stop opponents from saying even that puts too much of an obstacle for someone to vote. No, they say this is an onerous burden laid on the people to keep minorities from voting. Really? Is it any more difficult than registering to vote, which we are already required to do? C’mon folks. When I show up to the polls I want to make sure someone else hasn’t already voted for me, don’t you?
The Silliness Will Be Advertised
Well again, this is just the tip of the iceberg for the political silly season. Next up will be those ridiculous television ads where one candidate or candidate’s supporters hire that guy with the great but ominous voice and make the other candidate(s) look like Freddy Kruger, Jason and that guy from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre all rolled into one. You know the ads I am talking about. The one where the candidate is taken out of context, usually a fuzzy or grainy picture and that announcer comes on and says something like, “Joe Politician hates bunnies and even his own family. He voted to take candy from babies and is coming for you…” Oh, I can hear them already. Those ads are coming to a television near you. If you are in one of the early primary states you have probably already sworn off TV as a result.
So there you have it friends, the first installments of the political silly season. What is not silly and in reality extremely serious is that there is an election coming up that may very well determine the direction of this nation for the next generation. We the electorate must sift through the nonsense and frankly pray for wisdom as we seek the best leaders for our nation. Keep in mind that ours is a great responsibility. However, it is also a great opportunity that most of the rest of the world does not enjoy—the ability to freely pick their leaders or to run for office themselves.
Take a lot of the ads with a grain of salt but not the election process itself. Our generation has the ability and responsibility to try to leave a heritage of freedom and liberty for the next generation, just as our parents and grandparents left for us.