Published September 22, 2008
Politics is a game. If you're wondering why one candidate is ahead of the other in the polls this week, it's all about whose organization got the better punches. After all, the candidates are ultimately representatives of their parties; parties whose histories go back to the early part of the nineteenth century. Though largely underground during the presidency of George Washington, political parties surfaced during the turbulent presidency of John Adams and played a large role in the tumultuous election of 1800.
Our modern politics are focused primarily on personalities and only secondarily on principles and policies. If the people like the personality, they will find any excuse to defend the policies.
The media circus that entertains us on an hourly basis provides us with a host of emissaries, ambassadors, and surrogates from each party to craft a nurturing, wholesome, strong image of their candidate. They surface and spin to inflict damage and score points for their team and hope that the cumulative effect of sound bites will influence undecided voters that they have a vision while reassuring the party faithful that their team has their act together and is on the attack so as not to be brought down by the opposing side.
What the Republican Party has been waiting and watching for in the McCain campaign is for him to finally come out in support of conservative, right-wing principles that its rabid base holds so dear. This it finally did so resoundingly with the selection of Sarah Palin as its vice presidential candidate.
With this selection, he was able to trot out the tried and true veneer of conservatives as authentic, patriotic Americans, principally concerned with country above all else while Democrats, aka Liberals (that handy, libelous label), are concerned only with their own narrow, self-serving, hippy interests that advance nothing except a desire to see the world in some communalistic, utopian, and wholly unrealistic fashion.
The truth, of course, is that the Republicans have been manipulating control of the government to enrich themselves and have grown out of touch with the people they claim to represent. To equate the partisan interests of a right-wing corporate lobbyist who is interested in influencing policy to ensure that his corporation pays fewer taxes with a left-wing lobbyist who is interested in influencing policy so corporations emit less greenhouse gases is a false dichotomy. The motives behind these two pursuits are of vastly different sources. One is interested in advancing policy for one's own benefit, and one is interested in advancing policy for everyone's benefit.
The game that Republicans have excelled at playing for so long is enabled by a media who believes if must balance mention of one side's attack by another side's excuse, regardless of the merits of each side. This must be exposed as the sham that it is.
A friend forward this to me this week, which I think sums up the preposterousness of the Republican strategy in general and the Palin pick, specifically:
Clearly, it doesn't add up. Next time you see an article in your local paper or hear a story on the news conflating a story with unbalanced sides from the right and left, speak up for your cause. No one's going to do it for you.
Have a topic you'd like to read about? Or just want to give your feedback? E-mail me at reason -at- tylersclark.com