Columns

2008.06.04 Political season drones on

on . Posted in Nowhere Road

By RICH FOLEY

Tired of all the political talk whenever you open a newspaper, turn on the radio or try to watch television? Would it cheer you up to realize there are five more months of it to come? Yes, this has to be the longest campaign in history and there’s way too much more left. No amount of complaining will shorten it, so we might as well make of it what we can.

Locally, I have to say I’m finding quite a bit of entertainment in the race for Lenawee County Sheriff. Eight candidates have filed for the office and all of them seem to have some type of experience that would serve them well in the office. It might be tough to pick a candidate solely on experience and qualifications, so getting out and meeting the voters on a personal level becomes even more important to the candidates.

Never has there been so many candidates for the office, and as a group, they could be considered the best and brightest in local law enforcement. That raises the question, who’s watching out for the bad guys while eight of the county’s finest are out campaigning? Even current sheriff Richardson is running for another post so we can’t expect him to do it all, either.  Seriously, I’m sure all of the candidates will be doing their campaigning on their own time. Still, it might be a bit safer to live in Ohio until after the election.

On the national scene, the campaign for president seems to have lasted forever and one party still is waiting for the last of the losing candidates to give up. I’m sure to upset some supporters of Hilary Clinton, but I can’t believe her nerve in continuing to demand she be awarded the delegate votes from Michigan and Florida.

The Democratic Party was quite clear in letting the states know well ahead of time that moving the dates of their primaries ahead would cause their delegates not to be seated. Candidates were asked to remove their names from the rogue states’ ballots and in Michigan, all major candidates except Senator Clinton complied.

Now, she demands that the delegates be seated, saying that doing otherwise would disenfranchise the voters, voters who had a choice only of voting for Hilary or no one. Going through with an outlaw primary with only one major candidate on the ballot was the real disenfranchisement.

It’s kind of like a bank robber saying he should be allowed to keep the money because to give it back would take away the money’s right to be stolen. Last weekend, the rogue delegates were granted the right to be seated, although with one half vote each. Ms. Clinton doesn’t seem to consider this enough, retaining her right to protest this present from her party. You just can’t satisfy some people. And the campaign goes on.

 By the time you read this, we should know the winner of the Montana primary, probably the first time in history anyone cared, even in Missoula. At least it will be fun to watch the network journalists reporting from places like Butte, Helena, and Kallispell. South Dakota voted yesterday as well. I hope you didn’t lose any sleep waiting for the exit polls from Mitchell, Sioux Falls and Rapid City.

Sometimes I wonder what the reporting would have been like if television existed in the 1800s. In 1881, President Garfield was shot and lived nearly three months before passing away. At first, doctors said his wounds were not life threatening. But a succession of physicians probing his body in an attempt to remove the bullet resulted in an infection and Garfield eventually died, more due to their meddling than to the initial shooting.

Just think what television coverage of that story would have been like as Garfield’s condition improved, then worsened. And it happened during the summer, so there would have been something to watch other than reruns. Then there was the trial after his death.

Charles Guiteau, charged with Garfield’s assassination, tried the novel defense tactic of pointing out that Garfield was initially expected to live. Guiteau claimed that he merely shot Garfield, it was an act of God and the doctors who killed him. These days, that might have worked, but the courts of the day convicted and executed him. And yes, John McCain may be old, but he wasn’t on the Guiteau jury.

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