General (Election) Lessons

A few lessons I've learned from the campaign, while trying to figure out if the poll released five minutes ago is more of a "game changer" than the poll released ten minutes ago...

Always make sure to cash in before the election is over.

I know it's a big controversy, but I don't have a problem with Sarah Palin spending $150,000 on clothes. I figure it's just campaign money. Either they use it to cut another commercial on how horrible Obama is, or they can dress the Governor in some fancy clothes. That may be the closest we'll get to positive campaigning.
Mostly, I just think it's awful that she has to give the clothes away. That's not fair. Here, she won the giant lottery of random Americans we could put on a national ticket, and she has to return the loot? With all those harrowing interviews, I think she's earned a few nice clothes. Besides, how is Piper supposed to show up for first grade without a nice handbag for all her Gucci pencils?

Luckily, she refrained from buying herself a $100 belt like this one. That would have really clashed with her outfit.

Joe is the only name that matters in politics.

If you're not named Joe, then you just don't matter. That's the clearest lesson of this election, and I like it. Between Joe Six-Pack, Joe the Plumber, and Joe the Ever-So-Helpful Running Mate, it's a big season for us Joes. Well, some Joes are more important than other Joes. I'm Joe the College Administrator, and unfortunately no one seems to be looking out for my issues.

It's fine to delay the World Series for politics.

If there is a sixth game of the World Series, it will be pushed back from 8:00 to 8:30 so that Barack Obama can air a half-hour political commercial. At first, this seemed a dubious strategy. Would baseball fans really want to sit through a half-hour campaign commercial waiting for the World Series? Would that really win Obama any votes?

Then, I realized that he's only delaying the game by six minutes. Instead of a first pitch at 8:29, it has been pushed back to 8:35. What he's really doing is using his big campaign stash to eliminate the pre-game show, and that's just the kind of change I can get behind.

Government's not the problem. It's the disaster.

This is going to sound stupid, but does anybody like government any more? You don't hear a lot of good things about it these days, and it's strange that the people who seem to hate government the most are the same ones who want to be a part of it the most. John McCain hates government so much that he has been a part of it for 26 years.

In her debate, Sarah Palin essentially defined patriotism as "getting government off our back," which in many ways is the very opposite of patriotism. Admittedly, as a humor columnist, I haven't exactly helped propagate the pro-government view. After all, the "Isn't it amusing how government does so many good things for us?" columns don't tend to sell very well. And even if they did, I don't know that I could write them.

Still, it might be nice if the people running the government actually, you know, liked the government.

And finally, it's still all about the money.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the total cost of the entire election will be $5.3 billion, and that's not even counting Sarah Palin's wardrobe. That works out to about $17 per citizen. I've always been against bribery, but maybe next time we should just sell our votes for $17 and get rid of the political commercials. Usually, my price is higher than $17, but catch me on a bad day, and who knows?

There's one group that is clearly winning in this election -- the television stations. If you run a television station in a swing state, finding a parking spot for Obama's giant dump truck of cash becomes just as important as figuring out what to put on during prime time.

Not to go all Marxist on you, but there does seem to be something wrong with this. Imagine how many poor people could be fed with this money (hundreds of thousands). Or just imagine how many Wall Street tycoons could be bailed out with this money (about eleven). It's just a little crazy that so much money is spent on something that so many people don't even like.

Here's one suggestion. There can be limitless spending on a political campaign, but every dollar a candidate spends on the campaign must be matched with an equal donation to a charity. If Obama raises $150 million in a month, then $75 million of it has to go to a charity. I don't particularly care which charity gets the money. Just let some bipartisan commission choose the charities before the election, and watch them all prosper.

As long as it's not the "Save our Politicians Who Serve on Bipartisan Commissions" charity, I think the country will be in better shape. 

    A periodic humor column, disguised as a blog. New columns published on Tuesdays or not as the case may be.


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