Highlights and lowlights of wacky election seasonHang in there, folks. It’s almost over.
By: Ann McFeatters, The Dickinson Press
Hang in there, folks. It’s almost over.
One of our most zany, interesting, frustrating, expensive and unpredictable election seasons ever is about to end. Here’s my take on some of its perplexing, ridiculous and astonishing highlights and lowlights.
As the windup to the Big Event begins, a group naming itself Latinos for Reform is urging Nevadans not to vote Nov. 2. It argues President Obama and Democrats promised immigration reform and failed to deliver so Hispanics should stay home.
It turns out the organizer was once a paid employee of the Republican Party; many politicos suspect the just-stay-home campaign was designed to help tea partier Sharron Angle, fighting for Harry Reid’s seat.
New York is having a race for governor made for the tabloids. GOP gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino refuses to talk about issues, fights with reporters and seems obsessed with speculating about whom Democrat Andrew Cuomo sleeps with. Oh yes, there’s also a candidate who says she supplied prostitutes for former governor Eliot Spitzer. New Yorkers have a lot to ponder.
Kentuckians have their own dilemma. Tea partier Rand Paul, tired of explaining why he has trouble with civil rights legislation and what he really thought about organized religion decades ago, is defending himself from the strange accusation that while in college he and friends made a woman kneel on a creek bank to worship “Aqua Buddha.”
Insolvent California is obsessed with figuring out how and whether businesswoman Meg Whitman employed a domestic employee for nearly a decade without knowing her immigration status or if former governor Jerry Brown should be held responsible because an aide privately called Whitman a whore (ostensibly in the political, not personal, sense).
South Carolina voters either are put off by their tea party senator, James DeMint, whose extreme views alarm staunch Republicans, or they are appalled by his opponent. Alvin Greene, a come-from-nowhere Democrat, is unemployed and faces a felony obscenity charge. Here’s his plan for unemployment: “Another thing we can do for jobs is make toys of me, especially for the holidays. Little dolls. Me. Like maybe little action dolls. Me in an Army uniform, Air Force uniform, and me in my suit.”
It’s hard to top the quandary faced in Delaware. Christine O’Donnell has delighted the media with her, uh, unique observations on life from witchcraft to evolution (it’s a myth, she says) to the concept of separation of church and state (the Constitution does not address it, she wrongly insists). After deriding the Supreme Court, she was asked to name decisions she opposes. She could not.
Nonetheless, reporters will be depressed if she loses her entertaining bid to be a U.S. senator.
This is a tough year for journalists. Alaskan Joe Miller, Palin-endorsed for the Senate, says he now refuses to answer reporters’ questions. His guards handcuffed one pesky journalist. Another Palin protégé, Reid nemesis Sharron Angle, dodges the media but told Hispanic children that some of them looked Asian to her. In Arizona, GOP Gov. Jan Brewer, mightily trying to rid her state of undocumented immigrants, says she sees no need to answer more questions.
If this becomes a trend, we will not have to work at questioning candidates at length on issues, their promises or conflicts in past and present positions. We’ll simply assess them based on what we know about their sexual habits, how seriously they take their religion, if any, what their spouses look like, etc.
The latest polls indicate Democrats have a dramatic “enthusiasm” gap about their candidates compared with Republicans, who appear far more eager to vote. Somehow, that’s not surprising although it’s difficult not to worry about people who can’t wait to put the likes of O’Donnell, Paladino and Angle into positions of authority over the rest of us.
Somehow, together, we’ll get through this.
Scripps Howard columnist McFeatters has covered the White House and national politics since 1986. E-mail her at email@example.com.