By Alan Caruba
George Washington warned against “factions” by which he meant political parties, but even in the earliest days of the new republic, the most natural of human inclinations was to band together with like-minded people to elect one’s preferred candidate to office.
Indeed, in the early years of the nation, elections were the occasion for candidate vilification of a sort that would appall the modern voter. All manner of calumnies and slanders were heaped upon each other by the early candidates and it was considered a perfectly natural way to campaign.
The provision of booze was considered another standard element of running for office. One could whet one’s whistle and get a bite to eat in exchange for listening to speeches and debates. Since this was what passed for entertainment in the days before mass communications, nobody thought it improper.
Eventually, it became the practice of those running for president to not even campaign in any way we’d recognize these days. Instead they stayed home and had surrogates represent them. It would have been deemed unseemly to actually want the high office. You had to be drafted by your friends and admirers.
For a long time in U.S. history, if you hadn’t been tested in battle, you might as well not even run for public office. Teddy Roosevelt so hungered for the warrior’s glory, he put together his own fighting unit, the Rough Riders, to participate in the Spanish-American War.
Today’s political battles are fought daily with endless emails and news releases, disputing every word the other side says about anything. Then the television and radio ads pile on. Major issues are reduced to “sound bites” and irrelevant charges about the smallest aspect of the candidate’s look or behavior are instantly analyzed.
In person together for a debate, Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain shook hands and exchanged an hour and a half of tedious conversation, elements of which had been carefully tested in advance. Obama did well because he is blessed with a serene demeanor that has nothing to do with his mind-boggling leftist agenda whereas McCain is a mass of twitches, blinking eyes, and inappropriate smiles. It makes one yearn for the polished affability of Ronald Reagan.
If you locked McCain in the Oval Office and sent in sandwiches, he probably would do a very competent job of running the madhouse we call America. Obama, on the other hand, in between sips of his mocha latte will bring the economy to total ruin with the help of a Congress that will more resemble the Russian Duma than anything that passes for an independent, bicameral chamber.
So now, for the remainder of the campaign, we will be assured that the “other” side will destroy the nation and, in the case of the McCain campaign, they will be right to issue such warnings. One need only listen to the ravings of Barney Frank, the lunacy of Nancy Pelosi, or rock bottom stupidity of Harry Reid, to know that.
I lived through the 1960s with the rioting in the streets, the drugged-out hippies, the terrorists like Bill Ayers, and know I do not want to live in a nation where those perpetrating hostile activities in the name of The Revolution are in charge or at least whispering in the ear of President Obama.
Things look grim. I remember the ugliness surrounding President Johnson’s escalation of the Vietnam War and the national welfare state he tried to create with his Great Society program. That, in turn, facilitated the election of Richard Nixon. In the wake of the Watergate Scandal that brought down Nixon, we ended up with Jimmy Carter, a virtual unknown with a big toothy smile who turned out to be straight out of Mad Magazine.
Just voting for “change” in bad times ought to require knowing and understanding what that change will be. So, yes, Obama’s “change” will ruin the nation by returning to all the failed programs the Democrats have foisted on us since the days of FDR.