Sunday, January 27, 2008

It's the voters, stupid!

With the presidential campaign pulling out of South Carolina -- amid an impressive showing by Sen. Obama on the Democratic side -- we've completed the first round of this four-year race for the White House. And, as the saying goes, things are clear as mud.



Which is great! I remember -- being the nerdy kid I was -- watching late-summer presidential nominating conventions on a black & white TV at a beachfront motel while the rest of my family had fun in the sun outside the room.Now, that was my kind of vacation!



Back then, conventions meant something. For good or for bad, the professional politicians and the true-believers had all the influence. It was democracy in action, at least democracy as it had been defined up until that point. And it was wild to watch and anticipate as conventioneers traded votes and hopes to be the state delegation to crown the party's next nominee.



That all changed with the proliferation of the state primaries when, we the people -- for the most part, anyway -- got to call the shots. The primaries made the conventions almost meaningless and certainly not a good reason to miss a summer vacation.



But perhaps not this year. Both the Republicans and Democrats have real horse races going and it's possible -- oh, I have my fingers crossed -- that convention delegates will actually select their parties' nominees later this year. Sure, the Feb. 5 Super Duper Tuesday -- with more than 1,600 delegates up for grabs -- may change that scenario but, for now, this political junkie is hoping for the return of convention chaos and smoke-filled ... errrr, smoke-free ... rooms.



Meanwhile, we can count on the cable "news" shows to do their best to keep us on the edge of our political seats for the rest of 2008. They, too, are salivating over the fact there are no real front-runners in either race. So be it; I can appreciate that.



What I don't appreciate, however, is the holier-than-thou, I-know-better-than-you-do attitude they bombard us with 24/7. That's why I got a kick out of the results from New Hampshire a few weeks ago. The Chris Matthews of the TV world got it wrong -- again -- and ended up with a three-egg omelet all of their collective, smug faces. Their reaction to New Hampshire voters' always-dependable independence prompted me to write the following to Time magazine. It is the lead letter in Time's "Letters" column this week (www.time.com/time/magazine/article):



Government by the people

You got it right with your cover headline, "It's the Voters, Stupid. Forget the experts. Forget the polls. Forget the TV ads" [Jan. 21]. What the primary results from New Hampshire showed, once again, is the arrogance of the national media—especially television news, which continues to believe that it's the story. The press seemed downright insulted that the voters of New Hampshire didn't vote the way the commentators and pollsters said they would. It's long past time that the talking heads acknowledge they don't have any more political insight than do the schoolteacher and garage mechanic pulling the lever in the voting booth.

Frank Maurizio

SCHENECTADY, N.Y.

2 comments:

cel said...

Nothing bothers me more during election time is the spin media puts on things. They seldom think outside the box

Thomas Bellick said...

My first attempt at a blog entry completely crashed and burned so I try once again. Frank - thanks for providing this forum.

Over the past several weeks I have completely been blown away by the sheer hatred of Bill and Hillary Clinton by the press, especially talking head TV personalities.

While Hillary Clinton has provided point by point plans on how she intends to govern this country, Obama has simply delivered - certainly moving speeches. Granted, he is a better speaker than Hillary, I can vouch for that personally, but she has the depth, intelligence, and capacity to run the government, when I am not sure Senator Obama does.

Circling back to my central point - I watched on N.H. primary night as Chris Matthews was apoplectic that Hillary won, and that the polls were wrong, and then just this past weekend, the talking heads on CNN and MSNBC were downright giddy that Hillary lost, and by a wide margin.

Clearly, the press is unfairly whacking Bill and Hillary, and goosing up the race card - any which way they can.

Similarly, they have marginalized John Edwards, so that he is pretty much out of the running.

It is aggravating to me that Chris Matthews, and a bunch of guys and Gals I never heard of are forcing the Democratic Electorate in the direction they want, not what might be good for the country.

I might as well watch FOX news from now on, at least I will tune it in knowing that I am watching right wing propaganda, and that they will do anything to drag Democrats through the mud.

People should make their own decision on who to vote for in the Democratic Primary, not based on nonsense that the talking heads are saying, or how many Kennedys are endorsing Obama - or Hillary. An equal number of Kennedys are supporting Hillary.

Don't forget to vote, next Tuesday, Feb. 5, noon to 9pm.

Tom Bellick