Loathing on the campaign trail | AspenTimes.com

Loathing on the campaign trail

Last week, I watched the Iowa caucus dog and pony show until my eyes were bleeding. This is the most miserable, humiliating Ramada Inn gig on the planet, and I’m surprised that none of the political candidates have promised to eliminate it the minute they take office.

I saw Bill Clinton pimping for Hillary in a high school gym and almost had to turn the TV off. I heard Michelle Obama say, at a retirement home, that the volunteers “really inspire Barack and I,” followed by Ann Romney declaring “how emotional this was for Mitt and I.”

Joe Biden’s sister introduced him to a small audience in a private home while he, in turn, introduced his grandchildren, his in-laws, his brother, his nephews and his mother, begging the question: Who was left in the room to be convinced to vote for him?

The upshot of the whole deal was that 220,000 Democrats and 114,000 Republicans made the Iowa decisions which, along with the small state of New Hampshire, can actually change the direction of the campaign.

John Edwards has been stumping in Iowa since 2004, and most of the candidates seemed to be singing to their own choirs. What is the point of this money-pit madness?

McCain had Richard Nixon’s daughter in a small audience, someone else had Ted Danson, Hillary had her entire family and Madeleine Albright. Most of the audiences showing signs of boredom: yawning, chewing gum, scratching, holding their signs upside down.

That being said, I like Barack Obama ” think he’s the only genuine candidate on either slate and am glad he won in Iowa and, especially, that Hillary Clinton came in third. Love the song that Meredith Daniel, playing Hillary, sings at the Crystal Palace, “Who the HELL is Barack Obama?!”

On the other hand, they endorsed Huckabee.

Watching this fiasco, I thought how much better a job our local GrassRoots TV does on campaign coverage than “the big boys.” We have the incredible resource of the national TV media, and it was entirely wasted on ridiculous sound-byte debates that would put a meth addict to sleep.

Then, last Saturday night, the media came to its senses. The ABC roundtable political discussions broke the boredom barrier and got down to the nitty gritty with hard questions and open-ended, sometimes heated, exchanges between the candidates.

Now THAT was worth watching! THAT is what political coverage should be. Nine or 10 such meaningful discussions should be followed by a nationwide primary election, all on the same date in, say, June, and the winners should be the candidates in November ” NO caucuses, no premade posters, no ad blitz, no fatuous conventions at the end ” just cut to the chase.

The Colorado caucus is coming up Feb. 5, and I guess I’ll have to go to that, but why we’re having a caucus instead of a primary election is a question I’ll find the answer to before it takes place. I’ve been to a couple of (yawn) caucuses, and I know we’ve had at least one primary election, so one benefit of the tedious Iowa caucus-watching is that it has made me wonder what is going on in Colorado.

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