The silly season is over. Party primaries are in dead-heat mode and there's no time for quibbling over who loves Martin Luther King the most or whether Ronald Reagan was the best thing which happened since Abraham Lincoln.
In short, it's time for all candidates to run on their records. And it's time for them to stop leaning on those past presidents whom they'd like to build monuments to. So, let's do some issues! In these times, this is no easy feat. However, not having to discuss black/white and all colors in the spectrum releases time for voters.
Voters need to know such things as how they can pay for gas, whether employers will cut jobs, what chance there is to keep healthcare insurance, and more. And of course, when are we going to get out of Iraq?
On Saturday, January 26, while waiting for the polls to close on the Democratic primary in South Carolina, I watched a rerun of the previous day's speech by Bill Clinton. He gave a full rundown of Hillary's proposals, and it was nostalgic to see her husband making a speech in that effortless way he's famous for. As most everyone knew, she and Barack Obama had locked horns in a personal way. I thought it a little unseemly, but who am I to tell a couple of Senators how to talk? Since newspapers dubbed Bill Clinton the first black president, I guess he got the job of telling some young people about what Hillary would do as president.
By now we know Obama got some of the white vote and Hillary and Edwards split the rest about evenly. Obama carried the state, however, and that's what counts in Denver next summer. I had this feeling that the loser was Bill. I've had my differences with him on things like NAFTA and his handling of the first Osama bin Laden encounter at the World Trade Center. But on the whole, he ran a good administration, made even better by a healthy economy which helped me to retire with equanimity.
In this campaign, I really hoped that Bill Clinton would stay in the wings, perhaps holding a cue card at the ready. But he was out on the hustings. I think of consciousness raising back in the days of NOW. Something seemed retro to me.
Too much gossip already. That's what I'm driving at. The rancor before the South Carolina election stole knowledge the public should have had. John Edwards didn't receive coverage of what he was doing up there in his corner of the state and he has a message, I think. Obama could have told more about how he will help the people of South Carolina. To say something hopeful, maybe, to live down the old cliche of being the buckle in the Bible Belt. And Hillary could have gone to some colleges and rapped with this new generation facing a time when the nation is trying to pull out of another foolish incursion.
So, if the candidates could put some muscle in their speeches–which the media would surely have to cover–we here in the wordworking department could help them get their messages reported accurately.