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American Idol On Steroids

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I watched with a mix of awe and revulsion the spectacle that was the Iowa Republican/Tea Party Caucus. As the media salivated over the likes of "Surging" Rick Santorum and the exposed pettiness, downright nasty and uncivil tones of former Republican House Speaker, Newt Gingrich, to the condescending political comeuppance of Mitt Romney, the entire tiresome process reminded me of the an outlandish, wacky episode of American Idol gone horribly wrong.

Of course, there were the usual background props of "ordinary people" in diners, candidates in shirtsleeves rolled up hobnobbing with "we the little people." Ah, these election seasons. Sometimes I think that my time would be far better spent watching the mentally challenged denizens of reality television. At least I would not have to listen to the mainstream media pontificate and offer insider tips on political races akin to a New York City Aqueduct horse racing form.

Now they are driving viewership by engaging in speculating about what is likely to happen in New Hampshire and somewhere in the South of the United States; what Newt Gingrich will do, what Huntsman did not do...blah, blah, blah. God, do these people ever give it a rest? And what's the big deal about this Iowa Caucus anywhere? Iowa Republicans have an extremely poor record of supporting, let alone, picking a presidential winner. In six contested Republican primaries dating back to 1976, Iowans have gotten it right exactly once. They chose George W. Bush in 2000 -- definitely nothing to brag about.

So why the hype, hyperbole and prognostications? Well, it makes for good manufactured television drama for one. It's about viewership for another. And it's about advertising dollars. Finally, it is a home, a place, a refuge for the politically challenged and obsessed -- those politically crack-addicted and incapable of dragging themselves from the endless punditry of the intellectually challenged.

Then there is the utter ignorance and simplistic positions of these Iowa voters. At least those interviewed by media reporters who came off as definitely clueless and detached from the political maelstrom swirling around them. But who can blame them when the very candidates routinely come over just as clueless, and can only repeat ad nauseum that "President Obama has failed"?

Take the presumed Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney. Maybe its tiredness or some other preoccupation but he appears to be only grounded to this earth at varying times. At others he's wide eyed and mumbling providing evidence of complete detachment and out of touch with this world. He just the other day waxed eloquently about how he was an advocate of "an opportunity society." He did not bother to explain what that was or is.

He then jumped from that characterization right into"what else? An attack on President Obama by accusing the president of believing that "government should create equal outcomes." He ended this amazing, and quite frankly, unsubstantiated looney tunes statement by qualifying it thus: "In an entitlement society, everyone receives the same or similar rewards, regardless of education, effort and willingness to take risk. That which is earned by some is redistributed to the others. And the only people who truly enjoy any real rewards are those who do the redistributing -- the government."

Yeah right. Obama is a red-baiting, card-carrying Soviet socialist in American disguise. That's the unquestioned dogma/law according to Mitt Romney. Without proof, no record or evidence -- period. Just Mitt mouthing off knowing full well that his off-the-barn sojourn into elevated levels of idiocy will never be challenged. In a society where politicians' rhetoric is seen as truth Romney gets away with these hare-brained, wild-eyed fabrications because the mainstream media loves this kind of thing. It attracts viewers and advertisers. Truth has become unimportant and secondary to money.

That's why CNN and company keep resurrecting Donald Trump -- he's great entertainment material, as outlandish as any of the current crop of presidential candidates, and just as intellectually vapid as all of them.

To set the record straight. President Obama is a right of center liberal politician who favors balancing the budget and government's role as a facilitator for economic growth. The Republicans favor making the rich richer, cutting taxes and ending government's role as a regulator, especially when it comes to big business and Wall Street financial shenanigans. And for the chicken hawks of the Republican/Tea Party presidential hopefuls entitlement programs like Medicaid and Social Security are things to be privatized, farmed out to their uber-rich cronies.

Foreign policy? Re-engineer and reshape America as the bully of the world. Never apologize for the wrongs of American hubris, bomb Iran without any shred of evidence that that country is building a nuclear bomb, and make poverty part of the American way of life.

And you are wondering why I nearly threw up just watching these guys and a gal act out their deep-seated phobias in Iowa? You wonder why I am repulsed by the fact that so-called super Political Action Committees (PACs) spent $14 million to jiggle the outcome of the Iowa Caucus in a blatant display of partisan, negative and vicious campaigning?

2012 will be the year of the Super-PACs and the year that money will seal the deal. How much does the presidency cost?

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MICHAEL DERK ROBERTS Small Business Consultant, Editor, and Social Media & Communications Expert, New York Over the past 20 years I've been a top SMALL BUSINESS CONSULTANT and POLITICAL CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST in Brooklyn, New York, running (more...)

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