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Electoral, Media, and Family Traditions

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If NPR, ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox had provided the storyline for the 1808 U.S. presidential election, it would have looked something like this.


On the one hand you would have had a Southern, militaristic, tall, large, religious good old boy who would have been fun to have a beer with and would not have put on any high fallutin' airs.  On the other side of the stage you would have had a candidate who occasionally got off a good sound bite, but who had the freedom to do so because he didn't need to worry about actually winning the election.  He wasn't really trying to win, just making a statement, just trying to shape the debate and bolster his own vanity.


How would we have know that the second candidate wasn't serious?  Easily.  He was only 5' 4" tall and weighed barely 100 lbs.  In fact, as CBS's in-depth investigative reporting revealed, he was rounding up from 98.5 lbs.  He also was the first candidate ever to run for president of this country who wore long pants, another ploy to try to make himself look bigger.  The fact is, he was a frail little wimp who routinely suffered seizures and had been deemed too weak (or was he?!) to fight in the Revolution.


But that wouldn't have been the decisive story.  No, it would really have come down to a question of the second candidate's elitist snobbery.  He was in fact, the first person to become what would later be called a "graduate student."  Worse, he didn't quite claim to have invented the internet, but he did let on to be "the father of the Constitution," the creator of "the Bill of Rights," and a variety of other outlandish accomplishments that should have served only to turn off NASCAR dads.


Let's face it, if today's corporate media had run the 1808 elections, we would be remembering a President Charles Cotesworth Pinkney, and not a President James Madison.


Which brings us to an insightful comic strip:

   Is Dennis Kucinich the same thing as James Madison?  Well, no.  He did not take the lead in writing our Constitution.  He doesn't own slaves.  He grew up in Cleveland.  He's bigger.  But Dennis Kucinich is the one candidate interested in USING the document that Madison produced. You know who else isn't James Madison?  That's right.  Dubya.  I just got my hands on a brilliantly put together book called "Founders v. Bush" http://www.foundersvbush.com which pairs up quotations on a variety of topics from our nation's founders and Dubya.  The contrast is one of principles and values, but also of depth and intellect. Which brings us to Hank Williams Jr., who I like to think meant to write the following: 

Compassionate conservatives have been a real close family,

But lately some of my kinfolks have disowned a few others and me.

I guess it's because I kind of changed my direction.

Lord I guess I went and broke their family tradition.


They get on me and want to know, Dubya, why don't you think? Why are you such a dope?

Why must you live out the plans that PNAC wrote?

Over and over everybody feels my inflictions.

So if I start wars, I'm just carrying on an old family tradition.


I am very proud of my granddad's name

All though his kind of fascism and mine ain't exactly the same.

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David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online (more...)
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