No Democrat wants to tell the leaders of their party that they have halitosis.
- Georgia Sen. Zell Miller
Unless you live in western Columbia County or across the Richmond County line, where a few County Commission hopefuls waged brief but mild campaigns, you may not have noticed that Election Day 2003 occurred this week.
But if you think Christmas decorations have hit the stores too soon, how do you feel about the crowd of presidential hopefuls who have been stumping for votes and spewing anything-but-mild rhetoric 18 to 48 months in advance? Its enough to make a grown voter cry - or cease all contact with the media, and order an unlisted phone number to avoid those already frequent, contribution-seeking calls from hysterical campaign workers whose political connections exempt them from the national do-not-call list.
However, even if you choose this head-in-the-sand option, theres still a slim chance youd like to be an intelligent, informed voter 52 weeks from now, so I propose the following:
Though I cant stand the verbal harangues of the current crop of presidential candidates, Im still a news-junkie - earplugs in, newsy-nose out.
Consequently, I have read so much information about what the candidates said, or what their supporters and detractors say they said, that I feel obligated to summarize for you the differences between the positions of the magnificent nine (at this writing) and the other side. Be sure to keep my list handy - laminate it, if necessary - so youll have a record of what the candidates are saying now, in case they change positions after reading the handwriting on some pollsters wall.
Howard Dean on President Bush: We need to stand up against the most radical president of my lifetime, and fight! (presumably not in Iraq.
Sen. Zell Miller on Dean: If Howard Dean had been in Boston in 1775 instead of Paul Revere, he wouldnt have roused from a sound sleep, raced across Massachusetts, and yelled, "The British are coming! Hed have said, "Shut up so I can get some sleep!
CNNs political analysts Judy Woodruff and Bill Schneider on Bush: Striking new evidence that President Bush may be beatable in 2004 Hes sinking! His approval rating is down to 50 percent, his lowest rating ever.
Democrats: Bushs tax cuts will wreck the economy!
Columnist Charles Krauthammer on the economy, following record third-quarter surge in the GNP: After the collapse of the 90s bubble, businesses didnt invest at all. Whats important about this report is that none of it is due to military spending. Its all business-driven. The tax cuts are working.
Democratic candidates on Iraq: The president has done it wrong every step of the way (John Kerry). America cannot put its foot on the accelerator of war and advocate peace (Dennis Kucinich). Bush was wrong to go to Iraq in the first place. To delay coming out doesnt make it right (Al Sharpton).
Zell Miller on Iraq: I am so pleased that George Bush displays such strong leadership, especially on finishing the job in Iraq, that he has my vote in 2004.
George Bush, following the Senate vote to ban partial-birth abortion: This important legislation will end an abhorrent practice.
Sen. Barbara Boxer on the same legislation: This is a sad day for the women of America.
Mark Alexander, publisher of The Federalist E-Journal, on Bush: The president is unburdened by the specter of political correctness.
All this may just be selective bashing, crediting the people I agree with and exposing the ones I dont. Maybe its also a hint that more information is available across the whole political spectrum than the steady, sound-bite diet too many of us consume.
Meanwhile, on the subject of around-the-calendar campaigning: When I was a child most of us earned our summer spending money working for local farmers. In June we picked strawberries; in July we switched to raspberries, peas, and beans; and by August and September the blackberries, corn, and potatoes were ready.
As Solomon said so long ago, To everything there is a seasona time to plant and a time to pluck what is planted (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2).
Is it too much to ask the wannabe leaders of our land to take a seasonal approach to campaigning, and follow the rules of nature?
Pedantic Proverbs answers
Following are the correct answers to the Pedantic Proverbs from my Oct. 22 column, and the names of those who translated them correctly. Answers:
1. Ignorance is bliss.
2. Children should be seen and not heard.
3. Your guess is as good as mine.
4. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.
5. The early bird gets the worm.
6. Here today, gone tomorrow.
7. The ball is in your court.
Bob Ross, Katherine Crook, Sarah and Susan Osborn, Audrey Chamberlain, Mason and Kay Richardson, and David Ansley. Heyward Knight and Joe Cook sent different but plausible answers to one or two of the proverbs. Thanks to all who played the game.
(Barbara Seaborn is a local freelance writer. E-mail comments to email@example.com.)
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