Let's take a poll. All those who believe there is a dire need for election reform in this country please hold up your hands. I see, nearly 100 percent. Now do the same if you do not believe that such an overhaul, including significant limits on time and money will ever take place -- at least in your lifetime. Hmm. A huge majority for "all those of little faith."
Finally, how many of you already are sick of the campaign for an election that is 17 months away, despite an appearance that it is imminent, maybe even the day after tomorrow. Right. Nausea seems of epidemic proportions.
Even the thought of all those months of allegations of wrong doing and expressed righteous indignation over one triviality after another; of constant sniping among the competitors to the point an actual duel might be in the public interest; of promises no one in his right mind would keep even if he could; of the boogey man specters created by candidates whose mission in life always seems to be to scare the "world is coming to an end" daylights out of all of us.
If you elect this person, he will:
A., do away with Social Security, B., let the poor starve. C., abolish IRS, D., start World War III, E., take away all our guns, F., change the balance of the Supreme Court to favor all (a. right or b. left) policies, or G., all of the above … and plenty more.
The billions of dollars (that's right, I said "billions") expected to be spent before it's over in November of next year is not only disturbing, it leaves all of us guessing who actually owns the country. Might it not be better to form a coalition of special interests who can just name the winner without going to all the trouble of actually balloting?
Are the chief proprietors of the United States the Koch brothers, the Wichita wonders, or some guys from Las Vegas or Hollywood with great bankrolls? Is it the National Rifle Association, the dozen anti- this or that organizations on both ends of the political spectrum? Seriously, who owns this nation? It's increasingly difficult to believe it's the people these days.
Also, I personally have developed a serious allergy about lawmakers who in the midst of their first term decide they are capable of telling the rest of us what is good for us. Two or three years in the Senate does not an expert make.
Electing Freshman Senator So and So has not served us particularly well. The maturity, judgment and unequalled understanding of statecraft both foreign and domestic that it takes to run the world's largest enterprise is doubtfully gained in only 43 years of life. The Oval Office is hardly the place for on the job training in this volatile world.
If the new crop of youngsters in the Republican ranks don't excite you, I'm hardly surprised given the announced or about to be so amalgam of fat boys, libertarians, hybrids of one philosophy or another, screw looses, and scions of political dynasties one of whose mother has given him permission to run albeit reluctantly.
Well then you can place your hopes for a few more years of survival on Hillary Clinton whose ethical baggage is beginning to rival that stored in the overheads of a transcontinental flight. She at least has had more experience than nearly any politician on the presidential horizon. And her amassed wealth over decades of public service gives her at least an aura of success when it comes to raising money on a government salary even if some critics are questioning the propriety of her good fortune. So what if she and Bill were or weren't broke when she left the White House? They sure ain't now. Just think of all the sacrifices they made in our behalf.
So don't hold your breath until this country shows even a semblance of common sense and adopts the British system, which puts strict limits on the amount that can be spent and the length of campaigning. In fact, it may not be possible under our Constitution given the recent Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United …you know, the First Amendment and all that.
About all we can do is take a bicarbonate and suffer through … I guess.
Dan Thomasson is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service and a former vice president of Scripps Howard Newspapers.