It Feels So Good When It Stops

Mrs. Swanson was one of my fifth grade teachers at Damon Runyon Elementary School. She once told us of a former student who was hitting himself on the head during class one day. She asked him why he was doing that, and he replied “Because it feels so good when I stop.” That may be the best explanation for the seemingly endless political campaign that will end tomorrow, November 4, 2008.

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Major candidates have consistently demonstrated utter contempt for the American voter. They have done so by telling audacious untruths (See, e.g., http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/the_whoppers_of_2008.html and http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/the_whoppers_of_2008_–_the_sequel.html). This conduct is apparently motivated, in part, by the unfortunately justified belief that most voters are so gullible, lazy, or uninformed that they will actually believe the most preposterous things, and that the other voters simply conclude that since all candidates lie no individual candidate should be held accountable for their untruths. None of this is news to members of my vast readership. So, what’s the point? Perhaps we should throw a wrench in the works in 2012 by working doubly hard to educate ourselves on the issues, and to educate those around us – – the lies won’t stop until the lies stop working.

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I have one degree of separation from each candidate. A college friend was high school classmates with Obama, but never recalled him using the name “Barack” in high school, where Obama was known to my classmate only as “Barry.” And, in 2005 I attended an LDS stake conference in Weston, Massachusetts, where for about 2 hours I was in the same room with Mitt Romney, who obviously knows John McCain. So, if you want some inside information, you know where to find me.

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In October I attended a business dinner and sat next to Andy Updegrove, a real blogger. He told me of a blog posting he wrote in which he drew a comparison between John McCain and the physician in the film “The Elephant Man.” I think it is an interesting insight. Check it out at http://consortiuminfo.org/standardsblog/article.php?story=20081011064913511.

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I experienced much of the 2008 campaign through the perspective of The Economist as I listened to the audio edition on a cheap mp3 player as I ran or worked out in the gym. Their feature “On the Campaign Trail – – Primary Colour” ran throughout the protracted primary process and reported some gems. Here is an example from the March 26 edition:

To err is human
“Occasionally, I am a human being like everyone else.”
Hillary Clinton on why she “mis-spoke” by claiming to have landed in Tuzla in Bosnia under sniper fire when she hadn’t. New York Times, March 26th

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For much of this campaign I watched The News Hour on PBS almost every week day. Good coverage and analysis.

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From time to time during this campaign I would watch “The O’Reilly Factor.” Interesting coverage by Bill O’Reilly about the campaign – – and about Bill O’Reilly.

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In the closing weeks of the election I received numerous e-mails from Republican officials imploring me to donate money so that the Republicans could defeat the Democrat’s efforts to attain a 60-seat, filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. I may have been persuaded had they used a pitch along these lines: “Hey, we really need your help. We were handed a golden opportunity to govern according to Republican Party principles from 2002 to 2006 when we controlled the executive and legislative branches of the federal government. However, we blew it. We abused your trust, messed everything up, lost all of our credibility, and now our mistakes are going to have an adverse impact on all who prefer Republican Party principles to those of the Democrats. Fortunately we have developed a time machine whereby we can travel back in time, and correct all of the mistakes we made, including the profligate spending. We need your donation to complete development of the time machine prior to November 4!”

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Earlier this year an advertisement of this nature must have been posted in various newspapers and websites around the country: “Are you an Eddie Haskell figure with no real friends in your life? Do you mind your own business to about the same extent as Mrs. Olsen from `Little House On the Prairie’? Do you have a knack for spreading vicious rumors and destroying people’s reputations? Have you mastered the art of whispering in a hushed tone that invites others to listen, that begs for someone to overhear your conversation, that suggests that while a decent person would not listen, that if a person does listen she will learn from you some lurid information that no one has dared mention before? Do you have experience doing voice overs for television ads? Are you willing, for a price, to lend your abilities to any message, without regard to personal convictions or principles, and without regard to whether the message is accurate or not? Contact us immediately!”

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