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Candidates for 2008: They're preposterous!

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Posted: Friday, September 5, 2008 10:00 pm

The best quotation from either the Republican or Democratic convention came from New York Gov. David Paterson when he said, "If he's the answer, then the question must be ridiculous."

Paterson's observation referred to Republican presidential nominee John McCain. But it applies with equal accuracy to McCain's opponent, Barack Obama, and their vice-presidential choices, Joe Biden and Sarah Palin.

They're all preposterous!

The only good thing to say about election year 2008 is that it will be tough in future years to find less qualified candidates who have such little appeal to enlightened voters.

I'll hand it to the Democrats for nominating one of the few from its party that gives McCain, a mirror image of the least popular president in American history, a fighting chance.

I won't be watching any of McCain's or Obama's self-aggrandizing performances as they debase themselves by uttering the same worn-out platitudes we all know by heart.

And I'll not be reading any of their predictable speeches tailored to whatever specific voting bloc they're addressing at that particular instant.

Most certain of all is that, unless a loaded pistol is held at my head, I won't vote for either.

Nevertheless, I do have a few simple suggestions for the candidates that might actually help them in their White House quest.

Since the nation just suffered through an endless primary season with a gazillion meaningless debates and two exceedingly tedious conventions, I'd like to remind the candidates of the age-old adage: Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

They would be shocked if they knew how quickly the majority of viewers change channels when their images show up on their television screens.

We've heard what they have to say. We either believe or we don't. Few minds will be changed between today and Election Day.

Accordingly, I recommend that the nominees drastically curtail all their public appearances until mid-October. Let the Internet, the bloggers and the 24-hour news talking heads keep their names in the public eye.

Their campaigning should be limited to the three states that will decide the November winner: Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida.

Why should McCain visit California or Obama go to Texas? Neither has a chance in either state.

For Obama, I offer specific counsel. Please stop promoting "change you can believe in." You have absolutely no record of change or reform. The same bigmoney sharks support you that supported George W. Bush.

As for McCain and his GOP cronies, please no more feigned concern about Hurricane Gustav victims or retroactive hand wringing about Katrina.

If they're so troubled, let them do something tangible. McCain owns at least seven houses. His wife Cindy has her own jet.

Fly to Louisiana, pick up some displaced residents from New Orleans and Baton Rouge and put them up for a few weeks.

The sad truth is that the American political system is beyond immediate repair.

America has a largely uninformed and uninterested electorate. Lobbyists, special interest and ethnic-identity groups have inordinate sway. Politicians, constantly campaigning, move from one election to the next, dodging most of the real issues and providing only superficial answers to those few questions they can't avoid.

Maybe the answer can be found in the East.

The Japanese government fascinates me. Ineffectual leaders step down rather than continue to politically slug it out with little chance of success.

Twice within the last years, two Japanese prime ministers - Yasuo Fukuda and Shinzo Abe - resigned amid widespread disgust with their performances.

Abe promoted a conservative agenda to restore national pride and core Japanese values. But voters, who are more worried about their economic future, dismissed it as out of touch.

His successor, Fukuda, was done-in by a weakening economy combined with negative domestic growth and increasing retail prices, especially food. Financial market analysts dismissed Fukada's $18 billion economic stimulus as ineffectual.

Hmmm … Does any of that sound familiar? A "conservative agenda," "restore national pride," "weakening economy," "increasing prices" and a failed economic stimulus package.

If those negatives are strong enough to bring down Japanese leadership, then the same should apply in America, where we have the identical concerns.

The shame is that although the U.S. has a democratic government, we haven't learned how to take full advantage of it.

Joe Guzzardi recently changed his party affiliation from Democrat to Independent. He is still looking for a presidential candidate worthy of his vote. Contact him at guzzjoe@yahoo.com.

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