Friday, June 22, 2012

It’s 137 more days ‘til Election Day – and I already have a headache

Whether it's Barack Obama with Betty White, or ...

Serious campaigning for the presidential election shouldn’t really begin until around Labor Day. We’re not ready yet for the level of nonsense to be spiked up.

Yet that’s exactly what we’re getting these days.

WE’RE GOING TO be hit with a barrage of political trash talk and trivial and trite observations meant to give us the impression of great significance. I suspect I’m going to become addicted to some sort of pain killer by the time Nov. 7 comes around, and it’s all over.

Although I have to admit to getting my chuckle on Thursday from an e-mail message I received in the name of first lady Michelle Obama (not that I’m deluded enough to think that Michelle herself was pecking away at a computer keyboard, typing out my e-mail address just so she could send me a personal message).

It was another in a series of messages the Obama campaign has been using, offering up “personal time” to ordinary schnooks like myself, in some cases  a chance to have dinner with Obama.

The big one a few weeks ago offered a chance for a nobody to attend an Obama event with actor Sarah Jessica Parker (whom many people will always associate with “Sex & the City,” but whom I will remember for her early ‘80s role in Square Pegs).

NOW, THERE’S ANOTHER one, and it seems that we’re being given the chance (if only we make a large enough campaign donation) to have a “casual dinner” with Michelle Obama and her husband.

I don’t feel the need to write out a check just for that perk.

... Mitt Romney trying to appeal to NASCAR fans, all campaign activity can become headache-inducing. Photographs provided respectively by White House and Romney for President.

But what amused me was the Obama appeal, as she recalled the early days of her marriage to Barack Obama, when the two were political nobodies (actually, she was sort of on the fringe of the Daley administration, although he was a nobody).

Telling us of that early married life in Chicago, she wrote, “the winters there can be pretty harsh, but no matter now snowy or icy it got, Barack would head out into the cold, shovel in hand, to dig my car out before I went to work.”

AS SHE PUTS it, “he’s always looked out for me. Now, I see that same commitment every day to you and to this country.”

In my mind, I can hear comedian Dana Carvey’s “Church Lady” character. “Isn’t that special?,” she’d snap, usually just before proclaiming that someone or something was under the influence of Satan!

But what really amuses me is that as I write this, I am desperately trying to cool off. I’m dripping in sweat. The past few days have seen some serious heat in Chicago.

Come on, Michelle! You’re the Chicago native. You know very well that at this time of year, memories of winter and heavy snow and icy temperatures are so irrelevant. We’re at the other end of the extreme.

YOU’RE MAKING YOURSELF sound like you’ve gone D.C. on us. Have you forgotten a Chicago summer already? Or were you fooled by the mild temperatures that weekend you were in town for the Jarrett wedding?

Although this moment isn’t my only headache inducer.

I couldn’t help but notice a commentary published by United Press International on Thursday about the types of people who would be working in a Romney presidential administration.

It seems some policy geeks and ideologues are already sizing up office space and making place for the posts to which they would wish to be hired – IF Obama were to lose come Nov. 6.

AS THE WIRE service reports, it seems there are dueling factions of experienced pols fighting it out with the hard-core ideologues. We could easily get former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez and career foreign service officer Eric Edelman in place, among others.

There would definitely be a lot of people who have been off the federal payroll since the days of George W. Bush as president. Which really makes it appear to be a load of people who have been biding their time the past three-and-a-half years to have a chance at a U.S. government position.

Which is interesting to me because this is exactly the attitude that the ideologues will try to make an issue of when they criticize people who work for the U.S. president in the Obama administration.

Many of them are holdovers from the days of President Bill Clinton, and the oldest even have experience from the days of Jimmy Carter (it seems that enough time has passed that we really don’t have the influence of Lyndon B. Johnson any longer).

“POLITICAL HACKS WHO can’t get a real job,” is how they’ll try to trash them. Yet it seems the GOP version of those same hacks already are getting themselves ready in anticipation for another White House gig to beef up their resumes.

Maybe it just really means there are certain people who are experienced in this kind of public policy work. And those people who want to try to trash them for this are best ignored.

Because all they do is bring on the headache. Maybe they have stock inTylenol?


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