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It's Not the Issues, Stupid

An Equal Opportunity Rant

by Everett Wilson
October 15, 2008

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It's Not the Issues, Stupid
Do other old guys remember the days when the Big Lie (or at least the Big Delusion) during a presidential campaign was "I vote for the man, not the party"?

In my recollection it was dominant until Reagan's election. I haven't heard it much recently. It seems to have been replaced by, "I want the Candidates to Talk About the Issues."  

This is my twelfth presidential race since I qualified as a voter, which means that my memory is probably undependable; but I don't remember any of those races being decided by issues—partisanship, prejudice, fear, ad hominem argument, big bucks, and deceit, but not issues—unless avoidance of issues counts as an issue. This race will be no different. Whoever is elected, the issues won't be the reason. 

I am not missing the issues because I haven't believed in their relevance for years.  Neither has most of us. As a general rule, voters don't want issues; they want justification for what they are already thinking. The campaigns don't want issues; they want talking points, so that the candidate can Stay on Message and bore us witless. Nothing is as High Church as a candidate Staying on Message; he doesn't dare to miss a syllable of his litany or he'll be thrown off his rhythm.    

My theory is that talking points were invented to keep candidates from saying anything for which they may be held accountable. Campaigns are afraid of the Media, who prefer Stupid to Significant when quoting candidates. To escape Stupid, campaign managers settle for Inane. I suspect they pay big money to Inanity Experts. "Inanity Expert" is not a real title, because it is too precise a definition. Modern politics does not like precise definitions.    

I will grant that campaigns need a safe issue or two to vent about. A safe issue is one that arouses high indignation without evoking change. Abortion has been a safe issue for decades, a reliable hot- button issue generating heat but not light. Republican appointees have had the majority on the Supreme Court for decades, and they have controlled the White House for thirty-six of the last fifty-six years. They are not going to do anything about Roe v. Wade, because if they were going to they would have. It is handy to yap about, though.

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Elm from USA writes:
October 19, 2008
Good article! Roe vs Wade seems to go against conservatives grain but as you said the Repers have done nothing to change it. So what is real?

The child's book entitled, "The Velveteen Rabbit" is about stuffed toys talking in the nursery to find out what is real. It was an enormous big hit and is a lovely lovely must read for all children and adults.

What is not real: John McCain's pro-life stance is a rouse. McCain's stance is pro-war. Doublespeak! Can't have it both ways! The unjust and unjustifiable war in Iraq costing over $10 billion a month and loss of thousands of Iraqi and American lives was aided and abetted by the Bush Administration with support from his loyal faith-based electors. Goes for John McCain also. If you mix church and state (going against our constitution) and cast a vote just cause someone "claims" to share your faith-based ideology, you got stupid written all over your forehead and chance is you will end up with egg on your face. In retrospect, have already. Support of killing is contrary to the primal expressed message of faith-based foundations.

Faith-based action should honor all of life not just the life of an unborn fetus. Support of Bush or John McCain -- is a direct faith-based contradiction. Proof of thinking otherwise.

No denying our country went to hell in a handbasket. In any election, "what you sow, you reap." That's a reality to wakeup to!

Justin Weeces from Ames, IA writes:
October 28, 2008
"cast a vote just cause someone "claims" to share your faith-based ideology, you got stupid written all over your forehead" - Quite right!

However, do not exacerbate the comparison of value of life. Killing an unborn baby that was certainly not out to harm the killer is murder. Killing an armed militant person who would willfully kill you before you kill him is NOT the same.

Innocent casualties of war, however unfortunate, have always existed. Our current wars involve a small percentage compared to wars of the past. Count the innocents murdered in WWII, even Viet Nam.

An argument can be made as to whether the war in Iraq is a "just" war, but there can be no denying that, given the chance, they would kill us regardless of innocence or social standing. That is why they flew planes into our buildings full of civilians and gassed people to death who happended to live on land they wanted.

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