The Presidential Action Figures
May 18, 2007

Normally I stay far away from the presidential debates. On top of being incredibly boring, the debates on either side of the political spectrum are a bit too reminiscent of a high school homecoming queen competition. They are certainly just as glossy if not even more catty. As I watched the GOP candidates mildly duke it out this past Tuesday evening, I fully expected to see various sets of cheerleaders popping out in between questions. Team Romney's cheerleaders would be wearing "temple ready" uniforms, of course, but they'd be peppy nonetheless.

We certainly are in interesting times. When Woodrow Wilson was elected president in 1913, he didn't have to participate in presidential debates on television nor did he have to worry about his word flubs or neck fat appearing on YouTube the next day. Moreover, many have speculated that if the American public had known Wilson suffered such severely debilitating consequences from his stroke, they may not have elected him at all. I'm no scholar on presidential history so I can't comment on whether or not this was good or bad in the case of Wilson, but I would speculate that such a situation probably wouldn't have been good for someone like say...Bill Clinton. Though the meaning of "good" here is entirely relative; no television persona and platform on which to be "outed" in front of millions of viewers = great for Clinton, however terribly bad for the American people.

With the advent of Web 2.0, every statement, every word, and every misplaced hair is irrevocable. Not only is it irrevocable, if you're a public figure, it's cached, uploaded, downloaded, edited, spliced, and played on repeat from now until all of eternity so you had darn well better get that sentence out correctly the first time. So what do we get when these are the times in which we live? Presidential Action Figures. But not just any action figures. These ones have perfect white teeth, shellacked hair and various strings you can pull to hear a selected catch phrase or opinion on pet "political" issues. In the case of this week's Republican debate, the phrase heard when pulling said string always included the phrase "I am more conservative than you."

I didn't watch the first Democratic debate so I can't make a fair comparison, but given the fact that Hillary Rodham Rodham Rodham Rodham Clinton was present, I suspect the same party-toting banter was carried on - except in Hilary's case, she wasn't an action figure but more like a blow up doll. Or better yet -- a large balloon on a parade float, displayed for all to see and not very useful for much of anything. And while I'm in free-form writing, beginning sentences with conjunctions and whatnot, can I just go on record and say that America as whole (or even a half) is so not going to elect a woman as president? Ain't. Gonna. Happen. So by all means, please give Hillary the nomination so all the other nations can laugh at us.

With the parade float in the mix, as well as Senator Obama (whose racial credibility is going to flip flop almost as much as Hillary's maiden name), this promises to be quite an interesting year. Can't say I'm looking forward to seeing Presidential Myspace pages and all, but I am quite curious to see how this all pans out.

Until then, I'm not holding my breath on any one candidate. There are far more important and interesting things going on in the world and I am certain the formaldehyde will preserve the candidates until we get closer to the election next year.

Posted by Ambra at May 18, 2007 1:32 AM in Politics
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It's so great to have you powered up again. So many of us need your point of view,intellect, candor, sense of humor, and pinpoint accuracy.
Congrats on being married, and (sorry if this is too early to think about) we need parents like you, so when that time comes, it'll be another great thing. In the meantime, continue to puncture pomposity, and keep looking at the world through your wonderfully gifted set of eyes. You can't believe how great I feel seeing you back at it. I wish you and yours eternal happiness. God Bless

Ambra, I have been voting in presidential elections since before you were born. While others may disagree, I think that this is the most frightening set of candidates I have ever seen.

One major party is corrupt, devoid of ideas, and was just tossed from power. The other major party is also corrupt, devoid of ideas, and has gone insane to boot. Talk about the evils of two lessers!

Still, watching the candidates from both major parties (and so-called independents like Bloomberg and Hagel) I am reminded of democracy's greatest virtue - namely, only one of them can possibly win.

My comments are always denied. You got the spam filter on overcharge?

Flat out denied or just put into moderation? Email me your comment and I'll try to pinpoint what's causing it. Wierd.

You right, all these dudes is kinda scary. There's only one candidate to
feel comfortable with so mark your ballot for John Edwards. NC forever.

I suspect that the Net is now merely the cache that will be used on the Last Day for that whole "This Was Your Life" action.

It amuses me.

(BTW, thanks for the email. Glad to see you up-and-running!)

The presidential election is not the only race that gives evidence politics in the United States is on its last legs. Pick any election and you will get the same.

Thank you for your time.

Ambra--I didn't quite understand what you meant by "so all the other nations can laugh at us."?

America would vote for a woman, just not Hillary. I suspect we would vote for a Margaret Thatcher type, but I don't see one on the horizon. Thatcher's ascent and tenure are instructive, however, for anyone other than the white males who have occupied the White House. Her candidacy and governance was not about being a woman (black, hispanic, gay, etc.).

Hey David...and others,

So here's my thinking...in my travels, studies, and observations, I've noticed that many countries in the world have very male-dominated societies. One could argue that America is among them, but compared to a lot of Middle Eastern countries in particular, America is very liberal (meant literally, not politically) in the roles we allow women to play in society.

I seriously fear that if America were to elect a female president (which they won't), other countries would consider our leadership to be weak, and especially our enemies. I have a very hard time seeing Hillary Clinton being accepted among some of the heads of state.

That said, if America were to elect a female president, I think she'd have to be more right leaning because even the staunchest Republican who doesn't like Bush sure as heck isn't going to vote for Hillary.

Republicans have been on the wrong side of every issue of concern to ordinary Americans; Social Security, the war in Vietnam, equal rights, civil liberties, church- state separation, consumer issues, public education, reproductive freedom, national health care, labor issues, gun policy, campaign-finance reform, the environment
and tax fairness. No political party could remain so consistently wrong by accident.
The only rational conclusion is that, despite their cynical "family values" propaganda, the Republican Party is a criminal conspiracy to betray the interests of the American people
in favor of plutocratic and corporate interests, and absolutist religious groups.

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Aw man, you missed your chance!
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Why I'm Not a Republican Parts I, II, III, IV
Reflections on the Ill-Read Society
The ROI of a Kid
The Double-Minded Haters
Hindsight
Hip-Hop in Education: Do You Wanna Revolution?
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Requisite Monthly Rant: the State of the Nation
College Curriculum Gone Wild
Walmart Chronicles
An Open Letter to American Idol
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