Friday, 02 March 2012 00:00
Without regard to one political party you may support, I cannot help but express concern about the grueling presidential campaign we are now witnessing. If you think about it, the current campaign really started soon after the election of President Obama in 2008.
Then, the campaigns really took off after the 2010 Congressional elections. The media jumped in and most of the news coverage was about the Republican primaries. If you figure the amount of time each candidate for president spends on the road, it is absolutely astounding. My estimates are that over a two-year period, each candidate who stays in the race has to drive and fly over 300,000 miles!
Think about the cost to do this, and do not forget that being on the road means that staff members and spouses are with the candidates most of the time. The cost can really add up. I can remember back to 1988 when I ran against Pat Moynihan for the Senate in New York. In the short campaign period from May to November, I put over 45,000 miles on my automobile and probably flew some 25,000 miles all over New York.
Interestingly, we used a theme song for the campaign. It was Willie Nelson’s popular vocal, On the Road Again. Three lines of that song still resonate with me.
On the road again
Goin’ places I’ve never been
Seein’ things that I may never see again
Fortunately, I only had to campaign in one state. But, even in New York, it was over 500 miles from Montauk to Buffalo.
Now look back to the recent presidential campaign. Just think of the sacrifices being made by each Presidential candidate. The time away from family can never be made up. The amount of personal money spent cannot be imagined.
Several weeks ago, my column, “Too Much Too Soon” discussed the length of presidential campaigns. My concern related mostly to the length of campaigns. What compounds the length and content of today’s campaigning is the “new” media. What I am referring to is partly the Internet and partly 24/7 cable news coverage. While only an estimate, around 75 percent of the news coverage today is about the Presidential campaign or trips President Obama is making. Again, — too much too soon.
One other decision of today’s campaign is the bitter rhetoric and the personal attacks by each candidate on others in the race. People are fed up with negativity. But I feel it will only get worse once the Republicans choose a candidate for president and the 2012 election gets finally underway. Let us wait and see what the future holds. I hope it can be much calmer.