Thursday, 26 December 2013 00:00
The recently concluded election campaigns all had something in common — political signs and advertising that promoted name recognition over substance or the actual records of candidates. The public knows and learns little about them. They vote blindfolded, with their feet. Slogans over substance prevail.
This is really no different than the national disgrace in 2012 where the Presidential campaign cost over one billion dollars and Senate candidates spent over 25 million dollars each. Even a local House seat cost over a million dollars in campaign funding. For what?
In 1968 Joe McGinnis wrote a book entitled: The Selling Of The President. It was the story of how Richard Nixon was marketed like a package of cigarettes and the enormous amounts of money from lobbyists and slush funds used to gain his election. But it also told us how an unattractive candidate can be sold to an unknowing electorate.
The debacles in government should have given Americans great pause during the last election – indeed the meshing of governance and politics should have caused a revolution inside of the polling places. A shut down of the government for over two weeks; failed
immigration policies; filibusters against nominees; the derailment of Obamacare coupled with the high cost of campaigns should cause all Americans to revolt against a government that is dysfunctional. Elected officials work for themselves rather than their constituencies. That is obvious from what they do to self promote and pay themselves even during a government shutdown when civil servants are not being paid.
Obama is not the enemy. Everyone in government is when they accept campaign contributions from public and private interest groups, lobbyists and unions. Campaign contributions and endorsements should be outlawed except for public financing which should be limited to substantive issues rather than advertising. Candidates should run on the basis of their records not on the basis of false advertising that promotes name recognition alone. The media will have to do its job and in reporting the news turn down the billions that they receive in advertising. Editorial endorsements create an appearance of impropriety when candidates buy advertising from the same media outlets.
Those who promote politics and government as usual should be taken out of office. We should have recall elections for the candidacies of those who narcissistically campaign purely for self-aggrandizement and not on the issues. We need people in government to provide real solutions not merely to highlight the problems or to speak in vague terms about them. It’s not about rhetoric. It is about substance. The best ideas should win, not the best advertising.
Thomas F. Liotti
Westbury Village Justice