countdown to the recount
countdown to the recount
This year's election campaigns will go down as one of the most sordid, self-indulgent, nasty, embarassing juvenile campaigns ever.
I'm not just talking about New York races, but the country-wide. One of the news channels last night ran a piece on this year's campaign ads. There was nothing but mud-slinging, exaggerations, outright lies and immature name calling. Sure, it's just like any other year. But there seems to have been a blatant meanness to it this year, a sharpening of the knives, not to mention the whole memorial-service-as-politcal-rally thing.
Perhaps I am just more aware of it now. I watch more news than I ever have before; probably because there are more news channels available than ever before. Certainly being a part of the blogosphere has made my awareness of campaigns in other states rise. I can just go through my blogroll and and find the ugly details of political ads and backstabbing in almost every state.
The phone calls also seem more rampant this year. Every hour the phone will ring, an over-excited recorded voice on the other end implores me to vote this way or that, to support this person's issues, to do it For The ChildrenTM, do it for the future of all mankind.
It used to be I would just get these calls from some poor campaign worker who was sitting in a stuffy office with the party's roll book, calling each person and giving them a pre-written speech about the Importance of Voting. Now it's recorded messages that you can't hang up on, and they cross all party and issue lines. I got calls from the pro-life and pro-choice people. I got calls from both Marilyn O'Grady and Carolyn McCarthy. Hell, even President George W. Bush himself called me last night, telling me to get the vote out.
We've reached new lows here in New York. People are stealing campaign lawn signs. We had one guy in court two weeks ago, a grown man accused of running through the neighborhood stealing signs supporting democrats off of private property. A few days ago, a democratic party worker was accused of doing the same things to republican signs.
And then there's Tom Galisano, a man who claims to want to "cut the fat" in spending yet has no idea how to spend his own money. In fact, he spent 1.5 million dollars to air a two minute speech on television yesterday (CNN, ABC, NBC) to announce that - two days before the election - he was still in the race. Can you imagine? A man who wants to deal with fiscal responsibility spends over one million dollars on an "unprecedented" address concerning the "future of his campaign for governor" which did nothing but say "I was running yesterday and I'm still running today. Look at me wasting my money while you poor suckers try to figure out a way to both make your car payment and eat!"
Democrat Carl McCall's campaign was hoping that Golisano would announce he was dropping his bid to become governer and throwing his weight (and his money) behind McCall. This would in effect give McCall the Independent vote. That's if the independent voters decided to actually come out and vote or would just throw in the towel like Golisano and stay home. The point is moot now, as Golisano's bizzare, ultra-rich campaign moves onward into Election Day. You would think that with all the money this man has, he could have come up with a better commercial than the one that plays out on my television every half hour or so. The ad shows him from the waist up and he is wearing a black suit and the background is black, causing him to look like a floating head. At first I thought it was an ad for a politically-themed haunted house.
Meanwhile, Pataki has a 16% lead over McCall and not one person I've spoken to in the last few days can say exactly what this election is about. The issues remain unclear; any public statements by either McCall or Pataki have been laden with rhetoric. Personally, I would prefer that a candidate, when asked how they are going to handle education or the state budget, would answer with more than a "make it better." So far, with 24 hours to go before the polls open here in New York, I still don't know what any of the candidates will do to implement the "make it better" solution.
48 hours from now, it will all be over save for the lawyers and recounts. I will be able to safely answer my phone again, I will receive 1/3 less junk mail and I will be able to turn on the television without seeing Tom Galisano's disembodied head.