Can’t Buy Me Love…(but maybe my vote for $5.8 Billion)

by Debra Chappell

View from the Front Porch:

Mood Reading: ZZZZ’s  (sleeping well in the quiet following election hysteria)

So… did you ever think there would come a day when we actually welcomed the return of erectile dysfunction ads and a nerdy guy hawking roll-over mobile minutes into our prime time living rooms?   That day arrived this past Wednesday, a day after the most expensive presidential election in history, and none too soon I say!  Between the barrage of nasty, high volumned political ads, robo-calls, door knockers, mail propaganda, and pollsters calling at all hours of the day and night, it’s a wonder anyone with half an already decided brain didn’t go stark raving crazy!

According to reports, a record 5.8 Billion dollars (that’s Billion with a capital B) was spent on this election, where ironically the most hotly debated topics in the respective campaigns were national debt, fiscal responsibility and “out of control” spending.  If it’s true that the most effective form of leadership is that which is by example,  I’m not sure I’d want EITHER of these guys handling my 401 K.

And the entry into the fray by the now legal Super-Pacs pouring obscene amounts of cash into negative television advertising not only did NOTHING to facilitate the whole sordid process, but according to the folks who track these things for sport, had absolutely NO significant bearing on the outcome either.  One has to look no further than that grand electoral prize of them all – Ohio – to be genuinely disgusted by the sheer waste of it all.  And though the Obama campaign invested significant resources there in terms of advertising and a rigorous ground game, nothing came even close to the onslought of airway jamming by Karl Rove and company, otherwise known as American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS.  Combined they poured close to 27 Million dollars (that’s TWENTY SEVEN MILLION) into negative television advertising in that state alone, only to watch the entire investment evaporate into that pesky, non-existent (their word) ozone layer when Obama danced off with all 18 electoral votes relatively early in the evening, nabbing the presidency in the process.  No wonder Karl was sputtering in disbelief on Fox News election night.  He’d just spent a cool million and a half per electoral vote, and what was HIS return on investment?  Not even one puny ounce of a trickle down of anything to be had!

Does any of this make any common or fiscal sense to anyone?  Our election season goes on for about 2 years from start to finish.  And in all that time, countless candidate forums are held, debates are aired, nightly coverage and analysis is spewed ad-nauseum for the entire duration.  And for most of us civic minded, half way intelligent, even  showing a passing interest folks, this is quite enough. We’ve made up our minds long before election day or even early voting has started. But it’s those damned, unaware, uninterested, I-don’t-like-politics, don’t-have-time still undecided voters who must have been living under a rock most of that time, that are holding the rest of us hostage. While we’ve been diligently following the news, watching debates, chatting it over with our neighbors, or even giving the internet headlines the briefest of glances, these last minute, procrastinating and all-powerful vote casters are carrying on in their daily lives oblivious to the political hysteria around them, apparently in an idyllic little sound proof bubble of their own making.  Then on election day, they might finally pull out their sample ballot for the first time, do a quick eeny-meenie-miny-moe and happily trot off to the polls for their free cup of coffee, I voted sticker and a chocolate donut if they’re lucky!  All the while leaving the rest of us feeling like the teenager who worked for weeks on a term paper, pulled an all-nighter to turn it in on time…only to have the teacher extend the due date to those who couldn’t finish their homework!

It is this relative handful of almighty voters that national campaigns target, spend millions on, cater to, fuss over, woo, scream at, cajole and all but personally deliver in a Rolls Royce to the polls in the hopes of swaying their last-minute, sacred and often mostly uninformed measly little vote.

Well I’ve had enough and say to hell with ‘em.  If they can’t pull their heads out from wherever they’ve been for the better part of a year and a half, and make up their befuddled little minds, why should the rest of us have to endure the steady stream of non-stop lambastic and otherwise ugly political bull-oney screaming from the TV for months on end, interrupting perfectly good episodes of Jeopardy and The Bachelorette?

I say we shorten the election cycle to 6 months and 2 debates max, take the $5.8 Billion aimed at that collective, last-minute, hold-out demographic and bail out Medicare and Social Security. Then we round up this less than 1%  undecided group, lock them in a room for a week before election day with only pizza, Red Bull and a big-screen TV, and force them to watch one continuous loop featuring 6 months worth of MSNBC and Fox News re-runs before jamming all 72 of them into a used mini-van on election day to deliver their lethargic butts to the polls so they can perform their civic duty.

Then perhaps the rest of us can conduct our regularly scheduled lives through the election season in a kinder, gentler, and more truthfully informed manner…and enjoy what’s left of the Dancing With The Stars All-Star Season.

 

** Spending costs reflected above were compiled from the following publication:

http://www.nationaljournal.com/hotline/ad-spending-in-presidential-battleground-states-20120620