Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Issues Smissues... They Really Don't Matter

I love how bloggers and regular folk across the political spectrum play the same old game in order to discredit their political enemies, politics in general, or to make themselves seem so very noble. I wanted to come up with a catchy name for this game, but I'm not feelin' it. Let's just call it, Wishing for the Issues.

Here is how it is played:

You've seen it played when they complain about attack ads, shaking their heads and mumbling, "I just wish they would focus on the issues."

You've heard it played when their candidate is caught in a big lie, shrugging, "Well, I wish everybody would just focus on the issues."

You've witnessed it when they can't think of any good comeback while talking politics and they declare, "Well, what really matters is the issues and I just wish we could get back to them."

On and on the game goes. It is played just as well by Democrats as it is by Republicans. It is the game that is played when there is nothing left to say and one wants to be seen as "above" the larger game of politics. Politics is an ugly, dirty business, so in order to feel cleansed, people like to play the game. It makes them feel better.

But it is a lie. The game is a false front, empty words spoken when all else fails to ensure a soft escape from the unpleasantness of politics. Most people don't intentionally lie, in fact, they probably have no idea that by playing the game they are deceiving themselves as well as the ones they use it on.

If you really think about it, nobody cares about the issues. Like, what, Joe Conservative is going to change his mind about Bush if the Kerry folks would just talk about the issues? Are gung-ho Bush-hating bloggers going to consider voting Republican if somebody just breaks down and talks about policy? Will there be peace and understanding in Whoville? Heck no!

Except for the possibly non-existent "undecided" voter, everybody has made up their minds and an old-fashioned issues revival is nothing but a delusional exercise that has no chance of changing anything. Whether talking about issues or slinging mud in commercials, politicians and their handlers always do the same thing: lie to make themselves look good.

The only truth to be found in the process is with the parties. Within pretty definable parameters, we know what the parties stand for--no talk by anybody about anything is going to change that in the short term.

So anybody who plays the Wishing for the Issues game is deluding themselves because in the end they will vote the same regardless.

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