All Of The Above Equals None Of The Above

Here’s an itch that I’ve been wanting to scratch so I guess that I’ll just let it hang out. I probably looked forward to the Hillary Clinton presidential candidacy since some time just after the end of the 2000 election. Watching her perform on the campaign trail (and by “her” I include, but do not overweight Bill), however, has done very little other than lessen my enthusiasm for her as a candidate. And that’s a relative thing, because as I watch the campaign unfold on the other side my enthusiasm for any of the Democrats has grown by leaps and bounds in comparison to all of the astoundingly bad alternative choices presented by the Republicans.

One factor which influences my analysis, and which I seem to see applied by no one else, is the reality that the current state of our political system influences the performance in office of the individual far more than the individual can ever hope to influence the performance of the political system. Or, put another way, no matter how sincerely the mantra of “change” is chanted, even the most talented and committed proponent thereof will find that almost the only changing that happens during the time in office is that the President is dramatically changed for the worse by the system and the system undergoes little or no modification in ways that redound to the widespread betterment and benefit of the vast majority of the people.

Realizing that the forces at work are extreme and pervasive, I evaluate candidates based on what I perceive their ability to overcome this corrupt and corrupting system to be. Sadly, mere mortals always rate badly in this scoring, and all of the candidates in my adult life have clearly been mere mortals. This is a test that, for me, Clinton, Gore, Kerry, Edwards, Clinton, and Obama have all failed. Ever it has been in my view, and ever it will be unless and until We The People muster the political will to form a Convention for the purpose of rationally and intentionally designing a system of government that quite clearly reflects, and responds to the distinct set of forces at work in the modern world.

First and foremost, and this is nothing that is in The Constitution but is clearly cast in stone nonetheless, is the fact that our country is “led” by either of only two political parties. In a country as huge and hugely diverse as ours we should have two or three handfuls (at a minimum) of parties all successfully (to one degree or another) competing for membership and an active role in government. Decisions should be made on all important matters by majorities of shifting alliances, instead of only on the basis of the nuanceless application of conservativism or liberalism. Further, when this array of interests finally becomes so corrupted that it is no longer able to render purely reasoned and representative decisions, as it inevitably will, a mechanism needs to exist for the voters to express a sufficient degree of dissatisfaction that will trigger a large scale reshuffling of the deck.

Currently we have the power of incumbency, the power of political connections, the power of the purse strings, and the power of raw power. Clearly, and as proof that the current system is irrevocably broken, none of these controlling powers reside in the hands of the body of the population, and the population is powerless to alter this prevailing power structure in any means other than by using the acceptable parts of our current government as a foundation upon which to construct a properly designed and functioning new one. As things stand today, however, we can only ride along with one set of poorly functioning “leaders” until we tire of them and put a new set of bums in their place.

You think that this is not the rut that we are stuck in? Ask yourself who you know that clearly left public office a better person than they started out as, and who clearly left The Office as a far better place than they found it.

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4 Responses to All Of The Above Equals None Of The Above

  1. Ginny in CO says:


    This is exactly my problem with the current rhetoric. Since spring of ’04 I’ve been on a quest for understanding who wags the country and why. I’ve understood for a long time that the candidates can say what they want to accomplish, the voters can vote for them and the goals are never realized.

    This was really the point of Hillary’s comment about LBJ and MLK. And the point of Obama’s “Yes we can” slogan. WE THE PEOPLE must stay involved after the elections. Or the lobbyists and campaign contributors get to write the legislation.

    The reading I’ve done, with plenty of documentation, research and declassified material to support it, indicates the powers that really influence a lot of DC, especially and including the Oval Office, are stronger and less visible than the lobbyists. Hillary knows this bettter than any of them. What bothers me is that she seems to be running on the idea that she can and will change that, without indicating how far she will go.

    Hillary is especially vulnerable when it comes to the millitary. There is no way we can get out of our economic and diplomatic problems without cutting our millitary budget and overseas missions significantly. Hillary already goes overboard to show she is as tough as the guys and willing to use our millitary too soon. Obama has also made comments to this effect, especially about Pakistan.

    When I first read your comments about another Constitutional Convention, it brought back memories of an American Government assignment in high school. Rewrite the Constitution. It was interesting what we thought should be changed – and the arguements about what it should be changed to. I was a little skeptical about whether it was a valid idea. Now I think it is going to be very important. This time maybe we should mandate the convention every 100 years…

  2. Ginny

    One of the things that I have been impressed with about HRC is that she does seem to have very good outlines on what she wants to do, much as JK did in ’04. Of course once we move into the GE, her platform will change some too, if she is the nominee, as it did in ’04, to encompass the “party” platform. Likewise so too would Obama’s or Edwards’.

  3. Darrell Prows says:

    Take the recent energy bill as an example. We can have improved fuel economy only too far in the future and much of what is truly critical was left out. The people are clear on this (as with Iraq, etc.), but majority support is simply not enough any more.

    I contrast this with the Nixon period. While he was in good standing, we got no more than crumbs, but as soon as he fell the flood gates opened and almost the entire popular agenda was passed. The powers that be seem to have learned from this, because now we’re not allowed to have Impeachment even on the table.

  4. green bean says:

    Everybody is talking about ‘Change’ and nobody talks about ‘Fix’. Why change the broken system when it can be fixed? Fixing it needs to know how. Change on the other hand, emphasizes a movement without definite commitment. Every single individual makes changes every single day. Change for better, change for worse. Lack of a solid concrete foundation, ‘Changes’ rely heavily on others behind those changes to be.
    If I may, with your permission, I would like to speak truth to power politely, quietly and freely. No slick talk crap, promise.
    Idealism is noble and inspiring if it does not mutate into full grown force of repulsion. Rally to repel or rally for support, messages of ‘Change’ coming from intimidation are not justifiable. War and peace where responsibility outweighs personal preference, IWR may or may not be a judgment flaw based on the intelligence given at the time. But it certainly was set up in such a way that the president can lay blame on anyone but himself.
    A great debater debates well. But a great communicator gets the attention of the common folks, rallies people behind common causes, and advances them forward as a result. The urgency of some immediate issues has always been ignored, biasedly overlooked, and purposely put on back burner. Change is an energy, not a substance. Energy is hope, substance is faith. MLK’s “I have a dream”. So true, dreams and hope are what keep us going, working, trying, and fighting. ‘Inconvenient Truth’ stirs up a movement not just in U.S. but around the world; and has done so with all its integrity and merit intact. Authenticity loses its virginity when it plays tricks to people’s heads. Only voters can tell you if their votes are race based or not. Seeing no race is the first step towards seeing beyond race.
    “If it is right, keep it right. If it is wrong, make it right.” So one may think that when it is right, say it’s right, and when it is wrong, say it’s wrong. Little is true though, if a politican (a certain Senator) can spin it around and _ _ _ s _ _ s. Other candidates may have been notified first before the actual endorsement was made. But over-stated and over-enthusiastic of a candidate’s credentials are nevertheless undiplomatic. It alienates supporters of other candidates and many who do not see it the same way.
    Whoever will be the next president of the United States of America, Democrat or Republican, is going to be on a new page of the same book. Economy, Industry, Energy, Defense, Healthcare, Environment, Foreign Relations, Housing Market, Terorism, Education, all are in line for solid plans. It is not a choice, idealogy is not an option. The next president must deliver.
    Media are doing hot and cold journalism on screen, but the background remains unchanged. There are physical wars like Iraq and Afghanistan. There are smart wars of global marketing for technology, innovation and consumer demands. There are intelligence wars competing for territories and influences.
    Fame, money, power and ambition can, have, and will change a person. Swift-boat is very much live and well, and very active. It has taken a shape shift.
    “All of the above equals to none of the above”.