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.