Some Universal Truths About Elections
By: Rachel Marsden
As Ontario voters are sobering up and taking a good look at what they'll be
waking up with every day for the next four years, some may be experiencing that
queasy feeling that unites people in democracies around the world right after a
vote. Here are a few universal truths about elections that are worth
Voters are responsible for the shallowness and general boringness of the candidate pool. As the election approaches, voters usually start asking themselves, "Why are all these guys losers?" People with savvy and experience often get weeded out because they have skeletons in their closets. Apparently, voters seek the same background in their candidates for political office as they do with the Pope -- or in the case of leftists, Al Gore, the head of their Church of Environmentalism.
As actor George Clooney once put it: "If elected, I don't think I could serve. I've been to too many parties, and I don't just mean Democrat and Republican."
True colours always bleed through the smoke and mirrors of a campaign. Voters just have to watch for the signs. Take U.S. presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, who has one of the most liberal records in the Senate. When pitted against fellow candidate, Barack Hussein Obama, a favourite guest on Oprah's and Tyra's couches, the contrast makes Clinton look almost Thatcherite.
But then she started toying with the idea of giving $5,000 to every child born in the U.S. -- dropping the mask to reveal the true tax-and-spend socialist before quickly backpedalling on the idea.
Some signs are much less subtle, particularly in countries where the art of political spin remains unmastered. In the 2004 Ukranian presidential election, just in case people were confused as to who was the anti-socialist, anti-Russian candidate, his opponents pointed it out to the public by virtue of a special "anti-communist dioxin facial" -- a favourite at the Kremlin spa -- forcibly administered to candidate (now president) Viktor Yushchenko.
And in this year's French presidential elections, the Socialist Party candidate, Segolene Royal, answered a debate question about France adapting to the modern world by focusing on a couple of female police officers getting raped. Contrasted with her opponent tackling the issue of national debt, it should have left little doubt as to whom to pick if you were seeking a pandering, do-nothing leftist.
Politicians will push the funny beyond what's natural, and some idiots will swoon. This is where things have really changed since the days of Winston Churchill. It's one thing for candidates to let their personality shine through naturally, but quite another to start behaving like they're gunning for a spot on Last Comic Standing, as Hillary Clinton seems to be doing with the contrived viral videos her campaign is churning out.
Politics naturally lends itself to "funny." Take, for example, the terrorism-sponsoring state of Iran recently passing a parliamentary resolution to declare the CIA and U.S. military terrorist organizations. You don't need the comedic skills of Robin Williams to come up with a witty response to that.
Many of us have seen Clinton's GOP opponent, Rudy Giuliani, dressed in drag, canoodling with Donald Trump -- but he's keeping it all inside during the campaign, even though he could really put some hurt on Hillary in an evening gown contest.
Never trust a politician in rotating ethnic headgear. I call this the "Clark Kent Effect": We can still see you, and you haven't changed ethnicity. You're just the same desperate fool, trawling for ethnic votes.
PUBLISHED: TORONTO SUN (October 15/07)
COPYRIGHT 2007 RACHEL MARSDEN