One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.
Books to warm the political soul
So many books so little time. Here are a few books that perfectly capture the flavour and passion that American Politics engenders. I enjoyed them. I hope you do too.
- Democracy in America: Everything you need to know about how little everything has changed.
- Primary Colors: Insights into a “fictional” Democratic Primary and the treasures therein.
- Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime: Melodrama, soap opera, tele-novella. Reality, once again, trumps fiction.
- Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ‘72: Gonzo peels the flesh off the bones.
Continuing with my theme of being so far behind the curve that I don’t even realise that I’m on a curve, it was with great sadness that I learnt that Alvin Greene, hero of the South Carolina Democratic Party, is no longer running for President this year. Click on his picture to hear the sad sad news that he revealed, er, last year.
What the Republican Electorate keep saying to Mitt Romney.
Average Joe Schriner. He’s Average. He’s called Joe. He has a website and he wants your vote. He wants to be President too. Go Joe.
It all starts tomorrow, apparently…
Even though it’s actually been going on for almost a year already after the illusive break that occurred after the last election. Ouroboros
continues it’s unhappy feast. Good luck everyone!
(This is a reference to the neverending election cycle in US Presidential Politics, just in case I was being too opaque. Actually, now that I think of it, the Ourobouros does look a lot like the fluffy dragon in the movie The Neverending Story. I think that this is probably a coincidence.)
It is a delight to see that so many worthy Americans have filed Statements of Candidacy for the 2012 Presidential race. My favourite today, at number 22, is President Emperor Caesar. He should win three times over.
The Criteria for all of these fine folks?:
1. The individual has received contributions aggregating in excess of $5,000 or made expenditures aggregating in excess of $5,000
2. The individual has given consent to another person to receive contributions or make expenditures on behalf of him or herself and that person has received contributions aggregating in excess of $5,000 or made expenditures aggregating in excess of $5,000
What about those serious people who can’t raise $5,000? It seems so unfair. Call Congress. Call your Governor. Impeach something.
Observations from the past…
As I happened to be reading Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville, this Sunday morning, I came across a passage that seems to contain some resonance as regards the approaching Circus. Here I share it with you now.
For a long while before the appointed time is at hand the election becomes the most important and the all-engrossing topic of discussion. The ardor of faction is redoubled; and all the artificial passions which the imagination can create in the bosom of a happy and peaceful land are agitated and brought to light. The President, on the other hand, is absorbed by the cares of self-defence. He no longer governs for the interest of the State, but for that of his re-election; he does homage to the majority, and instead of checking its passions, as his duty commands him to do, he frequently courts its worst caprices. As the election draws near, the activity of intrigue and the agitation of the populace increase; the citizens are divided into hostile camps, each of which assumes the name of its favorite candidate; the whole nation glows with feverish excitement; the election is the daily theme of the public papers, the subject of private conversation, the end of every thought and every action , the sole interest of the present. As soon as the choice is determined, this ardor is dispelled; and as a calmer season returns, the current of the State, which had nearly broken its banks, sinks to its usual level: but who can refrain from astonishment at the causes of the storm.
Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was. etc. etc. etc.
Is it normal for the sitting President of the United States to leave an ex-President of the United States half way through a press conference to go and have dinner with his wife? That is what has just happened.
To begin at the beginning.
Even before you, as a prospective Presidential candidate, can ever hope to be adored by the fickles masses,
there are a couple of hoops you have to jump through. Let us ignore, for a moment, all the various humiliations you will have to endure during the campaign itself and focus on the starting gate. Do you want to be President? Does anyone else want you to be President?
First things first: You can do one of two things.
1. If you’re not sure you or anyone else wants you to be President then you can set up an exploratory committee. You are, as the wonderful link tells you, testing the waters. During this time you don’t need to reveal how much money you’re spending and how you’re spending it. You cease to be testing the waters when you find yourself doing, among other things, one of the following:
- making statements that refer to yourself as a candidate
- using advertising to publicize your intention to campaign
- taking action to qualify for the ballot.
2. Now, if you find that testing the waters has yielded a bite or if you were already confident enough in your potential to be the President of the United States then you make a formal announcement and then apply to the Federal Elections Commission
This body of fine people, as they say on their website was set up…
In 1975, Congress created the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to administer and enforce the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) - the statute that governs the financing of federal elections. The duties of the FEC, which is an independent regulatory agency, are to disclose campaign finance information, to enforce the provisions of the law such as the limits and prohibitions on contributions, and to oversee the public funding of Presidential elections.
So that’s what it does. It makes sure that everything goes smoothly and by their book as regards the Presidential Race.
It’s critics know it by another name. The Toothless Anaconda. I say critics - it has two critics and this is their report:
I don’t know what their agenda is. I’m guess it’s an anti-FEC agenda. Regardless of that the fact is - if you want to be President of the USA you need to register with the FEC. Also, I am sure that this relatively new body has more than two critics. I have made no effort to find any as that was not the purpose of this posting.
I think that next time there will be a brief overview of the declared candidates so far.