On the Empty

I started this blog in late August 2008 focusing primarily on politics and sports. At that time, the presidential campaigns were in full swing, and I had plenty of material to write. Forty-seven months later, I venture into a wide variety of topics, yet still enjoy politics. However, the recent U.S. presidential campaign bores me – and I can‘t see that changing.

We have two parties who control their candidates as a puppeteer controls the marionette.

We have two parties who answer to the big-dollar donors over their constituents.

We have candidates who don’t have much meaning in what they say – but they can deliver a tagline.

We have candidates who deliver speeches to achieve cheers from their faithful attendees (as if they wouldn’t) – and to raise money for their cause of rhetoric taglines.

We have candidates and surrogates who won’t say much beyond the predictable, scripted responses that probably won’t answer the question.

We have candidates whose campaign teams actively seek past sound bites by the opposition so they can deliver a message out of context in order to support their side.

We have candidates who focus on peripheral issues while avoiding engagement.

We have candidates who continually avoid facing the music in terms of making the tough decisions that require going against the grain.

We have candidates who essentially promote gridlock by proclaiming a lack of compromise based on self-serving principles.

We have popular commentators whose method of going beyond scripted taglines is by tossing firebombs of misinformation against the other side.

We have reporters who may want to ask the tough questions and dutifully push the responder to answer the question, but they also want the next interview.

Bottom Line: As partisans blindly accept whatever their side says while unquestionably objecting to anything coming from the other side, there is another segment that will decide the election. Although we are finally inside 100 days until Election Day, some are openly wondering why many independents remain undecided because there contrast between the two sides is somewhat defined.

True independents are pragmatic, and many will delay their decision until the last three weeks. Meanwhile, this population segment that will decide this election’s outcome has a difficult time shifting through all the crap in order to find an honest information, worthwhile dialogue, and potential solutions about the issues of the day. No wonder some of the independents are disgusted and bored. Then again, maybe we expect more from our leaders than they can deliver.

54 thoughts on “On the Empty

    • Spiced,
      Four years will be in late August, but it has been fun. Meanwhile, I’ve heard similar words as yours from other Aussies. :( … Meanwhile, back to the joys that the Olympics provide. :) Thanks for stopping by.

  1. Actually, I think we’ve found Mitt Romney’s true strength – overseas gaffe master. He’s pissed off the unflappable Brits, the VERY flappable Palestinians, and I haven’t heard yet whether he’s gotten the Poles to declare war …. though I’m willing to bet he’s 3 for 3. Let’s keep that boy overseas, and make sure Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert have PLENTY of material for their shows!
    I doff my chapeau to four years of humour, wisdom, and most important (in relation to politics), the patience to still want to write about these yahoos!

    • John,
      Politicians always have and likely always will be simply the gift that keeps on giving to comedians. And thank you for the chapeau doff and for your loyalty here. Many, many thanks!

  2. Not pertinent here, but going back to your science/religion posts. This Saturday, at 0pm Eastern on History International (Channel 271 on DirecTV), there will be a show discussing science and religion and the interplay of both. Just FYI. :)

      • 2 quick corrections. That time was supposed to be 10pm Eastern – I dropped the “1”. (Oops!) Second, they now call History International “H2” – guess they got tired of importing stuff.
        And is it wrong of me, sitting here watching a vintage BritRail propaganda piece touting the “new” (1960s?) electric service, that I feel sad watching the steam locos being retired? (Sigh.) “Head in the future, heart in the past” – that’s me! :D

        • John,
          Yep – I discovered that History International is now H2 … so thanks for confirming. I saw the listing, now i have to figure out if I have the channel. BTW – that’s a great slogan for you.

  3. Wonderful breakdown of the political situation, Frank.
    One thing I would add behind each “We have” is “because we let them”.

    Not you and I, not your readers, but an awful lot of people don’t look (and don’t care) beyond the sound bite.

    • Guapo,
      Thanks for the kind words. I have said many times that we (as a nation) are getting just what we deserve because we put them in office. Many complain about representatives and senators of others, but re-elect their own. As TBM says that no one is pushing the boundaries nor providing independent thought. Sometimes the best idea is in one party or the other … and sometimes in a compromise … and sometimes in a place where neither is looking. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  4. Despite your observation that this go-round is a lack lustre political performance, and it is performance, I do enjoy following your thoughts on the whole spectacle. This is one of the first election seasons where I’m more or less “ok” with constantly hearing that my vote in California won’t even count! But let me say that I’m so impressed that you’ve been publishing your observances for four years! That is really a big commitment, so I hope you will keep it up for a long time to come! Debra

    • Debra,
      Many thanks for the kind words.Meanwhile, Ohio election rules are in flux, so there truly is wonder if all votes will be counted. Crazy, sad, and all for political gain. Thanks for commenting.

  5. I was just talking last night about this campaign and how uneventful it all is. I hate that everyone is just playing their role and no one is pushing the boundaries. We need more independent thought, not just party line rhetoric.

    • TBM,
      I appreciate these two phrases: “… no one pushing the boundaries” …. and …. “We need more independent thought.” Awesome … so thanks for visiting and sharing!

  6. Wow That was so well said I must say this is one of my favorite posts. I was just complaining about this very thing yesterday, but you put it all together so well. Very well said!

    • Starla,
      Thanks for the kind words. On the flip side, well said also means how sad. Then again, I believe politics has always been fierce and complicated. However, in today’s modern age of communication and information, we notice it even more. Thanks for commenting.

  7. I was going to use the term “dumb and dumber” to describe these two less than illustrious candidates, but I think “dull and duller” might be more appropriate unless the so far lack luster campaigns burst into some kind of life in the next couple of months. (Don’t hold your breath.)
    Sadly your analysis is correct, except for the fact that the election isn’t about voting for a “leader”, it’s about voting for someone in the pocket of party dogma and as you put it, the “big dollar donors”.
    As far as I am concerned the “Four More Years” chant is all yours! Blog on!!!

    • Fasab,
      “Dogma” is such a great word to describe the political arena. The fact that each party has an elaborate organization structure in each chamber speaks volumes!

      Meanwhile, your chant cracked me up .. but made me smile. Thanks for the kind words and for sharing your thoughts here.

  8. Yes it very sad. Maybe your right with communication and information the way it is today that it is more apparent. My optimistic nature I hope that some day things can be different, but for now I’m not sure how it can change. It is very depressing.

  9. Your comments on politics cry out for independent thought – KEEP IT COMING! Meanwhile, do not despair – Once, at a particularly difficult point in his presidency, General Charles de Gaulle threw up his hands and remarked, “How can anyone govern a country with 246 varieties of cheese?”

    • Tim,
      LOL …. gotta love the cheese comment. Meanwhile, as I said, maybe I’m expecting something that is purposefully not being delivered. Thanks for the commenting and the support.

    • Val,
      I try to watch my words, thus not let emotions get the best of me … yet want to be respectful … well, at least within some sort of latitude. After all, there are those that for which I don’t have much tolerance. Thanks for the kind words and comments.

  10. I agree that this has been a very yawn-inducing campaign, as candidates to sit down in their sandbox and throw their meaningless attacks. Then again, after the last presidential campaign got people riled up for change, and then the next four years people waged war against change (this Congress has been one of the least productive in several generations), perhaps the candidates are responding to public demand to not have their boat rocked. I suppose I’ll take a yawn-campaign over a fear-campaign any day.

    • Twixt,
      Love the sandbox idea … could add throwing a tantrum while sitting there. Meanwhile, I see a bit of playing the fear card on both sides. Thanks for your commentary!

  11. Exactly right Frank.
    That must be why you provide regular posts about cartoons–interesting, informative, and truthful. I’ll take cartoons over politics any day!

  12. Politics? Boring? Surely you’re joking.
    Actually Frank, I think you’ve pretty much nailed it. In my opinion, speaking as an Independent, no one really wants the job. If the Republicans wanted the White House they would have sent a viable candidate. I don’t think they’re quite ready to take over the mess they handed to Obama 4 years ago. Just as last election they sent a candidate totally unsuited for the position and who no one really can get excited about. As for the Democrats, I’m not sure they want the job anymore either. It hasn’t exactly been a stellar 4 years for them, and in the upcoming 4 years there will be less and less they can blame on Bush. The next go-around will probably be more interesting…and maybe another Bush on the ballet. Jeb wants a turn at bat.

    • Alex,
      I like you analysis of neither side wanting the position. Besides, that seems to match the way Congress behaves. Interesting how Jeb Bush sits in the wings if Romney loses. After all, he seems to be more like his dad than his brother. Thanks for commenting!

  13. You analyze well and highly respectful ~ we’ve already gone down the road not taken with Obama and if the results are not as bright by appearance then, it is time to halt, reverse and take inventory, not sit on the fence. Whether anyone likes it or not, the fabric of morality is the monster; selfishness and power~ Thank you,

    • Bumba,
      Welcome first time commenter. Each party controls their candidates. Depending on how much revenue they bring to the party determines the degree of latitude the candidate has with the party leaders, because by crossing the line too many times, the party will pull its support and move to replace the candidate. And as we well know, upper tier party donors also impact the party leaders. Thanks for visiting and commenting … hope you return.

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