Is This Any Way to Elect a President?

So, my husband and I settled in to watch the returns for the New Hampshire primaries.  On CNN, Wolf Blitzer and his colleagues ruminated endlessly about the turnout, the various counties in the state, the importance of the youth vote on college campuses.  They talked and talked and talked, occasionally noting what a close race it was between Clinton and Obama.

It was as if nobody could bring himself to notice that Clinton was winning, with her percentage staying fairly solid throughout the evening.  It’s a close race, they all agreed, looking back reluctantly at the numbers.  A close race.  Too close to count.  Communities with college campuses hadn’t weighed in yet.  Too, too close.

But it wasn’t that close — it was just too shocking to be believed.  The polls were wrong.  Clinton had won.

That’s when the ruminations really began.  Had Hillary’s tears captured the women’s vote?  Had Obama gotten too cocky?  Had voters misrepresented themselves, saying they were voting for an African-American, but failing to follow through?  Didn’t Iowa mean anything?  Was Bill ruining Hillary’s long-term chances?

Sheesh.  All this jawboning, agonizing and recrminations for a measly 24 delegates.  A year from now, will anybody but the biggest political wonks even remember who won in New Hampshire?

My only comment is that Clinton didn’t cry at what is now being referred to as an “iconic” moment.  (Everything and everyone are icons these days.  Just like every cranky woman, talented or noteworthy or none of the above, is a “diva.”)  She merely showed herself to be reassuringly human in an overly scripted and controlled candidacy.  Just as she did a couple of months ago when she talked about how she was familiar with dealing with difficult men.  (Please see:

In the meantime, I’m sick and tired of all the political parsing that will presumably go on till the end of time.  Enough for the moment.

I would say I’m going off to read Jane Austen or someone else timeless and deep.  But, really, I’m thinking about poor Britney Spears.  In her trainwreck of a life, can she have glimpsed anything more frightening and ominous than that phony, pompous, self-righteous simpleton Dr. Phil showing up at her bedside to “help”?

Here’s a young woman who’s desperately and tragically out of control.  Besides getting serious help, support and ironclad resolutions to turn her life around, she needs something more.  If Dr. Phil is hanging around, I’d recommend she start wearing garlic.

(Copyright 2008 by Ruth Pennebaker)

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