Too early for presidential politics 06-17-2011

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Column by Jim Clark

Time sure flies when you’re having fun. I didn’t realize the calendar had changed to another year so quickly.

Monday night in between innings of the Mets game, I went around the dials to get the latest news and landed on CNN. There, for everyone to see, were several Republican candidates for president.

Never mind that the election is still 17 months away. There they were, universally criticizing President Obama and emphasizing how good they were going to be as president. It was billed as a debate, but the few minutes I saw were nothing close to that.

Why are we even worrying about this campaign so far in advance? This is one reason the American people look down on politicians. As soon as they are elected, they start campaigning for the next election which may be months or years away. Heavens, there’s hardly any time left for governing.

To top it off, this was evidently in New Hampshire. Can someone tell me why we’re so enthralled with New Hampshire politics?

I have only been in New Hampshire once. When I was a kid, my parents and I used to take a trip every summer. This particular year we were going up to Canada, to make a trip  around the Gaspe Peninsula, then back across to Montreal and back home to New Jersey.

We stopped at a roadside rest to grab some food in the small part of New Hampshire that you go through heading up the east coast. When we got set to eat, we were attacked by some of the most ferocious mosquitoes I have ever seen. We couldn’t get into the car fast enough.

I’m sure there are very nice parts of New Hampshire, but my one impression wasn’t pretty. So it makes it all that much harder for me to understand why such a small state plays such a big part in electing our next president.

Frankly, I’ve always been in favor of a national primary election, where all states and territories vote, by political party, to choose the candidates for the fall election. None of this fighting to be first, such as the battle Florida was in during 2008. Just one primary, where each party chooses its candidate.

That would also mean doing away with those silly conventions, where people in funny hats dance around and yell and hit each other with campaign signs.

Rest assured, this isn’t the only early debate. One of our communities recently had a “debate” between two candidates for sheriff. Of course, it’s still a year to qualifying, and by then we might have 10 sheriff candidates. Who knows?

So here we are, in June 2011, getting ready for the 2012 election. As frustrating as it may be, I’ll stick to watching the Mets games. Let me know when the primary elections get a little closer.


Jim Clark is the editor of the South Marion Citizen. He can be reached at editor@smcitizen.com or at 352-854-3986.

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