Friday, June 08, 2007

Ron Paul, Mike Gravel And The Great Equalizer

Let me preface this by saying, neither are my candidate. I haven't selected a favorite yet, but these two are not my cup of tea.

That being said, there is something fundamentally dishonest about the dialogue the media is having about their inclusion into the debates. There are less than 20 candidates for president in the main two parties almost 18 months away from election day. The voters aren't "suffering" for having them be included. In fact, the debates are the great equalizer. Those candidates who have corporate cash are able to get their message across to the viewers through ads, continually getting invited onto talk shows. The lesser known candidates have just one real chance to speak directly to the American people. This is the debate format.

Picking winners and losers at this point is like playing the lotto. At one point in the run-up to 1976, Governor Carter of Georgia was at 3% in the polls. In today's climate, many suggest that including him would be a waste of the other candidates time.

We jus't don't know. A dramatic event could shift the public mood to a position held by a "fringe" candidate. There is also a certain catch-22 factor involved. A candidate polls low so we won't cover or interview him, which could increase his/her standings. Look! A new poll came out after we ignored this candidate and acted like the top three were winners and put them on the covers of our magazine. Therefore, we can't cover them. Lather, rinse, repeat.

The media should get out of the electability game as it is. Their track record is pretty poor. If they had their druthers, Washington, Jefferson, FDR, Kennedy, and Clinton would be unelectable because of adultery, but family men Richard Nixon and George W. Bush would have the right stuff.

The debates are realistically, their only chance. Taking that away from the Ron Paul's and Mike Gravel's is well undemocratic. It is not the media's job to pick our candidates for us. Seriously. When did this happen, and why did we allow it to occur?