Friday, February 22, 2008

Profiles in Discourage

It's the best of times. It's the worst of times.
It's my most favorite of times. It's my least favorite of times.

The times to which I refer of course, are those times that find the American people trying to elect either the best of or the worst of candidates! There is no middle ground here, it'll be either the high ground or the low ground. Once that man (or woman) is sworn in as our next President, what you see now is NOT what you're going to get.

A Brief History Lesson

I don't know if anyone keeps such statistics, but it would be very interesting to know how many voters who voted for George W. Bush, now deny that they did. Ironically, if the votes of those same people were cast the other way in the 2000 election, the results would have probably been unaffected. As it was, Al Gore won the popular vote by nearly 540,000 votes, but Bush was elected President by virtue of only five (5) more electoral college votes.

Al Gore was not the only Presidential candidate to win the popular vote but lose the election to the electoral college. As recently as 1960, Richard M. Nixon lost the Presidency to John F. Kennedy, despite having garnered an 18,574 advantage of the popular vote. In the elections of 1888, Grover Cleveland won the popular vote but fell to Benjamin Harrison when the electoral votes were counted. Although Rutherford B. Hayes won the 1876 Presidential bid by a single electoral vote, Samuel J. Tilden captured the popular vote. (It should be noted that electoral votes of four states were in dispute, and as such Congress gave the office to Hayes.)

I found it interesting to learn that in 1824, John Q. Adams is the only President to have lost both the popular and electoral votes and yet still became President. He was installed by the House of Representatives with a vote of 13 - 7. Although it has been accomplished many times since, in 1828, Andrew Jackson became the first to win both the popular and electoral votes. Perhaps most interesting of all the Presidential election facts I was able to dig up, was that in 1872, Ulysses S. Grant became the first, and to date, the only President to have ever won every single electoral vote.

Least Favorite Time

It's the long drawn out process, especially with the earlier than usual start this time around, that helps make it my least favorite time. I get bored with all the rhetoric. I am sickened by the campaign promises the candidates cannot possibly keep, never mind the ones they have no intention of keeping.

My grandfather once said something to me that I've never forgotten: "The man who would make the best President, cannot afford to run for the office." When I became old enough to know just what he meant, I realized how true his words were. We aren't electing men who necessarily want to make our nation better, we have been electing those who have bought themselves the publicity to get into position for one of the most powerful positions in the world.

Since it was doubled in 1999 to the current salary of $400,000 per year (and $50,000 in non-taxable expenses) none of our Presidents actually needed the money. I suppose the pension of $171,900 plus unspecified expenses and services doesn't hurt though.

Why don't we level the playing field? Suppose that in order to be elected President of the United States, the salary of the position would have to be a salary hike for every candidate. If they make $400,000 or more, then they do not qualify as a Presidential candidate and as such cannot run. Do you think then we just might actually have some candidates who'd make good Presidents?

Most Favorite Time

Thanks to the Editorial Cartoonists and joke writers, the elections can also be my most favorite of times. Not since the Presidency of Richard Nixon can I remember the editorial cartoonists having such a rich supply of fodder. The remaining Big Three (four if you include Huckabee) inspite of themselves are already filling editorial archives across the country.

I hate to spoil your dinners, but think about this; one of these individuals is going to be the next President of the United States! Never have so many had so little to offer.
"The founders of Ben & Jerry's ice cream are endorsing Barack Obama instead of Hillary Clinton, which makes sense, because Baracky Road is a catchier name for an ice cream than Pantsuits and Cream." - Conan O'Brien
I wonder, where did McCain get that automated mannequin that was standing on stage next to him? I suspect that Hollywood is ready to cash in if McCain is elected by re-leasing in a special DVD set, "The Stepford Wives." How long will it be before Cindy's former drug habit becomes a point of contention. (After all, she stole drugs from the World Health Organization to support her habit.)

Michelle Obama is quickly making her husband realize he'd better start carrying rolls of duct tape with him while he's on the campaign trail.
"For the first time in my adult life, I'm proud of my country, because it feels like hope is making a comeback." - Michelle Obama

I'll let her take her foot out her mouth and maybe she can answer these questions? How old are you, 40-something? ...And you never had a reason (until your husband ran for President) to be proud of American? Just who were you rooting for on 9/11?

It must be awfully traumatic to be Mr. and Mrs. Obama - two struggling Ivy League graduates making a combined salary of nearly seven figures in this God-for-saken country that squashes dreams and leaves its citizens without hope and pride. (And I thought I had it tough - broken soul and all!)

Let us not forget Hillary! She already has more editorial cartoons drawn about her than the combined horsepower of NASCAR engines currently on the circuit.

Yes, throw in their husbands and it promises to be a very good time for me. I can hardly wait for the cartoonists to kick themselves into high gear. I love this time because I can bash the candidates at will - even the ones I like!



Hale McKay said...

It should be noted that the 1960 elections between Nixon and Kennedy resulted in several recounts. On a couple of the recounts, the popular vote count was awarded to Kennedy, while the remaing recounts maintained Nixon winning.

This election was the first to be extensively covered by Television.

It can only be surmised that the government officials of the time did not want the populace to know of this flaw in our election process - and as such do not openly discuss it. There have been a few attempts to eliminate the Electoral College over the years, but all have failed thus far.

Skunkfeathers said...

Excellent presidential history lesson, Professor.

I noted the Democrats were in full hue and cry to dismantle the Electoral College after '00 and '04. Had it gone the other way, they would have been praising it's utility. Hypocrites, top to bottom.

I like this parody of a famous Churchillian peroration: Never in the history of human endeavor has so much been offered to so many by so few with no credibility behind the offers.

Jack K. said...

Yeah, these are some trying times. said...

A very enjoyable post...and your grandfather was a wise man.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

I love the editorial cartoons, how they manage to emphasize one trait that most of us might not see.

Hale McKay said...


It's true the matter of the electoral college being good or bad is a matter of party perspective.

Your Churchillian parody is indeed a good one.

Hale McKay said...



Someday I'm going to have to sit down and remember some of Grandpa's sayings and commit them to this page.

Hale McKay said...


You and I see eye to eye on that. AS you know, I put editorial cartoons on my posts lots of times.

Hale McKay said...


Durn tootin.'