Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Election Day Blog: The All-the-time Campaign

Following the 2008 U.S. presidential election, both political parties blanketed the country with candidates for the 2012, 2016 and 2020 presidential races. There were hundreds of millions of dollars to be raised, opponents to be denounced, thousands of hours of empty television to fill and mortal fears and national security threats to be created and propagated.

Alaska governor, Sarah Palin, immediately took to the campaign trail in December 2008, touring the northern states in a reindeer-drawn sleigh. Promoting a platform of smaller government, high cheekbones and equal access to guns and cosmetics for all, Sarah Palin traveled the country as "Railin' Palin." Although she didn't ultimately win the presidency four years later, she did land a lucrative contract as spokesmodel for a nation-wide chain of women's plus-size clothing stores.

On December 31st, 2008, in the Smithsonian Institute, standing before the infamous Unabomber shack -- mistakenly believing it was the log cabin in which Abraham Lincoln was born -- Hillary Clinton, dressed as Baby New Year, announced her candidacy for president in 2012. "Although I have the highest regard and utmost respect for President Obama," Clinton said, "the sad fact is he has not done for this country what he promised to do. We cannot live with four more years of broken promises."

When Senator Clinton was reminded that President-elect Obama was still twenty days away from being inaugurated into office, she labeled the reporter sexist and banned him from all Clinton campaign vehicles.

"So much for eloquence!" shouted Don Summershyne in his stump speech. "So much for the audacity of hope!" Summershyne was at the start of the 2010 Senate race -- which he launched in February 2009 -- when he claimed a goldfinch landed on the window sill of his home in rural Iowa and spoke to him the word of Gawd. "This Whamma-Bamma-Thank-You-Mamma Obama fella has not delivered on any of the grandiose promises of the past two years!"

When it was pointed out that President Obama had not yet been in office one hundred days, Summershyne barred that reporter from the Senate campaign bus, which was, at that time, being converted into a presidential campaign bus. Another reporter, riding on the candidate's temporary bridge-between-Senate-and-presidential-races-bus, asked about Summershyne's experience: "You hadn't yet been elected to the Senate, but now you've shifted gears and are running for President. With no political experience, how do you feel you can make this leap?" To which the reporter was branded an elitist and whose TV station was barred from all future Summershyne events.

The 2024 bid for the White House heated up in 2013, when Democratic nominee, Kelowna Eukele, named Israel Burcitis as his running mate. The campaign grew even more exciting in 2015, when Burcitis declared himself an independent and campaigned against Eukele. Such political backstabbing and maneuvering hadn't been seen since 2011 when Reverend Heino Rike, the eleven year old Missouri evangelical running for the 2032 presidential election, replaced his mother with his dog as his running mate.

In 2014, Clint Fayette, independent candidate for the 2020, 2024 and 2028 presidential races, formally changed his first name to "President." Soon afterward, every person entering politics -- whether it was for dogcatcher, alderman, justice of the peace, sheriff or drain commissioner -- changed their first names to "President."

Among the numerous notable political stories of 2014, was the spectacle of the 2024 Democratic nominee debating the 2028 Republican nominee at an event organized for the 2016 nominees. Although a rigorous and spirited dialogue ensued, three days had passed before anyone realized the wrong candidates had debated. President Shawn Nepal, 2016 Democratic nominee had been off conducting a townhall meeting in a high school gymnasium in Fontainbleu, Montana, and President Conrad Guilfoyle, the 2016 Republican nominee spent that evening presiding over a gymnasium meeting in the townhall of Brittlebrook, North Carolina. Both candidates declared their events "a roaring success."

The 2016 presidential election was overshadowed by breaking news that Lout and LeRoy Palin-Johnston -- siamese twins born to Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston -- had thrown their hats (or, rather, single large hat, as they were joined at the cranium) into the ring for the presidential race of 2036. The seven year old candidates could not, however, decide who would head the ticket. The headmaster of their Alaskan montessori gun club suggested a duel might be the only honorable way to solve the dispute.

"Madam, is it not a fact -- a lamentable, bald-faced fact -- that if elected you intend to allow an open border to exist between Colorado and Kansas?" bellowed Judge President Monty Dwyer, Republican vice presidential candidate for the 2028 election. He directed his question at his opponent, President Kitty-Porn Fnu, Independent presidential candidate for the 2028 presidency.

"Colorada and Kansas are both part of the United States," President Kitty-Porn said. "Of course they should have open borders."

"Not after President Conrad Guilfoyle takes office in three years and expels Colorado from the republic!"

"But that's years away!" President Kitty-Porn protested. "And hasn't even happened yet."

To which Judge President Monty Dwyer turned slowly to the debate audience and said, "So much for you being 'The Candidate of the Future'."

By 2017, most major networks had their own spin-off presidential campaign channels. Fox News' Campaign Infinity channel featured shock jock, George W. Bush, who painted his ideas about candidates' strategies on clear Plexiglas using a brush and his own brand of BBQ sauce. The cornerstone of the Campaign Infinity channel was Shem Mountainson, former Idaho alderman, and the man whom many believed should have been chosen as John McCain's running mate in the archaic presidential campaign of 2008. The show was called Shem's Shithouse in which Mountainson separated "the wheat from the shit" for his viewers, telling them for whom to vote and whom to hate. CNN's campaign offshoot became a popular twenty-four-hour a day cycle of campaign infomercials. MSNBC reimagined itself as Playday with the Politicians, offering shows with candidates competing in American Gladiator-styled contests of strength and agility.

By the 2020s, much of the U.S. economy was predicated on elections. Citizens either worked for one campaign or another, or in the exponentially expanding industry of campaign marketing. Professional athletes and film stars tried moving into the political arena. They were shunned, for the most part, as rich, privileged people whose egos had outgrown their original venues. Voters preferred rich, privileged people who came from the guts of the campaign industry. Activists poured money into campaigns and campaigns funded activists. Citizens made their tax-deductible donations to the campaigns and worked on the pay-rolls that were funded by those donations. The print industry couldn't keep up with the demands for lawn signs. Ordinary citizens earned top dollar renting out their salt-of-the-earth domiciles to politicians seeking to film commercials around the Great American Kitchen Table.

Elections became like Christmas, the Oscars and the Super Bowl rolled in to one -- hours after the great event, operatives from both parties began planning the next one. By 2024, the U.S. presidential elections had its own stock exchange: the U.S.E.S.E.. Within five years, it was out-performing the Dow Jones Industrial Index.

By the 2032 U.S. presidential election took the same turn as the Olympics -- it was deigned to occur every two years rather than every four years.

People from the quaint old days of the early Twenty First Century may have been confused by the ever-tightening spiral of presidential campaigns. American citizens of 2036 embraced the political maelstrom: peoples' lawns were filled with signs trumpeting the names of dozens of candidates; Jerry Springer-like debates occurred in which the candidates often came to blows on the carpeted stage, tearing each other's clothing off as the audience roared; the foreign wars launched by each president made for great TV -- so much less demanding than quiz and dancing dog shows. The country and the economy and campaigns spun on and on. If a journalist from the quaint early Twenty First Century actually investigated this overheated dynamo of all-the-time-campaigns, they would have discovered that many of the candidates in whose names hundreds of millions of dollars were raised, for campaigns intended to stretch a dozen years into the future, didn't, actually, exist.

An industrious journalist from another time would have found that the country was like an unlubricated engine that had long ago fused into a single block of jagged, unintelligible metal and plastic. The illusion of its continued function was kept alive by the single level of government that never had any checks or balances. That level of government was Henry Kissinger. By the 2050 presidential election, the hundred and twenty-seven year-old Kissinger was proprietor of all the bank accounts of all the presidential candidates -- none of whom existed. After dozens of organ transplant operations and extensive steroid therapy, Henry Kissinger lived quite well in his palatial condominium within Cheyenne Mountain.

As Winston Churchill once said, "Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried", but there was no denying it made damned good business sense.

1 comment:

Pat R said...

If Palin runs for President in 2012, at least she has name recognition going for her... but, at this point, that may not work in her favor