If you find you are suffering from the World Cup blues, well fret not because there’s about to be a whole lot of coverage of another kind sport. Although we don’t pick a new president until 2016, expect speculation to ramp up soon about the next race to the White House.
Presidential elections over here strike me as a cross between Big Brother and The Hunger Games. Political pundits brush down their whistle and flutes in prep to appear on every roundtable show for the eighteen months straight as the hopefuls pre-position themselves, research their own backgrounds – and those of their opponents – before engaging in a ritual slaughter to take that coveted position and move their 2.4 children in to the White House.
My first convention was for the Democratic Party at the Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles way back in 2000. And a certain Mr. Al Gore was about to be crowned as the official party candidate. A friend had a box and had invited me. I had anticipated a trip to something resembling the Houses of Parliament to some degree, but was taken aback by the complete wealth and theatrics that go into such an event – I guess they don’t call it a party for nothing. The big bands, the champagne spraying, the balloons flying through the air. I felt I like I was at a ‘Take That’ farewell concert (and perhaps I was). Of course nobody actually gets their party’s nomination without double-crossing, backstabbing and denouncing other candidates from within your their own party. For some good references you ought to watch such shows as “The Newsroom”, “Scandal”, “The Good Wife” and reruns of “The West Wing”.
But back to the Staples Center. Candidate Gore was praised by some of America’s greats, the highlight of which was a speech given by President Bill Clinton, who noted his administration’s accomplishments and praised Gore, saying that “You gave me that chance to turn those ideas and values into action, after I made one of the best decisions of my life: asking Al Gore to be my partner.”
Wonder how Hillary felt about that?
Other notable speakers included Gore’s opponent for the Democratic nomination, Senator Bill Bradley, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, Senators Christopher Dodd of Connecticut and Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, Former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, and the Reverend Jesse Jackson. And surprisingly actor Tommy Lee Jones came out and supported him….nothing like a celebrity endorsement to make your stock rise.
But all that celebration was prelude to misery. As we all know Gore narrowly lost to George W. Bush despite having won the popular vote, losing the electoral college following a still-controversial decision handed down by the Supreme Court, which brought us the term ‘hanging chads’ and had us all glued to the TV waiting for the Supremes to deliver their judgement. We were gripped…just like the World Cup final.
It’s never too early to start handicapping the race. Most of the pre-match Democratic buzz focuses on Hillary Clinton and whether she will become the country’s first female president (about time, I say), although current Veep Joe Biden will doubtless have something to say about it.
On the other side the current Republican turmoil – Tea Partiers vs Ayn Rand disciples vs GOP Old Guard – means it’s impossible to pick an early front runner, but some names to look out for are Marsha Blackburn, John Bolton, Jan Brewer, Scott Brown, Jeb Bush, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie and the oh-so-handsome Rick Perry (BTW: just because I call someone handsome, doesn’t mean I want them to be the next president. I only vote on looks when watching America’s Next Top Model).
The race to the White House is just like Halloween and Christmas advertising; it always starts way too early…