Thursday, February 8, 2007

Presidential campaigns and Christmas

Has anyone noticed how much earlier the candidates running for President have kicked off their campaigns? It seems like about 6 months earlier than in the previous election. The first primary is a year away at this point. Do we really need to be hearing about Hillary and Rudy for the next 2 years?

The interesting aspect of this earlier start is that we live in an age of 24 hour news, Internet access, blogs and such mass communication that exactly the opposite trend should occur. After all, in 1800 there were no phones, wireless devices, or powered transportation to allow candidates to communicate to the public or even to travel quickly. Yet, somehow, the public got educated and I believe more of them were engaged in the debate then are today.

This trend is not unique to politics, as anyone who thinks about the trend in the start of the Christmas season is well aware. Used to be that the Christmas season didn't start until after Thanksgiving. I think Labor Day is now the day when the Christmas season unofficially starts. Soon it will be the 4th of July.

So why is this happening? The cynic in me would say "follow the money". Presidential aspirants must raise 10's of millions of dollars to advertise themselves and the first one to the trough is going to get the biggest portion of donations. Merchants want to get consumers to spend their Christmas dollars at their store first.

The more media that there is, the more it will cost to advertise, and hence the more money the campaigners will need. One would wonder if being President is worth it considering the cost. Unfortunately, for most qualified candidates, it's not. So we get second tier candidates. And people look at those running and think neither is really qualified, so they lose interest. Not to mention becoming numbed by the hundred's of commercials that they will see and hear in the next two years.

In the end only the deeply partisan people at both ends of the political spectrum are engaged, which in turn, leads us to forever avoid compromise and good solutions in government.

I'm not sure what to do about any of this, but as it's already February I better get started on my Christmas shopping.

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