Rare Book Monthly

Articles - January - 2008 Issue

The Presidential Primaries

Who is this?


By Bruce McKinney

A hundred and fifty years ago candidates stayed home. Today the voters do and who can blame them. The debates in 2007 confirm that the run for President is nothing more than running a gauntlet of special interest groups of which television stations and their commentators, while parading their neutrality, are simply another one. Their angle is ratings, the better to sell Viagra, Cheetos and Coors while trashing to oblivion both the next President and the nineteen bridesmaids.

Republican candidates must appeal to Evangelicals, tax cutters, fence builders, fence sitters, cold and hot warriors. In the process, these candidates become a made-up thing -- a web of promises that cage these lions even before they get to the zoo.

The Democrats have it no easier. If the Republicans' boundries are chiseled in granite the Democratics' confusion of promises seethes like spaghetti coming to boil. Both parties fail miserably to deliver on the promise of a better America because their commitments are to constituencies that support them, not the country they will serve. This is a system undermined by special interests to ensure their continuing prosperity, not yours.

Over the next few months many of you will have an opportunity to vote in a caucus or primary. Exercise this right. There is hope while there is involvement.

To familiarize yourself with the names of those who entered at least some of the primaries I include a crossword puzzle to test yourself. Some have already come and gone but two will dominate and one will win in the year ahead.

If you clicked on the picture - the answer is Wendell Willkie. The year? 1940.

Click the Puzzle to play.

Rare Book Monthly

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