2008 campaign preparations seem premature

Jenna Staul

Isn’t it amazing how time flies? There are roughly a scant 550 days remaining until the 2008 presidential election, which means roughly a scant 549 days of what has seemingly become the longest election in recent memory.

Personally, I’m sick of hearing about it.

Sure, the election of our public leaders is of the utmost importance, but I can’t help thinking all the 2008 hoopla seems a little premature. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and even John McCain may have already hit the campaign trail running, but I would much rather see them focus on more relevant things – such as their day jobs as senators.

The current Democratically controlled Congress has proved itself inept in living up to the reasons its representatives were elected into office. The war – the one the Democrats so fervently claim to oppose – still rages on without a clear end in sight, much of their proposed legislation has fallen flat and polls show increasing public disapproval of their performance.

The evidence that our Democrat-controlled Congress has failed to live up to its expectations is pretty conclusive. Yet instead of questioning our futile legislative branch and demanding it become more accountable, we have turned our attention to the next presidential election – the only problem is, said election is more than 15 months away.

And what can we look forward to hearing about in the coming 15 months? Probably a number of vacuous, mind-numbing aspects of our presidential contenders that will succeed only in shifting attention away from the things that really matter.

Already we’ve been subjected to analyses of Clinton’s make-up and the amount of cleavage the New York senator supposedly revealed on a campaign stop, even as millions of Americans go without the means to afford health care. As human lives are lost in Iraq, we have watched countless airings of YouTube’s now-infamous “Obama Girl” lip synching a song that professes her devotion to her favorite candidate.

It seems we have a warped perception of what our presidential elections really mean. We’ve turned them into pop culture events and have lost sight of the fact that the lives of real people are dramatically affected by the workings of Capitol Hill.

And the media has become totally inundated by it.

News shows have morphed into peculiar versions of political SportsCenter, and with the need to fill a daunting 15 months worth of air time, maybe we should come to expect such superficial coverage of the lengthy election.

I can’t be the only one who has become increasingly annoyed with the already feverish pitch 2008 campaign coverage has reached. It’s overkill. Moreover, it’s ridiculous. The objective of politics should be about getting things done for the public; all the YouTube debates and campaign fund-raisers in the world won’t do that.

At the risk of sounding hopelessly idealistic, our political leaders should focus more on practical means of accomplishing issues of public interest and not be distracted by partisanship and the glitz of presidential campaigns. At the risk of sounding even more hopelessly idealistic, the public should become more active and aware of the workings of the people they put in office.

Until then, stay tuned for what promises to be 500+ days of presidential election preparation ad nauseam.

Jenna Staul is a sophomore journalism major and a columnist for the Summer Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].