I'll start with this, a letter which appeared in the November 19th edition of The Economist magazine (p. 19).
Sir—I wonder why I, along with countless other Americans, bother to follow the Republican race at all, as none of the candidates is providing a compelling vision to challenge Mr Obama in next year's election. One reason for remaining interested could be that the dramas which unfold each week are yet another type of sensationalistic reality television. Perhaps politics could learn something from that format, by kicking candidates off the island, making them leave the house, or allowing a sharp-tongued Simon Cowell to berate their performance and decide upon their legitimacy.I was all set to write a big post suggesting just that, only taken to the next level: we simply have the presidential election handled AMERICAN IDOL style. You gather everyone who wants to be president, weed them down to a managable number, and then every week they come out and "perform" and the herd is successively thinned. People could vote by phone or on the internet.
A weekly voting system to get the clowns off the stage does not at this point seem such a terrible idea, especially since the prize is the nomination for a run at the chance to be the ruler of the free world.
Is it really very far from what we're doing now?
Consider this, which made news earlier this week: Donald Trump says yes, he'll moderate Republican debate in Iowa.
How can you take the election seriously if the GOP can't take their own debate seriously? Was Tom Bergeron too busy? Ryan Seacrest wanted too much money? If you want me to watch, get Heidi Klum to take a day away from Project Runway. I'm sure she could manage it.
To listen to NPR, of all places, the Democrats seem disheartened and demoralized. Yet the Republicans are taking no chances at winning the election. Mitt Romney is a Ken doll, and as The Economist (hey, it's a good source) has been putting it, the GOP has an anybody-but-Romney mindset. Donald Trump was a stunt candidate. Michelle Bachman is too much of a loon even by current standards. Rick Perry looks like an idiot in debates. Herman Cain was interesting but couldn't keep his pants on, Ron Paul is C. Montgomery Burns, Newt Gingerich is an asshole no matter how articulate he is, and the rest are a chorus line.
If you want the true American Idol experience, go here and look at the candidates. My guy? I like Vern Wuensche: the candidate who would win if the mainstream media were still radio.
I vote in the elections, and I'll vote in this next one. But it won't be for any of this pack of dogs.