Analogies are always interesting and often very helpful, especially when simple and understandable examples help shed light on much more complex ideas. Watching the Kentucky Derby a few weeks ago, the start of the race brought to mind the Presidential Race (for 2008) and it tempts a comparison: While at the Kentucky derby race, 20 contenders enter and prepare to compete for less than three minutes, the other race has 18 contenders (and counting) and will endure for over 20 months. What both races have in common though is the fact, that at the end, only one contender can and will win! While the Kentucky Derby winner will earn a lot of money after the victory, the winner in the other race will have spent more than a hundred million dollars (not necessarily his or her own) to succeed and come out on top.
As it stands right now, the Presidential race has so far 18 contenders: 8 Democrats and 10 Republicans and a few potential candidates are still contemplating entering the race. Just like in the horse race at Churchill Downs in Kentucky, many contenders in the Presidential race are true long shots with incredible odds, nevertheless they are in the race and at this time, nobody knows for how long. In the meantime, the political pundits try very hard to build up an interest in all this by writing about the candidates on an almost daily basis. The television media in conjunction with the party leadership has scheduled and also conducted so called Presidential debates for both, the Democrat and Republican candidates. Needless to say, the polling organizations in America are busy polling frequently to find out who is in the lead and by how much over others.
Yet the big question for most of us in this country at this time is: Who cares??? Again, watching the horse race in Kentucky, would anybody really think that the race is run after a quarter mile with a full mile to go? The horse leading the pack after 400 yards has by no means an advantage over the other horses and nobody watching the race would think that. With this much distance yet to be covered, or in terms of the Presidential race with this much time to go, nobody in his or her right mind would make any assumptions as to the outcome at the end, and start celebrating. Only wishful thinkers and close friends of a specific contender think like that. Accordingly, the presidential debates are truly meaningless, especially since there is no real chance for anyone of them to make a succinct statement while answering a question from a debate host in the allotted time of 30 or 60 seconds. Since the debates are never longer than 90 minutes and with the crowded fields in both political parties, nothing of substance results from these events, at least for the time being. The candidates are ‘jockeying’ for cute or funny sound bites that will be repeated by the pundits over and over again. The positions of the candidates are very obscure, especially when it comes to the war on terror and how to bring the war in Iraq to an end. For almost all candidates this time is a training period to define their respective messages and slogans and to raise money from people who would like them to win the White House in November 2008. One more comparison is necessary to be made; unlike the Kentucky Derby, the last seven to eight months of this race are only between two ‘horses’ due to the frontloading of the primary elections next year by most states, including the larger ones such as California, Florida, New York and Texas. It is expected that by March 2008, the primary winners in each party will be known.
We here at Back to Common Sense will treat the Presidential race in a similar fashion as the announcer of the Kentucky Derby and will report back on it after at least another quarter mile has been traversed. With respect to the political race, this means in a couple of months from now. Maybe the field has thinned out a little bit by then in that some long shots have falling significantly behind the main contenders in terms of fundraising, are no longer being taken seriously and drop out of the race. Until then, we will leave this event to the pundits and the few that share their strong interests.
This article and others on Back to Common Sense are designed to provoke further thought and investigation. It is not the intent for the articles to be politically biased. Sources are referenced in each article to encourage readers to delve into the supporting material. We welcome all readers to participate with their point of view either in support or contrary with additional information sources.