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Smith dinner shows what campaign could be

If you haven't seen some of the clips of the quips from Thursday night's Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in New York, take some time and watch. Maybe then you won't be so jaded about the political process in America. This year's dinner was a chance for Barack Obama and John McCain to take a night off from the presidential campaign and have a little fun. They told jokes about themselves and each other and even complimented each other. Big time. Watching the news stories about the event this morning, I had one question: Why can't they be like this all the time?

There are certainly serious issues facing presidential candidates, not to mention the American people, every four years. But lately the campaign has taken on a particularly negative tone. And with just more than two weeks to go before Election Day (if you don't take advantage of early voting before that), the rhethoric is showing the nasty side of American politics that cause so many of us to tire of the all of it. 

Imagine instead a campaign full of good-natured ribbing and compliments. Imagine if candidates told you every day, instead of just one night, what a great person their opponent is. Imagine if the campaign was about a candidate building himself up, touting his own record and emphasizing his strengths instead of trying to knock down his opponent, discredit the opponent's record and emphasizing the opponent's weaknesses. Imagine.

Like the nearly four-decade-old debate on ending America's dependency on foreign oil, year in and year out we tell our politicians we want less mud-slinging on the campaign trail. Yet every election we eat up that mud they sling and believe exaggerations, mistruths and flat-out lies to help decide our vote. And in the end, we get what we deserve: an America divided and distrustful and struggling, if not altogether failing, to maintain our role as the greatest democracy and the greatest nation in the world.

By: Kevin Wuzzardo

A voting record is only "negative"....

...if it contains votes that are embarrassing to the man or woman who cast the vote. In the election now at hand, no major news media outlet is pointing out the huge variance in what Obama is now saying, as opposed to how he has voted and what he has said in the recent past. So it's ludicrous to condemn anyone as "being negative" when they mention their opponent's voting record. It's a valid tool to inform the electorate, and right now far too large a percentage of that electorate is horribly uninformed.

Maybe we should tie officials' salaries to their performance....

same as they do to our educators!!! After all, who but our 'leaders' get to vote for their own pay raises! Maybe when these politicians actually have to worry about health care costs (paid for by the taxpayers), retirement (paid for by the taxpayers - they get their salaries for the rest of their lives - even after one term - and they don't pay into Social Security), junketts, and the other priveleges that they've lavishly bestowed upon themselves - I'll actually believe that they 'feel our pain'. I want to know their voting record - and it's my right as well as my obligation to be an informed voter! You certainly can't trust the words that come out of their mouths - so let their actions speak!!! I had a professor tell me something 20 years ago that seemed pretty radical at the time - but is starting to make more and more sense. Make duty to the legislative branch the same as Jury Duty...you get a per diem...you do your session, and then you go home....if you want to exercise your right to vote, then understand that you may be called some day to actually help make the laws!!! It know it's not practical - but it sure would eliminate the PACS and the cronyism that is bankrupting this country today!