Irrespective of all the in-depth political analysis that deals far too specifically with each candidate's professed policies and appeal to voters, the bulk of this campaign season is primarily being driven on both sides by pragmatism born of fear.
The base of each party is currently motivated not by any inspired support for one or more of its own candidates, but always and only out of a dread of how the country might suffer at the hands of the candidate from the opposing party. And the situation has remained in this dismal mode since the onset of the '08 campaign.
While enthusiastically accepting empty platitudes as promises from both Obama and Hillary of "change" for the future, their respective supporters lean less on any particular contrast in ideology or political agenda (since no such contrast actually exists), and are instead motivated merely by who seems to have the best chance of keeping the Republican candidate out of office. And across the aisle, the field of Republicans is behaving in a disturbingly similar manner.
Florida's primary notwithstanding, the fact that John McCain is taken seriously at all by Republicans is in no way reflective of enthusiasm for his consistent, left leaning (and this is a charitable assessment) governing philosophies, nor his monotonously predictable betrayals of conservatism at every opportunity where he might personally benefit from doing so. Rather, he is seen by some (wrongly) as a formidable opponent to the ostensibly inevitable Hillary Clinton.
It is hardly possible that Florida Republicans voted for open borders, trashing the First Amendment, "constitutional rights" for terrorists, or sacrificing the integrity of the Constitution in order to "protect the supposed integrity of Senate chicanery. No doubt, to the media and in John McCain's mind, this is how the Florida results are to be interpreted.
So, in this clash of supposed Titans, reality has temporarily been relegated to a back burner. But reality, at least that of the Republican candidate and his former stances which can disillusion and alienate the conservative base, will surely be resurrected once each party has its nominee.
Meanwhile, these most Machiavellian candidates from either side of the aisle (albeit, the same end of the political spectrum) flail away in their increasingly desperate efforts to assure dominance. And as they do so, they reveal their own unscrupulous tendencies, as well as their opponents' past compromises of principle that lurk like vermin hidden under the rocks of American politics, and by which so much damage has been inflicted on the political process, and thus on the country.
If any good at all is to come from this sordid spectacle, it is that America is being given a glimpse of just how morally and ethically vacant so many among its so called "leaders" really are. It is a lesson the country should not soon forget.
Gone from the field are those GOP candidates who might have ably campaigned on their past records of stances and accomplishments. All those that remain in the running are basing their future political prospects on their ability to erase and recast their past dalliances with the political overtures to the left that Washington enthusiastically led, but only now realizes that America has rejected.
Had the current cadre of candidates been real conservatives back then, and had they steadfastly upheld such principles in defiance of the pervading "current" of the time, they would have no need to be sidestepping and back peddling so vigorously now.
Ultimately, it was the willingness of so many ethically bankrupt Republican opportunists to play along with their Democrat cohorts, and to regularly make "deals with the devil," that now undermine any efforts to credibly castigate the Democrat Party's more blatant liberalism. Meanwhile, the manner in which politics was conducted has itself changed significantly.
Clearly, the flagrant and shameless lies and treachery, by which the Democrats retook the Congress in 2006, represent a new low in American politics, at least in the current era. For the party of Ted Kennedy and Barney Frank to attempt to make the case that those scummy e-mails from former Congressman Mark Foley (R.-FL) were a defining aspect of the supposed "Republican culture of corruption," was an act of hypocritical sanctimony that never could have been attempted, straight faced, prior to the era of the Clintons.
Nor could the hideous abuse of power employed by Travis County Texas Prosecutor Ronnie Earle against former House Majority Leader Tom Delay have succeeded, were it not for the environment established by the Clintons as they perverted the FBI and IRS (to name a few) into a burgeoning cadre of "political police" summoned to decimate their political enemies.
National politics in this country have been conducted in such a manner, with total impunity, ever since 1992, and in Arkansas, for much longer than that. The current ugliness being spotlighted on the evening news really is nothing new, excepting that as a result of Hillary's desperation, it is being conducted in an increasingly overt manner, and for the moment at least, against another Democrat.
American politics got significantly nastier and more unscrupulous at the brazen and unrestrained hands of the Clintons than anything Richard Nixon could ever have hoped for in his most sinister dreams. And the problem does not show signs of abating any time soon. For although America abhors it, those inside the Beltway seem to believe that their mastery of such tactics is the key to political dominance.
Yet by such events, America's prospects for the future grow bleak. If anything, this manner of politicking continues to sink the entire governing process deeper and deeper into a murky abyss of corruption, venom, and deceit.
Only when Americans truly decide that such behavior is unacceptable, and show it by their votes, will Washington be forced to take note and change its ways. The dismal results from Florida, along with the fact that the Clintons are still standing after their antics in South Carolina, suggests that America has still further to descend before it hits bottom.
Copyright ©2008 Christopher G. Adamo