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Detach and de-stress from politics

In Health, National News, Opinion, Politics, psychology on May 17, 2016 at 7:57 am

Deer In Headlines

By Gery L. Deer

DIH LOGOA July 2014 article in The Washington Post included a headline that read, “Politicians are the No. 1 cause of stress in our lives.” The article focused on a stress survey in which, “Americans cited, ‘Hearing about what the government or politicians are doing,’ as the most frequent daily stressor on their lives, and at a substantially higher rate than the usual annoyances like commuting, chores and general schedule-juggling.”

That was nearly two years ago and reactions to day-to-day politics were driving the survey. At that time the dizzying level of ridiculousness surrounding the 2016 presidential bid had yet to shift into high gear. Now, with just a few weeks until the first convention, the stakes have never been higher, and neither has our collective blood pressure.

In the time between now and the conventions, it’s unlikely anything of consequence will occur. There will be blustering and feather ruffling from candidates, but, in the end, the convention is the next decisive event. It’s time to back away for a while.

If the presidential race has driven a wedge between you and those close to you, it may be time let it go. It’s not important. The truth is, very little that takes place on the presidential campaign level will affect those of us down here in the real world.

And it certainly is not worth the loss of close friendships. So how do you disconnect? Well, here are a few short tips.

First, step away from social media – immediately! As if the cable news blather wasn’t enough, Facebook, Twitter and all the rest of social media is inundated with opinion, and certainly not necessarily what you would call, “informed” opinion.

maxresdefaultMost people, for whatever reason, have a difficult time recognizing fact from rhetoric. How many times have you been taken in on Facebook or Twitter by some fake news story? Generally those kinds of things are harmless. But when conflict and gossip are presented as factually based information, things get murky and you have to know the difference.

Along with the computer, switch off the TV as well. Face it you’re never going to get an “objective” view of any candidate, party or issue from corporate news agencies. Every organization introduces the spin they want you to hear. Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, and all the rest, have their own political agendas and when they want you to think, they’ll tell you how.

Consider also, how you feel when you encounter political news. Take close note of your emotions when you’re reading, watching or listening to political material. Does your heart rate jump? Do you feel angry or enraged? Well, believe it or not, that’s exactly what they want; “they” being the media manipulators.

But, you don’t have to fall for it. You can choose what information to which you are exposed and how it affects you. If you just let them get to you, that’s your own fault.

Probably the best way to keep from being overwhelmed by the election hype is to be informed. Do your own research on the candidates and issues and get the information as first-hand as possible. The more facts you know, the less likely you are to get sucked into the garbage.

Politics can sometimes be a fun diversion, though for whom I haven’t a clue. But when things are as charged up as they are this time around, most of what results is stress, angry feelings and regretful behavior.

Remember that politicians at that level – including Hillary, Bernie, and Donald – have no stake in your life. They could care less about anything save their own quest for power, ego and personal benefit. And they’ll say anything to get the votes they want. Anyone who sincerely believes otherwise is a bit naive.

So as the election creeps up on us, be prepared to go vote your conscience when the time comes. Until then, shut it all down, tune it all out, and relax!

For further study and resource …

6 Ways To Cope With Political Stress by Dr. David Lowenstein

http://drlowenstein.com/2016/03/10/6-ways-to-cope-with-political-stress/

5 Ways To Avoid Stress and Stay Healthy In Political Campaigns by PoliticalCampaigningTips.com

http://www.politicalcampaigningtips.com/5-ways-to-avoid-stress-stay-healthy-in-political-campaigns/

 

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is distributed by GLD Enterprises Communications, Ltd. More at gerydeer.com

 

 

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Just Say No To Mike DeWine, Finally

In Local News, Politics, State News on October 1, 2014 at 9:35 am

dih-logo-SEMike DeWine has been in the public eye since his days as a Greene County prosecutor.  Part of a high-profile and wealthy Greene County (Yellow Springs) family, DeWine is now seeking re-election as Attorney General of Ohio. While he’s been taking every possible photo-op he can, Ohioans have likely forgotten what he really stands for – which is exactly what he’s counting on.

Richard Michael DeWine was born in Springfield, grew up in Yellow Springs and now lives in Cedarville – reportedly on inherited land. DeWine worked as a Greene County prosecuting attorney during the late 1970’s and was elected to the Ohio State Senate in 1980. Since that time he has been in politics as Ohio’s lieutenant governor and spent two terms in the United States Senate from 1995 until 2007.

DeWine’s voting record from his time in congress shows that he believes in curtailing the individual rights of private citizens, particularly their right to own a firearm. Being so vocally against the right to bear arms is an odd position to take considering that gun control is such a hot button topic in Ohio, especially for a Republican. His time as the state’s senior lawyer has been less than stellar.

Given his background, Mike DeWine will continue his fight against the rights of individuals. According to multiple news sources, including CNN, in August of 2013, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, was finally forced to disclose that Ohio driver license photos had been uploaded to a facial recognition database for criminal identification.

According to his statement at the press conference revealing this program, DeWine said, “Misuse of the facial recognition system is a felony offense.” But how can he make a statement like that when there are currently no written rules to govern its use?

According to DeWine, the program allows police to quickly compare photographs of suspects or crime victims to an electronic pool of mug shots and driver license photos in the Ohio database. Comparisons are made of facial measurements from one image to the next in search of a match. The problem with all of this is that it’s been active since June – in secret.

No surprise really, since, while in Washington, he voted in favor of loosening restrictions on cell phone wiretapping and in opposition to a law preventing employers from discriminating against workers based on sexual orientation. Any individual who is so obviously unopposed to deliberate discriminatory action has no business being attorney general.

Since his days as a county prosecutor, he has been against private individuals protecting themselves with any sort of fire arm. He has also constantly made it known that he wants firearm manufacturers to be held accountable for crimes committed using their products. All of this, and yet he is calling for a federal investigation in an effort to overturn the grand jury decision in the Beavercreek Walmart shooting, all to gain points with a African American voters. Shameful doesn’t even cover that kind of act.

If re-elected as the state’s highest ranking prosecutor, DeWine would also be charged with protecting the public against fraud and discriminatory activities. But, as of now, the slick, misleading activities of shell power companies such as Dayton Power & Light’s “DPL Energy” and others like it have gone unchecked. These shell billing companies are unregulated by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and regularly con the elderly and uninformed into buying into their scam. Dozens of news stories have been done on the problem and DeWine has taken no action whatsoever.

One of the most confusing positions DeWine has taken revolves around immigration. DeWine, who represented a senatorial district where migrant workers are common, voted for building a fence along the United States / Mexico border, while at the same time choosing in favor of giving guest workers an easier path to citizenship. Conveniently, during the incomprehensible process of naturalization, the latter would probably allow greedy, corporate-owned farms to continue paying pennies to immigrant workers while helping to fill DeWine’s campaign coffers.

The record also reveals that DeWine would prefer that people stay as ignorant as possible and that the financially underprivileged are undeserving of a college education. In 2001, he voted against increasing tax deductions for college students. With Ohio’s staggeringly high unemployment rate, one would think that the government would do everything possible to make it easier for people to improve their skills, not limit their potential through nickel and diming beaurocracy.

Any out of work Republicans in Ohio who vote across the party, regardless of the candidate’s qualifications or platform, should remember that Mike DeWine is a trust fund beneficiary (in other words, he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth). According to financial statements from the 2004 fiscal year, his assets through DeWine Enterprises, Inc. – the family holdings – were valued up to $5 million and earning between $50,000 and $100,000 per year in capital gains.

That would certainly explain why, in February of 2006, DeWine voted in favor of retaining reduced taxes on capital gains and dividends. The former senator is certainly one of very few people in the state who can sit around collecting this kind of “unearned” income. Everyone else has to work for a living – at least those who still have a job.

DeWine will do no more in the coming term than he did in the previous one and, like most career politicians, he spends a great deal of time talking out of both sides of it. He cares only about his thirst for publicity and political glory. It’s time for Mike DeWine to retire – let’s give him a proper send off. Ohio has had enough of him.

 

 Congressional voting records are available at http://www.ontheissues.org.  

Don’t forget to vote Tuesday, November 5th!

In Economy, Education, Local News, Politics, Uncategorized on October 4, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Effect of local elections outweighs that of national races

countingvotTuesday November 5th is a general election in Greene County, Ohio, consisting of numerous city, township and county issues and political seats.  Voter turnout is vital in smaller races where it only takes a few votes to change a loss to a win.

While it might seem otherwise, local elections are far more important to the average citizen than those on a national level. Most of the governing that directly affects people is done at the local level – city, township, county and so on. Local tax levies (whatever they may be called by the proponents) have an immediate and direct effect the individual citizen and, subsequently, the economy.

In a local election, there are no “electoral college” votes or polling numbers – every single vote counts. That’s why it is so important to make an extra effort to keep your community running the way you want it to and be as knowledgeable as you can about the candidates and issues before heading to your polling place. Polls are open on November 5, from 6:30 AM until 7:30 PM.

GET OUT AND VOTE NOVEMBER 5!

In order to help our readers make informed decisions this election day, The Jamestown Comet has provided this useful information on Greene County’s election (courtesy of the Greene County Board of Elections).

Direct Link to the Greene County Board of Elections

(Includes information about polling locations and more.)

Click here for the Greene County Board of Elections Certified Candidates List (In PDF format.)

The following is a list of issues as posted by the Greene County Board of Elections. NOTE: There are no state issues. There is no issue #1. Local option and overlap questions are not assigned issue numbers.

Questions and Issues:  November 5, 2013 General Election Ballot

#2 Greene County – Children’s Services – Renewal – 1.5 mills
#3 Greene County – Developmental Disabilities – Renewal – 3.5 mills
#4 Greene County – Greene Memorial Hospital – Renewal – 0.5 mills

#5 Beavercreek City – Streets, Roads & Bridges – Renewal – 1 mill
#6 Bellbrook City – Charter Amendments
#7 Xenia City – Current Operating – Renewal – 3.5 mills
#8 Xenia City- Electrical Aggregation
#9 Jamestown Village- Streets, Roads & Bridges – Additional – 1.8 mills
#10 Spring Valley Village – Current Operating – Replacement – 1 mill
#11 Spring Valley Village – Current Operating – Replacement – 3 mills

#12 Spring Valley Township & Village – Fire & EMS – Renewal – 2 mills
#13 Spring Valley Township Roads & Bridges – Renewal – 1.5 mills
#14 Caesarscreek Township –– Fire & EMS- Renewal – 2 mills
#15 Jefferson Township –Roads & Bridges- Additional –5 mills
#16 New Jasper Township –Streets, Roads & Bridges – Additional –1.5 mills
#17 Ross Township – Current Operating- Renewal – 1.5 mills
#18 Sugarcreek Township –– Fire & EMS- Renewal – 2 mills

#19 Beavercreek CSD – Emergency Requirements– Additional- 6.3 mills
#20 Yellow Springs EVSD- Permanent Improvements – Renewal – 1.2 mills
Kettering CSD –Overlap-Current Expenses-Additional- 4.89 mills
Wayne LSD – Overlap – Current Expenses – Renewal – 14.05 mills

#21 Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Park District- Defraying Expenses- Renewal – 0.4 mills

Spring Valley General Valero – Local Option Precinct 435 – Sunday Sales

Sugar Valley Golf Club – Local Option – Precinct 153 – On/Off premise sales
Sugar Valley Golf Club – Local Option – Precinct 153 – Sunday Sales

(If you live in another county, just go to GOOGLE.COM and search for the county’s board of elections website.)

Voting With Conscience, Not So Easy

In Economy, Education, Home Improvement, Local News, Media, National News, Opinion, Politics, psychology, Religion, Science, sociology, State News, Uncategorized on October 30, 2012 at 8:34 am

 

 

 

 

DEER IN HEADLINES

By Gery L. Deer

In just a few days, Americans will go to the polls to elect a new president or retain the old one for another term. It’s been a heated race almost from the start but now that we’re down to the wire, the candidates are running in a dead heat.

Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama are neck-in-neck in the polls and pounding the pavement in battleground states like Ohio and Virginia, Hurricane Sandy notwithstanding. But with so much negativity – some say far more than in elections past – how will the non-partisan and undecided voter make a choice come November 6? It’s probably going to end up, for most, to be a vote of conscience.

Voting your conscience may not be easy, but it’s often the only way to feel as if you made a difference and chose the candidate that best serves your values and interests. Sometimes, you have to say, “What’s in it for me?”

Unfortunately, it’s hard to say how any individual might benefit from this election especially since most of the campaigning has been about one candidate saying why the other is bad, rather than telling us what he or she is going to do to once in office. Individual benefit will be based on a kind of trickle-down effect depending on which way the national election goes and how much change there is likely to be at the congressional level.

Once again, as noted previously in this column, it’s the local elections to which people should be giving more attention. It’s at the ground level that things actually get done in a way that directly affects the voter, regardless of how much we’d like to believe otherwise.

When weighing the issues of economic distress and job scarcity, the average person only has his or her experiences to call upon for reference. Discussing these problems on a national scale is almost pointless since the changes needed to affect these issues have to occur at the local level. That leaves the voter even more stymied.

Once more, we’re back to voting with our conscience. If you’re undecided, look at the following characteristics of the candidates – whether local or national.

First, is he or she right for the job? Do they give of the ‘air’ of a president or whatever position they intend to hold? Take the time to surf the internet and review video and read speeches they’ve given before and after becoming a candidate for office. Try to see around the fluff and the ‘marketing’ done to promote the candidate and look for threads of the person underneath. Do they seem genuine? Do you think they believe what they’re telling the people?

Do they share your personal values? I’ve long said that it’s simply a bad idea to choose a presidential candidate based on their religious beliefs or because of their take on subjects like abortion. But, when left with a tied score on the business issues, moral issues have to be taken into consideration, so you have little options at that point.

Does the candidate seem to flip-flop, only saying what his people are telling him to say or what he thinks the voters want to hear? Or, do you believe he holds to a set of ideals? This is probably the most important part of choosing a candidate in any election. Most politicians say what they expect the constituents want to hear. If he or she is a republican, conservative ideology comes across more prominently, and the same with being a democrat; the liberal voice will be louder.

But in order to capture a broader audience, the candidates will “pad” their ideology with sprinklings of the other side, or implied agreement with the opposition in small, virtually insignificant ways. This makes them seem more bi-partisan in an attempt to interest the other side.

Voting your conscience is much harder than voting based in facts and issue stance. Try to do your homework before you go to the polls. Choose the candidate you can feel good about supporting throughout their term and remember, no matter who you vote for, get out and vote.

Voters can’t handle the truth

In Business, Economy, Education, Local News, Media, National News, Opinion, Politics, State News, Uncategorized on October 9, 2012 at 9:03 am

Deer In Headlines

By Gery L. Deer

Politicians distort the truth and exaggerate facts to elicit effect from an audience. All of them do it. The idea of any candidate being open and honest is not only unbelievable, but would likely bring the American political system to a dead stop.

No one is going to be completely honest and the determination of whether a politician is lying is in the eye of the beholder. Unfortunately die-hard fans of a particular candidate will insist that it’s only the opponent who lies. The hard, cold truth is, they all “lie.”

In the Star Wars film series, mentor Obi Wan Kenobi warns Luke Skywalker that many of the truths we cling to in life depend greatly on our point of view. Nowhere is that a more appropriate statement than in the political ring.

Often, distortion of the facts is an effort to cover uncertainty or a lack of knowledge. No one could possibly provide an answer to every problem and, rather than appear weak or uninformed, a candidate has prepared a neutral response to counter his or her lack of a solution. Voters should learn to read between the lines and determine whether this behavior is a character flaw or the nature of the job.

Sometimes a candidate, in a moment of either clarity or misstep, will betray his or her thoughts. Mitt Romney’s off-the-cuff remarks about the 47-percent of people who will vote for Obama because of the president’s predilection for endorsing entitlement programs is a perfect example of what can happen when a candidate’s true thoughts come to light.

Political candidates are under intense, constant scrutiny. Every word, every step, every mispronounced name can affect their overall image and subsequent performance in polling. Even misspeaking can be inferred as a lie and bring a campaign crashing down at any moment.

No matter how carefully words and phrases are chosen, however, they can still be used out of context to paint a candidate with a single brush stroke. Generally referred to as “sound bites,” the act of hacking up entire speeches into 30-second snippets has become far too common and can lead the listening public to the wrong conclusions.

Along the same concept, political advertising should be focused on informing the public about the intentions of the candidate. Instead, the point of these messages is to tear down the other guy, discrediting the opposition to the point of exclusion. Millions of dollars are poured into these ads just so each campaign can go back and forth on television, radio and on the Internet, just trying to counter the latest round of jabs from the other side.

Print or broadcast, generally the ads follow a simple pattern. One candidate takes a stab at the opponent’s position on something which is then answered from the other side with an accusation of lying about it, followed by some kind of weak rebuttal. But who is actually lying? Once again, that may depend on a point of view.

Developing and keeping on track a strong platform is tough for a political operative in today’s 2-minute news cycle. Since the American voter tends to go on hearsay and emotional preference rather than fact, it’s nearly impossible to maintain a consistent message. Much of the time is spent on damage control, like the president is doing now after his lackluster performance in the first debate.

Still, whether or not a politician lies is almost irrelevant to the modern voter. Americans seem to be more interested in trivial issues than the larger picture, proven by how easily they are distracted from more important problems by garbage issues. One man’s garbage, however, is another man’s treasure; so once again, it’s back to the pesky point of view.

One thing is for certain – all politicians lie. Voters just need to come to terms with how much of that really matters and learn how to separate the facts from the rhetoric.

 

People Treat You Like The Clothes You Wear

In Business, Economy, Entertainment, Media, National News, Opinion, Politics, psychology, sociology, television, Uncategorized on September 11, 2012 at 9:59 am

DEER IN HEADLINES

By Gery L. Deer

How do you think people see You?

From the earliest of ages most people are taught not to judge the proverbial book by its cover. But, contrary to that advice, we all tend to treat people like the clothes they wear, even though we only see what they show us.

Each of us is judged every day by our friends, employers, customers, even those on the street who we don’t know. We are judged because of height, weight, hair color, skin color, clothes, shoes, the car we drive, what kind of dog we have and, especially during this election season, our political views.

Sometimes these assessments are socially motivated. If you are active in a particular political, social or economic circle, your sociopolitical survival may dependent solely on the perceptions of others. Your clothing, how you walk, how you speak and even the color of your eyes can affect whether people accept you into their clique.

Still, while most of us avoid calling such critical attention to ourselves, some people crave it or are naturally argumentative, choosing instead to invite a challenge to their choices. When you put a bumper sticker on your car or dye your hair blue, for example, the purpose for doing so couldn’t be clearer – you are trying to get a reaction from people.

Naturally, someone is reading this saying, “No, that’s wrong! I’m exercising my freedom of expression.” A valid point; but we express things so that people will hear us, otherwise why bother? So again, whatever the motivation, you’re seeking the attention and someone will be judging you for it.

Now, in an era of high-tech surveillance, even more people are watching and judging us. For those who actually thrive on such attention, reality television has set an unprecedented tone of exposing the worst in people.

Exposure seems to be the operative word here, with TV shows that exploit virtually anyone all in the name of ratings. Cable television, once dedicated to entertainment and news, now specializes in parading before us a sideshow that would have embarrassed even the likes of P.T. Barnum.

From little people and hyper-religious families with dozens of children to hog-hunting hill folk and spray-tanned uber-rich housewives, producers jockey for best train wreck for prime time. Why? Networks are raking in the advertising cash by feeding on the voyeuristic, excessively judgmental nature of the American public.

People think it’s fun to watch and criticize those who have willingly thrown themselves out there to be fed upon by the vultures in the viewing audience. All of this comes from our inherent tendency towards prejudice and the underlying critical nature of humanity.

Something worth mentioning is that as I was writing this, I realized I had used the word “judgment” or “judge” more than I normally would in one essay. Reviewing several online thesauruses, I discovered there were no direct synonyms for the word “judgment” when it applies to forming an opinion or condemning someone based on personal opinion. It was the only word that fit. How’s that for a narrow-minded reality?

In the end we’re all judged and we all do the same to others. We might not act on those opinions, but we certainly have them. It’s a fact of society, and always has been. A person in a business suit will likely be treated differently than someone in dirty, torn jeans and a t-shirt. As inaccurate as it might be sometimes, people treat you like the clothes you wear.

Remember also, that all of this depends on your point of view, like the car missing two hubcaps on one side. If the observer is looking at the side of the car where the wheels are still covered, what difference does it make?

 

Of Stuffed Shirts and Empty Chairs

In Business, Economy, Education, Jobs, Local News, National News, Opinion, Politics, sociology, State News, Uncategorized on September 8, 2012 at 8:49 am

DEER IN HEADLINES

By Gery L. Deer

Americans have a tough decision to make in November: re-elect a president with failed policies and lackluster performance or replace him with an arrogant, out-of-touch businessman who seems to hate the poor and elderly (at least that’s how Democrats portray him).

President Obama has forced the country further into debt and is still nursing an unemployment rate of more than 8-percent. His first election campaign was built on the concept of “hope and change,” but his time in office has resulted in neither.

Mudslinging ad campaigns have done nothing to inform the public of what either of these men intend to do about the economy, jobs, healthcare or any other issue. And, for all the glitz, glitter and even Hollywood infiltration at the Republican National Convention, it would be hard to argue that it was anything above unremarkable.

Mitt Romney’s predictable – no, make that inevitable – nomination by the GOP delegates held all the drama of getting part way through a mediocre novel and having someone spoil the ending. Nearly a week later, the only thing still being talked about from the event is the nearly unintelligible ramblings of actor Clint Eastwood to an empty chair.

Ridiculously long and pointless, this scene made no one’s day and served only to confuse viewers and insult senior Americans. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice helped to reverse the “Eastwood” effect, attracting both the African American and female viewer and adding class and intelligence to the stage,

Unless the Republicans can really show how he intends to change things for the better, Mitt Romney is going to have a difficult time showing Obama the door come January.  People simply aren’t responding to the lack of an obvious platform coupled with his image as a stuffed shirt corporate type who registers a big fat zero on the personality scale. Add to that the silver spoon he’s had in his mouth his entire life and it’s a combination that leaves a bad impression on struggling, middle-class voters.

Even though the Obama administration has failed to deliver most of what was promised in 2008, Conservatives seem to lack inspiration on any level and just can’t seem to get out of their own way. Republican Kevin Yoder’s skinny dipping adventure into the Sea of Galilee then trumped by Republican senate candidate Todd Akin’s offensively ignorant statements regarding rape certainly stole Mitt Romney’s spotlight for a few weeks this summer.

Unfortunately for the RNC, perception is everything in a race like this – especially since no one seems to be paying any attention to the facts. Mitt Romney comes across as the personification of the “Jones” that everyone living in a snooty, upscale neighborhood is trying to keep up with. He’s completely unaware that the people down the street are losing their home to foreclosure or that the guy next door just lost his job because his company shipped the work to China. Romney just wants to have his two Cadillacs in the garage and make sure his boat is ready for a long weekend in the Hamptons.

The main difference between the candidates is, not surprisingly, ideological. Obama is the guy who wants to care about everyone but keep his job. He still wants to hold on to his own wealth of millions – yes, he’s a millionaire just like Romney, but he wants to appear like he’s not. People think he’s a nice guy and respect his efforts while still admonishing his failures. But swing voters seem to be uncertain as to whether he should get four more years to keep trying.

As the Democratic National Convention gets underway, it will be interesting to see how the President counters one resonating quote from Mitt Romney during the RNC: “You know something’s wrong with the job [Obama’s] doing as president when the best feeling you had was the day you voted for him.” The President is still polling better that Romney in many regions, including Ohio, but poll numbers are not election returns and, right now, it’s anybody’s race.

Empty Promises Headline 2012 Presidential Campaign

In Business, Economy, Education, Jobs, Local News, Media, National News, Opinion, Politics, Senior Lifestyle, Uncategorized on June 4, 2012 at 10:28 pm

By Gery L. Deer

Deer In Headlines
 

Remember when good oratory skills and talk of “change” at least seemed like a good start? The concept might have made a great slogan for candidate Obama’s election run, but there’s very little about it that would apply to his presidency. But would Mitt Romney have been able to achieve any greater success given the same circumstances? Probably not.

The president’s dismal job performance numbers and Romney’s complete lack of connection with those bringing home anything less than a seven-figure salary leave both of them a mediocre choice in November. So far, even the media can’t figure out what to say about these two.

In recent weeks, some of the biggest campaign headlines focus on relatively pointless issues like how much Obama is outspending Romney in advertising or the former governor sending hecklers to an event where the president was campaigning. It’s all fluff and no substance – again.

If something doesn’t happen to really define these candidates, the country may see a repeat of the 2008 election when many Americans were just tired of “W” and hisWashingtoninsiders. Most were happy see him gone but neither did they want a left-wing, America-downing liberal or even another Republican crony. So, who better to put in the White House but an untested, junior senator from Illinois?

As they say at Wrigley Field, “Swing and a miss.” Instead of the hopeful changes promised by the Obama camp, the country slipped deeper into recession and near depression-level unemployment which, incidentally, has yet to return to pre-Obama numbers.

But wait, there’s more. Challenging the president this fall is another millionaire – yes President Obama is a millionaire several times over – the Massachusetts Mormon, former Governor Willard Mitt Romney. Here’s a man so rich and out of touch he seemed in one speech to actually believe that every housewife has two Cadillacs and a summer home inCalifornia.

Why is Romney so out of touch? It might have something to do with that silver spoon sticking he always seems to be gagging on. Despite his profession of “humble beginnings” and being a “self-made man,” he attended Stanford, Brigham Young University in Provo, UT, and finally Harvard.

Given that kind of background, it’s highly unlikely he has any idea what it would be like to have to stand in an unemployment office or apply for some kind of welfare assistance after a layoff. But financial extremism is a problem for both parties in this election.

While the liberal left whines about conservative campaign funding from big business, the president is filling his war chest with least as much from the millionaire actors and studio execs inHollywood. Well, at least both parties are getting their cash from people who make a living off the public while pretending to be what they’re not.

 It’s likely that the 2012 election will come down to two things – the economy and jobs – something neither candidate has much to crow about. However, no one can really be congratulated for that. Many experts suggest that the economy would have eventually recovered in a natural progression without sinking billions of tax dollars into the problem.

However it plays out, in order to reach the voters, Obama and Romney will each need to stop the mud-slinging campaigns and tell the public how they will make things better. So far, all they’ve done is rail against each other. Without some real substance and a plan to get behind, the undecided voter will be stepping into the polls simply to choose the lesser of “who cares.”

Political Autobiographies: Style Lacking Substance

In Entertainment, Local News, Media, National News, Opinion, Politics, State News on August 29, 2011 at 10:24 pm

By Gery L. Deer

Deer In Headlines

 

Between Joe Biden’s spray-on tan and Michele Bachmann’s fashion faux pas, the political stage has never been graced by such a ridiculous cast of insubstantial people. It’s amazing how many people of lackluster quality can gain the attention of so many Americans.

As the kings and queens of shameless self-promotion, each one spends most of his or her time in front of a camera criticizing the other guys for doing the same thing. Of course, that’s part of their job, but running for the highest office in the land should depend more on substance than style. Sadly, however, that’s just not how it works on modern politics. Today it’s all about marketing.

Getting the word out to the mush-brained masses requires use of every media trick in the book, old and new. All those 2012 Republican nomination hopefuls are jetting around the country doing television interviews and giving stump speeches in the hopes that they will be the next tenant at1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Seemingly in three places at once, these people maintain an almost inconceivable campaign schedule. One way to disseminate as much information as possible is by writing an autobiography.

Books are a great way to control what information is given out about a candidate, but they’re almost never written by the politician. When political heavyweights want to write a newspaper column or a book, they often use a ghost writer.

Ghost writers are authors who write material that is officially credited to someone else. The ghost writer does the research and develops the manuscript, sometimes with little or no  intervention on the part of the person whose name eventually ends up in the byline.

Some publishers will print only a limited run of political autobiographies to generate as much revenue as possible while the subjects are in the media headlights. With the help of reasonably good writers, political biographies can be interesting and informative, even though they’re just a 300-page brochure for the candidate. Unfortunately, there are times when the political figure has too much influence over a manuscript.

Here’s an example from Sarah Palin’s book, Going Rogue: An American Life. “I was sitting next to the stove, patching up little Gopher’s North Face jacket, when I got the call (to be John McCain’s running mate), and I figured, gosh-a-mighty, why not? Well, they scoot me down toDayton — and let me tell you, that place could use a new coat of paint…” And she goes on to say that theDayton reporters will, “Twist and turn my words so I look like an idjit.”

It gets worse from there. Did she actually use the word, idjit? Unless she was trying to get a part in a movie opposite Yosemite Sam, the reporters wouldn’t have needed to do much to make twist her words. In fact, it would take more effort to untwist them enough to understand exactly what it was she had said in the first place. Clearly, there are times when a ghost writer is not only an option, but a necessity.

Once released, political autobiographies have a short shelf life and quickly end up in the bargain rack.  Publishers do their best to cash in on these projects while there is still widespread demand for information.

Without question, there is a broad audience for this material and, at least initially, most of these books sell very well – some better than others. Barack Obama’s two books for example, Audacity of Hope (2006) and Dreams From My Father (1995), both of which he wrote before ascending to the presidency, have sold nearly a half-million copies.

In the past, a politician could only get a book published if he or she had made some significant contribution. Today, however, the trend seems to be in writing the book before ever doing anything and cashing in on 15 minutes of fame.

 

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist based inJamestown. Read more at http://www.deerinheadlines.com.