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Exploiting Retired Elders

The Britney Lohan Campaign

The overblown dramatics by the Democratic presidential candidates and their spokespersons in the day-to-day primary season have no meaning. One gotcha blends into another within the period of a single news cycle as Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama try to turn flea bites into body-blows. Unless a smoking gun turns up (doubtful), none of it will ultimately matter if for no other reason than voters can’t remember all the trash talk.

The best idea is to ignore the ritual invective, but as a life-long, card-carrying political junkie, Crabby Old Lady is loath to enter rehab. So, while marveling at the pettiness of the peevish affronts and faux indignation from both candidates, she reads and listens for patterns, consistencies and contradictions in the candidates' overall behavior and rhetoric.

So far, Obama has a slight edge for his inclusive “we” to Clinton’s egotistical “I” (Crabby counted 46 in one Clinton speech), but neither candidate has said anything yet that impresses Crabby.

Clinton’s wonky policy proposals are beginning to force Obama into some of his own, but any candidate who gives us a detailed prescription for solving any of the nation’s frightening problems is being disingenuous. Events move quickly in our 21st century world, circumstances can change overnight and no one can predict what they will be in January 2009, or that they won’t be different in February 2009.

Crabby Old Lady is looking for leadership that is skillful, persuasive and flexible, someone who speaks to the terrible troubles we face as a country, and tells us what it will take to fix them which means - yes it’s going to hurt, none of it will be easy and it will involve each citizen as well as government.

Crabby wants to hear those words from candidates – then she will know they have something more to them than personal ambition - a quality necessary to win an election, but which must be left outside the White House door to accomplish anything good.

Candidates can be specific in laying out their goals for the United States without producing 80-page, footnoted position papers that will be outdated by inauguration day. It’s not hard.

Crabby would be heartened to hear Clinton and Obama (and McCain) say:

  • the Constitution has been trashed and must be restored

  • the U.S. has supported and committed torture and it must end

  • the economy has been wrecked by the power elite in both government and corporate America and that greed will stop, regulations will be enforced

  • the Iraq War has been a disaster and we need a way out while acknowledging that we bear responsibility for bombing that country back to Ur

  • universal healthcare is a human right and we’ll find a way to provide it

  • our infrastructure - bridges, roads, water, sewer systems - will be fixed

  • No Child Left Behind will be canceled and we’ll figure out how to improve our schools

  • unwarranted searches and surveillance of citizens will stop

  • there will be no more fooling around about the environment

  • a fair solution will be found for immigration

  • government ethics legislation will have real teeth

  • separation of church and state will be restored

  • every last political hack (thousands of them) appointed by the Bush administration to government agencies will be fired, replaced with non-partisan competents

  • earmarks will disappear entirely from legislation – let them be properly legislated

  • the wealthy elite have had it their way long enough, reaping collective trillions of dollars on the backs of the middle and lower classes and now it is their turn to pay it back

There is so much the candidates could talk about instead of giving exact dates for a pullout from Iraq, bickering over who said what about NAFTA to Canada along with declarations of who is best qualified to take a 3AM phone call. Crabby knows and you know that no one is.

The United States is overflowing with talent and expertise in all the fields of knowledge required to deal with the problems above and the others Crabby didn’t name. Few, when called to serve their government by a president, refuse. These are the people who can craft and implement solutions, and Crabby doesn’t need detailed roadmaps now. She needs to know that the candidates are aware of the problems and intend to do their best to find answers that are fair for the majority of the population regardless of money or position.

Further, it is the candidates who control what the media report. If Clinton, Obama and their spokespersons would consistently speak to the issues above, the media would have no option but to follow along.

Oh, sure, they’d continue polling and reporting the horserace, but far less if the candidates refused those questions, talked about real issues and gave the voters not specific solutions (no one person is smart enough to have all the answers) but a sense of the direction in which they are thinking.

Crabby Old Lady is starving to death on the political equivalent of Britney Lohan news.

[At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Lia turns an Afternoon Stroll into a charming story.]


Now THAT's a political agenda I can get excited about! Way to go -- and keep on telling it like it is.

Crabby Old Lady for President!!!
Let's show 'em what the Elder vote can do!!


Good for you, Ronni for actually detailing a list of "Reforms" that the candidates need to talk about.

BUT, just suppose,for example, Senator Obama starts to outline a program to replace "No child left behind". Will the people actually listen to his ideas and respond to them or would they rather take the "easy" way out and want to go back to the 3 A.M. argument?

What would Matthews,Hannity,Olberman,
Limbaugh talk about? THEY don't want to report the story; they want to BE the story. They would insist by their reporting that Obama get back to what THEY want to talk about, mainly in fighting between the candidates. Something juicy they can "tease" about every hour on the hour all day.. Tune in at (Fill in the blank).......

Ann Coulter would write a book making fun of both candidates. The cover would show Ann in her little black dress. You know the one, very tight, low cut, extremely short. Actually, I think it is a belt.

So, to be safe, both candidates stick to the issues that got them where they are. Who voted for the War 5 years ago?

Who do you want answering the phone?

Who would be number one on a compromise ticket? Would it be Clinton/Obama or would it be Obama/Clinton?

Who gets the Super Delegates?

Who pays for the "Do over" election in Michigan and Florida?


Awesome list of what the country needs this to be about! Agree they are both disappointing. (No, Mr. "bomb,bomb, bomb Iran" McCain doesn't even earn enough consideration from me to bother critiquing.) We need a Lincoln or an FDR -- we can't know whether what we're offered is anything more than a politician.

Crabby has stated some of the reasons the Kay wants to vote NO for president. I haven't seen anything that would encourage me to support any of the final three.

While I can agree with Kate's comment, my heart tells me that the idiocy in Washington would put Crabby crazy and I wouldn't wish that upon her.

Once again, Ronni, you eloquently organize and give voice to what needs to be said. Thank you so much for reaching beyond the superficial noisy nonsense and speaking for those of us who recognize and share your truth.

Why don't YOU run, Crabby??!!

And I laugh and shake my head. And I used to be so politically focused.

"but as a life-long, card-carrying political junkie"

I am one too Ronni.

Your list speaks the truth but no candidate or news person would touch it because it IS the truth and the hard truth is difficult to sell to a naive and uninformed public,


what does this mean?
"for bombing that country back or Ur"

Hi Chancy...

Ur was an ancient city in what is now Iraq that is believed to be one of the earliest-known civilizations.

Wouldn't it be nice if the candidates said those things?

I keep watching American politics and remembering the Bush and Gore fiasco and wonder if anybody, anywhere, will address the need ever for some kind of voting, electoral, caucus, senate seating reform. Can selections take this long? Sometimes I find the whole gambit as undignified as a new kind of civil warfare. And as silly as it may sound, it doesn't say much for the efficiency, fairness, and finiteness of giving people a voice or practicing democracy.

I say this apologetically, but in all honesty, because I'm not sure I have the right to say it. Sitting over here in Canada and looking in through CNN and other news channels.

Blessed to live and vote in two democracies, I would take most of your list and introduce the points here in Israel to inform conversations on "local" core issues and core strategic solutions that address core community goals. The double despair I feel is mitigated by your and others' (in both democracies) steady shining lights of reason, compassion, and memory.

I share your disappointment with Hillary and Obama. I never expected to hear much from McCain, other than stupidly expanding the Iraq war. But I had had hopes that the two surviving Democratic Democrats would be campaigning in a more inspiring and profound style. Where is Al Gore when we need him?

Thanks for putting into words many thoughts -- and even more -- that have been going through my mind. I've just felt so over-whelmed by it all I couldn't figure out how to write about it. You make it seem easy.

Now for the challenge -- getting your words here exposed to more people, including those candidates and others who purport to represent us. Maybe if I copy what you wrote and send it to others. I wish you had a column in a major print publication.

I agree with you on 90% of your "platform" but at a time when I think we might face another 8 years of "misrule" under "Mad Dog McCain"
(if he were to live that long) and ultimately the decline and fall of the U.S. and perhaps all of Western Civilization, I think it's O'Bama or else. He's not perfect (none of us are even close) but I believe that he can be trusted and that's a helluva lot more than I can say about the Clintons or McCain

I think we should write in Crabby Old Lady on the ballot!

Wonderful list. Ronni. If it could be pasted on the 'fridge' of every household and read once a day it would be great. (Providing anyone read it, of course.)

Thanks for this post...unlike Mr. Obama, it did give me hope. I am unhappy with all three candidates, increasingly so, and I agree with the earlier comment that it's very tempting to just vote NO in this elections. Thanks for your thoughtful posts in general. Peg

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