Sunday, September 12, 2010

As It Stands: Are you interested in a new process for picking politicians?

By Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard

Posted: 09/12/2010 05:51:12 AM PDT

Today, I would like to propose a new process for selecting politicians at all levels of government. Candidates would not be allowed to campaign until 30 days before election, to accept political donations from lobbyists, or to spend more than a $100 of their own money in the process.

The current system of buying political office, as demonstrated by California's Meg Whitman, who has spent $99 million of her own thus far to purchase the governorship, would cease.

Under my new system, all candidates compete in three events, a series of competitions where everyone plays on an equal field. Judges determine winners by most points accumulated. For event No. 3, the public would join in the final determination.

 The first event will be the “Hot Air Competition.” As we all know, Global Warming is caused by large concentrations of politicians meeting daily worldwide. In this event, two opposing candidates will be put in a 12' x 12' glass cubicle for one hour and given a topic to debate.

For example, “Cockroaches versus Centipedes -- which is the bigger pain and where should funding for this study come from? The loser will be the first person who can't stand the heat and steam from the build up of incendiary rhetoric/hot air and bolts outside. Or crawls out. Whatever.

In the case of a draw, the contest will be extended for 15 minutes, up to three times. Contest organizers will rely on the fact that no human being (not even a politician) can survive the temperatures generated by an hour and 45 minutes of debate in a room that small.

Next, we have the “Broken Campaign Promises Dash.” Each candidate will submit a list of 12 campaign promises to the judges. The contestants, decked out in running clothes and packing cell phones, will line up on a standard one-mile track.

When the gun goes off, they break into a run while speed dialing their contacts. The idea is to see how many of those campaign promises can be broken before they cross the finish line.

Additional points will be awarded for most complete reversals. The public can be assured the biggest and best bull-s****r will take office, based on this race. Governor or president, the public will know what they're getting.

Then there's the “Mud Slinging” competition. The average American is already familiar with this event. Current office holders are professional mud-slingers with some boundaries. For this contest all pretense of civility and boundaries will be set aside. Two candidates will trade foul verbal obscenities that would usually be bleeped on public airwaves.

Faint-hearted viewers/listeners who come to this free-for-all will be warned that the air turns blue. Each contestant has ten minutes to revile the other and repudiate any alleged criminal offenses. In true democratic style the audience, both live and on television, will select the final winner via a sound meter.

The idea for these three events goes back to 1991, when I wrote an As It Stands column for The Desert Post Newspapers in the Coachella Valley on the possibility of a Political Olympics. It too, dripped with satire.

Since that idea hasn't gone mainstream -- and the International Olympic Committee said thanks for sharing, but go away, I salvaged these three events to be recycled here. Our election process is a pathetic joke at best, and maintaining a sense of humor may help us overcome hurdles like living with clueless leaders.

With November elections looming, you'll have to move fast if you'd like to see our current election process revamped, as discussed here. Starting a grassroots movement in Humboldt shouldn't be too hard. We have our share of people dissatisfied with the current political system.

I'm looking for people who are sick of our current electoral process, and who would like to circulate petitions for my proposed election method. Let's organize state and national voters to call for this transparent election process, nationwide.

As It Stands, as you may have surmised, I don't have any politician pals, and I attribute that to good living.

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