DEMOCRATS & Other Suspects 2004-08

by James L. Clark

The madness known as a "presidential-election-year" occurs in four-year cycles and throws the nation's population into a tailspin of sorts, or at least that part of it which pays attention. The advent of the radio made the cycles susceptible to nationwide scrutiny not furnished by the printed media since the speeches, especially those in the party conventions, could be heard instead of just read or read about, something few people would bother with, in any event. Indeed, the party conventions became the best entertainment in town during the quadrennial clambakes. The author remembers when, as a boy, he confiscated a whole box of raisins from the kitchen and spent the day and long evening by the radio, imagining the smoke-filled rooms and listening to the speeches and one roll-call after another – maybe even keeping score – until the winner was announced. The printed media and radio were/are important, but the advent of television changed everything, including the time spent on campaigns, once a few months but now a few years, so that the cycle-activity is never-ending. Citizens suffer boredom more than excitement as a result, seeing and hearing over and over the same stuff, superficiality virtually numbing the brain. Even more damaging to the process has been the primary elections beginning in the 1970s, which make the conventions into little more than exercises in intolerable egotistical antics by politicians – since candidates are chosen before the conclaves happen – as well as the equally intolerable performances by the TV talking-heads, who presume to tell everyone what everything means, notwithstanding what is actually said or done. In short, the excitement and the drama are gone.
In any case, 2008 calls to mind the last time – 2004 – that the big enchilada was up for grabs, perhaps with a smaller field in both parties, but not with less inanity…or maybe that should be insanity. Pundits and self-appointed Internet blog-meisters have had a field-day with political stuff, this writer included. So, the material in this book has been taken from the author's Web-site, beginning in 2004 not long before the election that year and continuing to 2008. It's a sort of chronological look at the process/cycle, using imaginary conversations among mostly the democrat candidates and their henchmen (okay, henchwomen, too, for the sake of diversity, the current social god) but also among other folks, such as politicians, fictional characters, and terrorists. In the mix is a series of imaginary memos dispatched by Howard Dean, chairman beginning in early 2005 of the Democratic National Committee. Various other things such as imaginary letters and memos and at least one imaginary sermon and one terrible imaginary poem are included. They deal almost exclusively with the democrats and terrorists, assuming that there's a difference, of course (only kidding). This nonsense is designed to invoke the readers' month-by-month memory of the political scene during 2004-08 (at least those who have paid attention), hopefully from the standpoint of humor and with virtually exclusive attention to what the democrat big-shots were up to. Okay…the whipping-boys (whipping-girls, too, recognizing diversity) in this book are the democrats, though republicans are susceptible deservedly to the same treatment by any writer who cares to bother. All candidates of all parties seem to take themselves far too seriously, but that doesn't mean that the citizens have to take them the same way. This doesn't mean that the candidates should be treated cavalierly…simply that they should be neither worshiped nor thought to be oracles. They're just human. Anyway, it's all in good fun!

This book [ISBN 978-0-557-07315-3] may be ordered at: DEMOCRATS & Other Suspects 2004-08 or requested at book stores and online booksellers, such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.