An Independent’s Perspective on Politics: Battles behind the ’08 campaign

January 29, 2010

by Lance Traweek

Acclaimed political reporters John Heilemann and Mark Halperin revealed the real battle during the 2008 presidential election, uncovering a war of words among politicians who only thought they were whispering.

Topics of the book titled “Game Change,” include a Hillary Clinton meltdown on the trail, racially insensitive remarks from Sen. Harry Reid about President Barack Obama, as well as discussions from John McCain staffers about Sarah Palin’s inability to be vice president.

To many Americans, right now the book is an unnecessary distraction to an already distrusted government. These are the types of issues the media pounces on, forcing candidates to spend more money to counteract these claims.

But if you’re like me, the presidential primaries and election were a consistent pastime for entertainment.

Unfortunately, many candidates seeking office are fueled by political incentives and corrupted by money.

Drama within modern day elections seems to increase with every dollar spent and each passing day campaigning.

The old saying is true: More money. More problems.

The total spending by all presidential candidates from 1996 was $239.9 million, then there was an increase in 2000 to $343.1 million, and in 2004 it rose to $717.9 million.

I say all of this to say that American elections are too long and too costly. In England, elections are only one month.

Elections should be based on a candidate’s platform, not by the strategic capabilities of busy staffers and flashy media coverage.

These days, it seems that politicians are as popular as their pocketbooks.

At the same time, I will continue to watch. Staffers will keep on gossiping, while politicians will continue to put their foot in their mouths time and time again. An eager journalist will gladly print their misstep.

Upon the release of the controversial book, many went on damage control to make sure the allegations didn’t tarnish their image.

The D.C. drama on the Potomac won’t dwindle anytime soon. From Elizabeth Edwards to Cindy McCain to John Kerry, the authors knocked down the political levee of secrecy with enough force to flood the Watergate Hotel.

And as I wait for my copy of “Game Change” to be shipped from Amazon.com, I sure hope I get all $19.38 worth of drama and entertainment that I paid for.

Lance Traweek is a junior journalism and political science major from Monroe who serves as associate editor for The Tech Talk. E-mail comments to jlt044@latech.edu.