Tuesday, April 5, 2016

We've Only Just Begun

The two weeks of hype and hysteria end today, as Wisconsin holds its presidential primary.  Say goodbye to the candidates criss-crossing the state on a daily basis.  Don't check your local listings for news network town halls from Milwaukee or Green Bay anymore.  Clear your calendar of further protests or rallies.  After today, Wisconsin will be an after-thought among those in the national political arena.  By 9:00 tomorrow morning the only thing that will matter is New York--the next delegate-rich primary state--and those of us left behind will finally get to relax....for a little bit anyway.

Consider that we are still SEVEN MONTHS AWAY from the Presidential election.  Everything you experienced the past two weeks is just a preview of what we can expect if polls show Wisconsin is even remotely up for grabs in the general election.  The rallies will be bigger.  The protests will be angrier.  The celebrity endorsers will be "celebritier" (By the way, nice job by Tim Robbins yesterday in further alienating African-Americans from the Bernie Sanders campaign by saying that Hillary Clinton's black-vote-fueled win in South Carolina was like "winning Guam").  And the radio and TV ads will be nastier.

As the circus caravan rides out of town today, I'd like to salute the people who probably endure the greatest hardship in this process: the national reporters and photo-journalists who are "embedded" with these campaigns.  If you attended the multiple Ted Cruz or Bernie Sanders appearances in the Fox Valley the past two weeks you noticed that these candidates have a "stump speech"--from which they hardly ever stray.  Now imagine having to hear that same speech three or four times a day every day since just after Christmas.  That's why, those who follow these campaigns can be seen in the press area checking out their phones or perusing the internet on their laptop computers for nearly the entire speech--half-listening in case of a major gaffe that might actually be news-worthy.  I listened to three Sanders speeches and two from Cruz and I can pretty much recite them verbatim already.

There was one moment from the past two weeks that I did enjoy.  In introducing former President Bill Clinton at his appearance in Appleton last week, Senator Al Franken returned to his comedian roots and gave the possible "First Man" a little ribbing.  Franken claimed that Hillary is definitely smarter than Bill, works harder than Bill and could be considered more qualified for any job than Bill.  All he needed was to throw in a few one-liners about cigars and a blue dress and Al could have been slaying it at the local comedy club.  It was a nice reminder that despite all the attention they get, the people who have dominated the news the past two weeks really aren't that better than the rest of us.

So here's to our respite from Big Time Politics.  Enjoy it while you can.

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