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Clippings: Elections: Blather, rinse, repeat

Remember the movie “Groundhog Day”? The 1993 comedy starred Bill Murray as a curmudgeonly television weatherman who was forced to live the same day over and over. No matter what he did, every morning he woke up it was Feb. 2, Groundhog Day. His radio alarm jolted him awake each morning with the same Sonny and Cher song.
“Babe, I got you babe…”
Remember the movie “Groundhog Day”? The 1993 comedy starred Bill Murray as a curmudgeonly television weatherman who was forced to live the same day over and over. No matter what he did, every morning he woke up it was Feb. 2, Groundhog Day.
“Babe, I got you babe…”
You get the idea. Anyway, around election season I am reminded of that movie over and over and over again because national politics is just like “Groundhog Day,” without all the funny parts. Or Bill Murray. Every day I wake up, turn on the news and I don’t know if it is 2012 or 2008 or 2004 or 2000. Are we being forced to live the same election seasons over and over again? Sure, candidates come and go (although some keeping popping up like the pesky groundhog from that other Bill Murray comedy, “Caddyshack”), but does anything really change?
The Republican primary debates, something like 15 so far, have produced more in the way of personal attacks, blank stares, factually inaccurate statements and fumbling than anything of substance. And why does watching the debates remind me so much of the animatronic Hall of Presidents at Disneyworld? It looks impressive, but there is not much point in seeing it twice, let alone 15 times. Also, I think I am starting to see the seams in Rick Perry’s plastic face.
The little substance that has come out of the debates boils down to this: “Washington is broken thanks to a Democrat in the White House and only I, (insert candidate name here), can fix it because I am an outsider who can get things done.” Do you remember what G.O.P. candidates were saying in 2008? “Washington is broken thanks to Democrats in Congress and only I, (insert candidate name here), can fix it because I am a rebel who can get things done.”
“Babe, I got you babe…”
Now, before some of you start throwing stones at me, let’s look back at Obama in 2008. Before the New Hampshire primary he implored us to join him and help change the world. Washington was broken thanks to eight years with a Republican president and only he could fix it. Umm, I think when I woke up this morning Washington was still broken.
“Babe, I got you babe…”
So will things ever change? Big money has more and more influence. Our debt grows and grows. Affordable healthcare gets further and further out of reach. And the middle class shrinks smaller and smaller. Just a little more than 50 years ago President Kennedy asked us to think not about what our government could do for us, but what we could do for our government. He also pledged that we would go to the moon before the decade was over. And we did. Not because it was easy, he said, but because it was hard. Candidates aren’t asking anyone for sacrifices or hard work these days. It seems to me that they just sling mud and promise us easy ways out because more than anything else they just want to get elected.
How did Bill Murray get out of his endless loop in “Groundhog Day”? For one thing, he spent several thousand Ground Hog Days learning to play a mean blues piano. I don’t think that will help, but he also learned that kindness and courage and truth and love rule the day. I know it’s a cliché, but clichés are clichés for a reason.
“Then put your little hand in mine, there ain’t no hill or mountain we can’t climb. Babe, I got you babe…” (Sonny and Cher also rule the day.)

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