Tuesday, October 25, 2005

This is how it's done

I'm not the biggest fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger. His movies are okay. Predator was amazing and True Lies was fun as all hell. The Conan movies were pretty rad and the first two Terminator pictures were pretty bad ass, too. I've even met the man once and it's really, really, really hard not to like him in person. He's as charismatic as they come.

I read this on the Washington Post's website and thought I would post it here because it's about what I've been bitching about for a while. He actually fielded questions that were A) from the opposition and B) weren't handpicked.

This is the most admirable thing a politician has done in a long time as far as I'm concerned. Granted this seems like a one-time only thing, but the man seemed to have handled it with grace. I'd love to see the video. This is what I think we need in our political discourse. We need politicians that are willing to engage their supporters and detractors equally on a daily basis in a civil manner. They need to explain why they think what they're doing helps everyone. (Not stand in front of a podium and shout "neener-neener-neener-stay the course in the face of obvious failure-neener-neener-neener")

We need to take the careful scripting and stump speeches out of politics. We need to take speechwriters out of politics. If George Bush or John Kerry or Arnold Schwarzenegger or Charlie Rengel or whoever want to support something, they ought to be able to do it convincingly and in their own words. It think what has happened in politics is that it has become "Hollywood." You need someone behind the scenes to push your project (Karl Rove), you need to find money to pay for your message (lobbyists), you need to hire someone to write the message (Michael Gerson), then you need to find an actor (he doesn't even need to be charismatic or well read) to read the part (George Bush). Then you need to hire a gaffer, a good DP, some makeup and hair people, a props guy, a wardrobe guy to crack open a new shirt from walmart, a dialect coach to make sure that Bush is speaking some semblance of English, I can go on down the list.

We need to make politics more impromptu. What happened to Lincoln-Douglas style debates? What happened to putting your candidate on a train on one end of the country and stopping in every city between there and the other end of the country? Anyone could stop by, see the candidate and question him and call him on his bullshit. And as far as state elections, pack up a truck and go from city to city talking to people. And when these people need to sleep and eat, they can sleep and eat with "ordinary folks" and not some millionaire lobbyist in his mansion. That's a good way of avoiding all the Hollywood bullshit and a real good way to find out what your constituency actually cares about.

I want to commend Ah-nuld for taking a step in the right direction.

Also, we should get rid of this "President/Vice President" ticket business. We need two candidates, not four. You win the presidency, great. You lose, guess what, you're the vice president. It would keep the white house a lot more honest.

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