Thursday, November 02, 2006

I Want To Be Left Alone

During the 2004 election season, Illinois was counted so firmly in the Kerry camp, neither presidential candidate mounted much of a campaign in the state. Not even a peep from the Swift Boaters. I felt like screaming, a la Glenn Close in “Fatal Attraction”: “I will not be ignored.”

Ah, what a difference sinking approval ratings and a quagmire in Iraq make. During this year’s battle for control of the House and Senate, several key congressional districts are up for grabs in the suburbs of Chicago. And we’ve also got ourselves a semi-competitive governor’s race. With less than a week to go before E-Day, it’s all attack ad, all the time.

Make. It. Stop.

I have pared down my television viewing to “Gilmore Girls,” “Lost,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and Hot Topics on “The View” (dammit, I love Rosie O’Donnell). At that, I can not escape the inevitable onslaught of he-said, she-said posturing from the likes of Tammy Duckworth, Peter Roskam, Mark Kirk, Melissa Bean, Dan Seals, and Judy Baar Topinka (anyone else think she has a sort of simian look, like an extra from “Planet of the Apes”? Not even just a little?) Republican, Democrat, at this point I don’t care—I am sick of them all. If they’re even half as heinous as they portray one another to be, why the hell do we want them representing us?

The irony, of course, is that I couldn’t actually cast a vote for any of these candidates, assuming I’d even want to. My own district is safely held by Rahm Emmanuel, who emails me every once in a while but otherwise stays out of my face. For all I know, he’s running unopposed.

I just want things back the way they were. I want my airwaves clogged with promotions for Lipitor, Crestor, Lunesta and the “purple pill.” I want the Vonage jingle—woo-hoo, woo-hoo-hoo—stuck in my head all day long. I do not want to hear the words “what was she thinking” ever again.

The respite is sure to be brief. The parties are already cranking up their PR machines for the 2008 primaries. My fellow Illinoians (Illini?) we must act fast. We must join with Oprah and beg Barack Obama to run for president. If for no other reason than he won’t feel a need to pander to his home state, and his opponents will write us off as enemy territory. Granted, there’s a flaw in this plan, as it opens up a senate seat, but I don’t see anyone else stepping up with an alternate strategy.

Good god, there’s Peter Roskam again in his Speedo.

Run, Barack, run.

* * *

I just have to make special mention of David McSweeney’s ads (looking to oust one-term incumbent Melissa Bean) in which he says he will “reform Congress.” This is funny for two reasons. One: He’s a Republican. So if Congress needs reforming, hasn’t he pretty much just insulted his own ruling party? And wouldn’t ousting Republicans from the majority be part of the reform process, not sending more of them to the capitol? Second: He’s not Jimmy Stewart and this isn’t “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” There are 500+ members of Congress. David McSweeney is not going to single-handedly change the way this institution does business. But if he’s elected, let’s all be sure to hold him to that promise.


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