Beware the Terror of Campaign Bloat

As a recovering political junkie, I was prepared for Campaign ’08 to showcase all sorts of horrible visions that would threaten to throw me back off the wagon. Needless to say, I assumed these would all be thanks to the candidates, but nooooooooo. Their supporters have got in on the act as well, seemingly immune to that which Dr. Thompson once called “Campaign Bloat”:

Many appeared to be in the terminal stages of Campaign Bloat, a gruesome kind of false-fat condition that is said to be connected somehow with failing adrenal glands. The swelling begins within twenty-four hours of that moment when the victim first begins to suspect that the campaign is essentially meaningless. At that point, the body’s entire adrenaline supply is sucked back into the gizzard, and nothing either candidate says, does, or generates will cause it to rise again…and without adrenaline, the flesh begins to swell; the eyes fill with blood and grow smaller in the face, the jowls puff out from the cheekbones, the neck-flesh droops, and the belly swells up like a frog’s throat…The brain fills with noxious waste fluids, the tongue is rubbed raw on the molars, and the basic perception antennae begin dying like hairs in a bonfire.

Indeed. Now, I shouldn’t really have to write this, because most people already know it. In fact I’m sure they probably do, but some poor souls are too deep within the festering bowels of Campaign ’08 to keep it in mind. So, with brain planted firmly in bollocks, I say, from head-slappingly obvious experience:

Your candidate is not an extension of yourself, so don’t project your hopes, dreams, hang-ups, prejudices, and fears onto their carefully constructed personalities. Your candidate does not, deep down, care about you or about accurately representing you. They probably do not like you.

In fact they fear you—when they do not hold you in arrogant contempt—but that is only because you have the nominal ability to fire them if you ever get the stones to tear yourselves away from GTA4 and Dancing with the Stars and actually care.

Your candidate’s gargantuan ego has already impressed upon their psyche the horrible inclination to run for federal office, and as everyone knows, one has to be three kinds of crazy to even run for state office in this country, so remember to keep said brain flukes under consideration before making personal and emotional investments in your candidate and their campaign.

Your candidate doesn’t give a shit how many Facebook friends you have, or that you have enthusiastically signed up to be their Facebook friend. Your candidate is frankly puzzled as to why this whole internet thing has become the massive time-suck that it is, but nevertheless your candidate will be happy to pander to it just like any other potential constituency.

Your candidate will, while campaigning, employ some of the most emotionally unstable and personally vicious human sharks to ever swim in the sea of American politics, whose unstable personal polarity, though rendering them unfit for conventional social interactions, makes them nevertheless eminently qualified to staff the 21st century juggernaut of party apparatuses necessary to govern a far-flung corporate empire.

Your candidate will, while campaigning, associate with people whose views should not be projected onto that candidate either. Unless of course it will produce maximum embarrassment on all concerned (see ex. of Norris, Hagee, Dobson, Stallone, Bush, etc. etc.). Your candidate will probably be endorsed by said people, but don’t take it personally. They don’t really care about them either.

Your candidate will inevitably make you cringe with fear and loathing when they appear on the TV talking head shows, because your candidate is Not Cool. In fact, your candidate doesn’t care about Tweety or Stewart or Keef or Colbert, and neither should you, unless of course you need a cheap laugh. I hear that Comedy Central has all the kids in stitches these days.

Your candidate will, if nominated, pick a running mate under crass, self-serving, mutually beneficial circumstances. This running mate is now your de facto candidate as well, and all of the above will now apply to them too.

Your candidate will, if elected, happily proceed to disappoint you concerning issue X, annoy you concerning issue Y, and enrage you concerning issue Z. That damn Issue Z.

Your candidate will…

Eh, that’s enough of that, I guess. I may have bypassed Campaign Bloat and gone straight to the Vicious Brain Fluke stage. Oh well.