Election year is about to arrive

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By Jim Clark

We're soon to arrive in 2008, which is a presidential year.

You could have fooled me. I thought the election has been going on for more than a year already.

Things change so fast you can ignore, or forget, what is past. What would your reaction have been if six months ago I told you that Mike Huckabee was a front-runner in Iowa among Republicans?

The thing that really frosts me is the celebrity entry into politics. I have no problem with celebrities running for public office. They have that right just as much as anyone, but I do think there should be some sort of campaign spending reform so that these rich stars can't buy their way into public office.

You never know how they are going to turn out. Ronald Reagan turned out to be a pretty good president. Jesse Ventura turned out to be a disaster as governor of Minnesota. Hey, remember, Jerry Springer was once the mayor of Cincinnati.

Last week I watched as Oprah Winfrey spoke on behalf of Barack Obama. Does this mean that Democratic primary voters should vote for Obama because Oprah says so? Can Oprah relate to the common voter in this country and what they want? Frankly, I think Obama is probably more qualified to do that than the big "O."

Remember Charlton Heston and his "cold dead fingers" comments. Why should I listen to Charlton Heston? Does he think I'm going to make up my mind how to vote based on what he has to say? I don't need a fake Moses telling me what I should believe (the real Moses, maybe, but not a fake one).

There's an old saying, "All politics is local," credited to Tip O'Neill, former Speaker of the House. Nowadays, that doesn't seem to always be true.

With local politicians, you can walk up to them, talk to them, discuss issues with them. Do you think you can do that with Obama, Hillary Clinton or Huckabee, or John McCain, or Rudy Giuliani? If they're visiting, you might get five seconds with them, but that's about it.

Still, with television, you can listen to them speak, listen to them debate, listen to them discuss the issues.

I think that most people are intelligent enough to let those things be their guide. If that's so, Oprah can go back to her talk show and entertain her viewers, and not try to use her power and money to influence voters.

But just think, only 11 months to go before the end of the 2008 campaign, or the start of the 2012 campaign. Both those events happen on the same day.

Jim Clark is the editor of the Williston Pioneer Sun News. He can be reached at editor@willistonpioneer.com or at 528-3343.