* The Lying And Inauthenticity: Campaigns in the United States have become exercises in trying to be "everything to everybody." Everybody is a hunter, everybody loves NASCAR, everybody is a diehard Christian, nobody is pro-abortion, everybody wants border security, everybody wants to see the deficit balanced, everybody respects our 2nd Amendment rights, everybody respects the Constitution -- what piffle!
If everyone actually believed all those things, we'd be running a surplus instead of a deficit, there would be no fights over judges, and the border would be secure already.
Granted, politics has never been the most honest profession, but when even people who support a particular candidate admit that they're backing a shameless liar, it's clear that integrity in politics has slid way too far down the hillside.
* Crazed Hyperbole: On the Left, comparisons of Bush to Hitler and wild claims that the United States is a fascist dictatorship have become so commonplace as to be blasé.
Allegations nearly as vile and most certainly as false -- like the United States invaded Iraq for oil and the 2000 and 2004 elections were rigged -- have become so ordinary that they could fairly be said to constitute mainstream thought on the Left.
It's not surprising that people have unkind things to say about their political opponents, but when it gets as over-the-top as it has been during the Bush and Clinton presidencies, it is not healthy for the country.
* Fake Objectivity From The Media: If Townhall claimed it was a neutral outlet despite having all rightward leaning pundits and having a staff that's almost wholly conservative, would anyone believe them? Of course not. But, mainstream media outlets -- where Democrats outnumber Republicans 10 to 1, liberals dominate the Op-ED pages, and the news is heavily slanted against conservatives -- regularly claim to be unbiased.
That's what drives people so crazy about the mainstream media: it's that they're every bit as biased as the people in talk radio and the blogosphere, but they try to pretend that they're not.
No wonder everyone hates and distrusts the mainstream media in this country. How could it be otherwise when they tell such boldfaced lies to the American public about their objectivity?
* Mainstreaming Conspiracy Theories: Off-the-wall crazy has become just another form of political expression.
On the Right, we've got goofballs who think the United States is about to be secretly merged with Canada and Mexico, presumably over the objections of the American people, Congress, and the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, on the Left, it's not unusual to hear people accusing the Bush administration of deliberately launching airplanes and missiles into our buildings in order to start a war that will make Halliburton a few extra bucks.
This sort of amazingly stupid drivel is written by prominent columnists and posted in the most influential mainstream magazines and blogs on the Right and Left.
Where's the sanity? Where's the responsibility? Why don't more people have enough chutzpah to say that this sort of moronic garbage doesn't deserve to be given any credence or column inches in any reputable media outlet?
* The Perpetual Campaign: We've gotten to the point that actual governance is being treated as markedly less important than campaigning.
The run at the presidency now features candidates spending a full two years on the campaign trail raising money and campaigning. Over and over again, important legislation is ignored so that symbolic votes on hot issues like the war can be held even though everyone knows that they're meaningless.
Instead of working on key issues like, let's say border security or Social Security reform, Congress looks for bills to attach earmarks to because that's how they believe you get elected, by bringing federal tax dollars back to their district to be used on comically useless Bridges to Nowhere, Liberace Museums, and buildings named after the Congressman who acquired the pork to fund them.
* Short-Term Thinking: Social Security is going to go into the red within a decade, Medicare costs are unsustainable, we're running a massive debt every year, and no matter how often the America people demand it, very little is being done to secure our borders or put an end to illegal immigration.
Where's the long term thinking? Where are the people working to build a country that will be better for our children than it is for us? Where is the concern for the long-term health of the country?
It's like watching two groups of kids using every dime of their allowance to buy candy without spending a moment thinking of what they'll do for money until their parents pay them again in a month.
* Lack Of Bipartisanship: I'm all for two-fisted partisanship and trying to beat the other side's brains out in the political arena, but things have gotten a little too far out of hand when we've got people cheering the deaths of their political opponents, comparing them to Hitler, falsely claiming that almost every election is rigged, and trying to prevent opposing views from being heard at all on college campuses.
There's a difference between a boxing match when the opponents shake hands after it's all over and a no-holds-barred street fight featuring knives and broken bottles. For the good of the country, there are a lot of people, particularly on one side of the political spectrum (cough cough, liberals, cough cough) who need to figure that out.
Granted, gridlock is generally a good thing in Congress, but it would be nice if the politicians in D.C. were willing to actually try to work together for the good of the country on occasion instead of only cooperating when they want to throw our money away on more pork or help out a lobbyist who has been spreading around a lot of campaign cash.
* The Primary System Is Broken: We now have gotten into a position where we have politicians campaigning for the presidency for a full year -- after which, we have all the primary states jammed together so closely that the race will probably be over in less than a month.
This produces a rash process where Iowa and New Hampshire have become more important than the other 48 states combined in deciding who our President is going to be. There's nothing wrong with having Iowa and New Hampshire in the first two slots, but the primaries should be better spaced out over at least a couple of months so voters can more fully examine the candidates after the first vote. The idea that each party's nominee for the presidency should in large part be decided by whoever spends the most money and time camped out in two tiny states is nuts.