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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

At the beginning of the primary season, it seems the Democratic contenders promised us a bit too much.

Those expertly prepared Web sites and catchy slogans like "Change we can believe in" led us to anticipate a fresh approach to presidential campaigns.

Being relatively new to this whole voting for a national leader thing, we desperately wanted something to cling to. After the snooze fest that was John Kerry's run for president, we needed to believe that this time would be different. However, as with a boring blind date, we may have had the audacity to hope, but we were still let down.

As if the whole delegate debacle in the Florida primary wasn't enough, now we are forced to watch two very similar - and equally qualified - Democratic candidates rip each other to shreds on a daily basis through sound bytes.

Instead of uniting a damaged country in the midst of a recession and ongoing war, the two democratic hopefuls are dividing the very America they claim they want to lead. Despite these claims of change, they are showing us politics at its worst.

None of it is good for the electorate, especially the fragile young vote.

Take the most recent example of divisive tactics from last week.

When Barack Obama told a group of California donors that Americans in small towns "cling" to guns, religion and xenophobia out of bitterness over the economy, it was all Hillary Clinton needed to vilify him.

This weekend she stepped up her attack by affirming that Obama has no right to challenge gun owners or those who believe strongly in God.

She went on to call him "elitist" and "out of touch."

Of course, she seized the opportunity to highlight her own Midwestern upbringing in the attempt to emphasize her working-class background. We even found out she shot a duck as the first lady of Arkansas - because that really matters right now.

Despite this feeble attempt at spin, it has been hard for us to imagine that Clinton is in touch with the average working class American - no matter how many beers she has with steelworkers in Pennsylvania.

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And it doesn't make the election season any easier when the race for merely choosing a Democratic candidate has been so hotly contested.

Of course the real concern with this hurling of insults back and forth is what will happen when a frontrunner is finally chosen.

What the candidates need to understand is that, for most voters, it's not about who ducked into a plane on a Bosnian airstrip. It's not about whose pastor proliferated anti-American sentiment with his Sunday sermons. And it's certainly not about who will be ready to pick up an imaginary phone at 3 a.m.

What is needed this election is what no one is discussing by giving credence to these non-events. We want to know who will be able to bring our peers home from Iraq as soon as possible. We want to know who can make sure there will be jobs waiting for us when we graduate. We want to know who can see to it that the homes we purchase will not be worth less than what we paid for them.

And what we really need is to make sure the Democrats stop making it so easy for a "bomb, bomb Iran" candidate to make it into the Oval Office.

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