Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mister Knows Most of It

The third love of my life (aka my wife) is currently here visiting her daughter and tormenting me. I guess that I was not a good boy last year and “that invisible man in the sky” has decided to punish me.

But I will admit that she does have her moments. The other day asked two questions about the Presidential Inauguration. Why was held in January, when the weather is so miserable in Washington D.C. and why Inauguration Day wasn’t a National Holiday (so that more people could attend or watch it on television).

Being a “Mister Knows Most of It”, like my friend Richard Feder, I gave a snappy reply. She bought my answers; they made sense, whether they were correct or incorrect. That’s the good part about being a “Mister Knows Most of It”, if you are right 75% of the time, people tend to believe you are right the other 25% when you don’t know Jack about the topic. The quicker you answer, the more believable you become.

In a telephone conversation with Mr. Feder (he’s right 75% of the time and answers quickly) last night we discussed the issue of the January Inauguration. We both knew that Inauguration Day had been in March and that it was changed to January in the Twentieth Century. Feder then tells me that it was change to lessen the transition time between Presidents. This made sense – so I bought his answer.

My next question was is why we hold our elections on the first Tuesday in November? He answered that it was because of the Farmers (at that time we were primarily an agrarian society). He also informed me that it isn’t always on the first Tuesday (if the first Tuesday falls on November first - All Saints Day – all of the farmers would be in Church rather that at the polls). Feder is usually 75% correct so I believed this without looking it up.

Here is my proposition. If after one year Barack Obama is doing a good job and has a high approval rating, we should change the dates of the General Election and Presidential Inauguration. I believe it will take a Constitutional Amendment to do so. We change Election Day to the first Tuesday in April and Inaugural Day to June 20th.

Why did I choose these dates?

First, it will remind the voters of their tax obligation and what the current President has done to relieve their burden. And the day before the Summer Solstice is usually a nice day.

The Beach Bum

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Blogger Rob said...

So, I can follow why January was chosen, but why not earlier in the month - or on the 1st?

I like your idea of shifting elections to April, but even more so, I favor the notion of limiting the massive campaign spending. I think each candidate should have the same (limited) amount of funds with which to mount their campaign. Seems like that would put things on a somewhat more even playing field and also eliminate the massive squandering of millions of dollars, something impossible to justify even when we're not in the midst of a nearly-unprecedented economic downturn.

Thu Jan 22, 03:13:00 PM  
Blogger Steve Skinner said...

I like you plan and the rational behind it. Has the wife left town yet or are you still suffering?

Thu Jan 22, 07:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good ideas bad you don't have a say in how the govt is run today....

HELL any thing that makes sense would get you banned from Washington DC any way.

Tell the wife to bite your butt, but that might lead to other stuff too....

Just keep writing son...


Thu Jan 22, 08:55:00 PM  
Blogger alfredo_tomato said...

Rob, Jan 1 is too close to the holidays. Most lawmakers need a few days to "dry out", find their car keys, then find their way back to DC.

Actually, the money spent on campaigns goes right back into the economy. A lot of people, from caterers to carpenter,s make money from campaigns. Back in 2004 a small group of us started a grassroots political group. We spent only $5,000, but that money went to printing shops, computer shops, local utilities, phone lines, hardware stores, property owners, and the local pizza shop. Volunteers like pizza.

Campaigns are also very good teaching tools. Young volunteers learn real world skills. One got into law school with a full scholarship, another landed a great job for a homeless Veterans advocacy group. One disappeared into the hungry maw of DC and hasn't been heard from since.

One volunteer from 2006 got picked up by the Sierra Club in Edmonton Alberta. She rose through the ranks, has taken leave and is touring the world.

Campaigns seem wasteful but they aren't. They are a good thing for our economy, and a good thing for people and their communities. ( Denver and St Paul raked in the cash from the conventions )

Thu Jan 22, 10:30:00 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

Good points Alfredo, but I still think there are so many better uses for the mounds o' money piffled away on election campaigns. Oh I'm fine with the money being pumped back into local economies with caterers, ad agencies, etc., but how much better would it be for even a small percentage of those monies to instead be used to bail some of the rising waters out of the sinking ship that is our public school system in most communities?

Or rather than squander all of that money on lavish dinners - often held to raise even more money that'll be wasted on more dinners - imagine the good it could do to instead use that money for women's centers or homeless shelters.

All of those things could pump money right back into the local communities, but perhaps in a considerably more meaningful manner - and one that has the potential to be more than just a temporary economic bump.

Fri Jan 23, 01:18:00 AM  
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