Bounce House

Today’s post comes from Minnesota’s 9th District Congressman, representing all the water surface area in the state, the Honorable Loomis Beechly.

Beechly Uses The Smooth Lake Surface as a Teleprompter

Greetings Constituents, non-Constituents, All Pontoons in my District and all Ships At Sea,

I hope you all had a chance to watch the two political conventions over the past couple of weeks. I loved them both and after each one I wanted to vote for the party that had entertained me! That’s the way I am – I can’t help it. I think I share that tendency with most Americans.

We like the people we see on TV because they’re on TV and we’re not and we know that’s a Big Deal, even today when TV is not nearly as important as it used to be. A week’s worth of televised political speechifying that goes in one particular political direction does tend to have an effect on the viewing public, much in the same way a bunch of ads for Budweiser run over a short period of time will get people to buy more beer. It doesn’t much matter whether the product is any good – if it’s being talked up on TV people will respond. A large part of our economy has been built on this predictable effect.

So it is with the political candidates. Each one got a “bounce” in the opinion polls immediately following the convention.

Romney and the Republicans received a mild lift in terms of the electorate’s response in the few days following their shindig in Tampa, and Obama’s Democrats got an 8 point surge after the conclusion of festivities in Charlotte.

Like a small wake from a passing canoe, it appears Romney’s bounce passed quickly and faded to almost nothing by the time it reached shore. The Obama swell is bigger, and could be longer lasting. But will it take him all the way to election day? That remains to be seen.

But it makes me wonder – if having your gathering and its parade of loyal faces on TV assures even a small rise in the polls for each party, how long will it be before one of them decides to roll the dice and hold their convention, not two months ahead of election day, but during the week right before polls open?

Well why not?

We’re already messing with the voter laws, talking about putting an ID requirement in the Minnesota Constitution. The campaign season is too long – everybody knows that. And the big, big money comes out with a barrage of TV ads in the last few days before voting anyway! Why not move everything there?

In each case we already knew who the nominee would be – no surprise there if we wait. In fact there are no surprises at all at the political conventions anymore. There’s nothing to keep them from being held during the last week in October. And if they had done it like that this year, the Wednesday night speeches would have happened on Halloween!

Think of it.

The American people love Halloween. It is our own version of Mardi Gras, and we would embrace any political party that included a Halloween extravaganza as part of their convention. Wild costumes and elaborate make-up create great television images, and the spirit of the observance makes it logical for a candidate to literally demonize his opponent. Halloween night would be, for example, a great night to bring out Clint Eastwood talking to an invisible presence in an empty chair. Suddenly it all makes sense!

We the People have already shown that we have short memories. Why not truly take advantage of that and put on a show just before we have to decide? It works for American Idol and Dancing With The Stars. I believe this is where we are headed!

I wrote this all down as a blog post to share with you all so that you can remind me of it in four years. Otherwise, how will I remember?

Your Congressman,
Loomis Beechly

I think Rep. Beechly has a terrible idea here that is so bad, it will probably come true. By 2020, look for the conventions to start migrating into October as Halloween and Election Day slowly merge. Boo!

What are your ideas for improving the electoral process?

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43 thoughts on “Bounce House”

  1. Unfortunately there are other folks who think like Rep Beechly. That is why there will be plenty of TV touting the candidates the week before the election. Luckily for us we don’t live in a swing state or it would be even worse.

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  2. Good morning. What would I do to improve the electoral process? Get better candidates. I think we are always having to choose between the least of two evils. I know this probably will not happen any time soon and some might think that the Democrats or even the Republicans have offered some good candidates. We should at least get a chance to hear from canidates like those put forward by the Green Party. Why aren’t they included in the Presidential debates?

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  3. Positive deception like when you change the parameters so that you don’t have to lie?

    Throwing the ball easy to a little kid so that he succeeds and develops a good attitude toward the game.

    Giving every kid a trophy so they don’t get discouraged.

    Putting everyone in the school on the Honor Roll so that they all feel smart.

    “Many people need desperately to receive this message: ‘I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them. You are not alone.'”
    – Kurt Vonnegut

    do you think if we told everyone we would give them 5000 dollars that could beat their no new taxes deal? i think michele bachman would vote for that. ust dont tell them where we are goig to get the money to pay for it with until later. (from the 1%)

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  4. Is there any way the money that is needed can be obtained from the 1%? They just want more money, don’t want to even come close to paying their share, as far as I can tell, and they seem to have the power to make sure that they keep their money.

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  5. Uffda – don’t get me started!
    – can’t start campaigning until June of election year
    – run-off voting
    – accurate lie detectors worn during campaign speeches that would correct erroneous facts
    – no exit polling numbers available till the day after election day
    – no PACs
    I know I’ll think of others today when I can’t get to a ‘puter – this should be an interesting baboon day!

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      1. i dont think there would be much left to say if you eliminated false and misleading from the discussion. what else have they got? really!!
        if you talk health care and told them the we would model it after mayo where it is a non profit and the doctors dont get rich form operating,and the owners of the insurance companies tax base is less important than the care of the sick. id be for that but i dont think t would fly
        stronger national defense? eliminate halliburton and the like and tell me how you are going to save the world without spending 100 million a day on bombs to clear em out and hummers to partol the roads that are booby trapped to blow up the hummers that patrol the roads. now thats what i call saving the free world.
        the hawks start the war, obama cleans it up and readies the troops to leave they say we are weakening our presence in the world.
        you know it goes on and on and on…
        painting the story with misdirection and misleading balderdash is what we are made of.
        i used to love the golden fleece awards by wisconsins proxmeier

        http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/dictionary/index.asp?action=view&term_id=15149&term_type_id=3&term_type_text=things&letter=G

        i suggest we com up with a silver tongued devil award for the slickest liar and truth bender out there.
        we could have americas big fat liar award too with a rush limbaugh (or pillsbury doughboy) statue as the award instead of the oscar. we could look forward to the election as they would certainly be prime fodder for awards shows for years to come.

        paul ryan could be a huge winner for years to come. he is so young.he could be around for for a long long while. just think about it. every time you needed a chuckle, go see what paul ryan thinks is an important stance. ha ha ha ha . oh i get sore sides just thinking about it. and theres mitt standing there next to him trying not to look like a doofus. oh i am dying rotflmao. ha ha ha ha

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      2. If you follow the fact-checking articles carefully, you learn something discouraging. Quite a few ads that are terribly misleading are truthful in a narrow, distorted, technical way.

        I have a funny feeling that WP has decided I’m not a Blue Doily. Whoopee!

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      1. I agree with all of the above. However, it would not necessarily do away with election night coverage, because before there was exit polling there was still election night coverage. They actually waited for real numbers from real precincts where real people voted. Not that real people aren’t answering their exit polling questions, but it was different when you were just finding out results. I just can’t watch the coverage, where they predict the results based on 0.6% of the votes in plus the exit polls. (or some similar small percentage.)

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  6. Repeal Citizen’s United; maximum campaigning season of 6 months; immediate & public exposure of outright lies told by either side; disclosure of the billionaires (Romney has 33) trying to buy the office; a law demanding multiple tax returns; repeal of all voter ID laws; and distribution on the trail of every last cat without a home. Also, make vandalizing or stealing of campaign yard signs a felony ( In 2008, I had five 4X6 foot Obama signs stolen or destroyed).

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  7. Instant runoff voting is probably the single best thing that could happen. Voter ID is possibly the single worst.

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    1. how would instant runoff fix things. i am not clear on that one. is it because all the ralph nader voters would have dems second? ross perot would have been a gop spoiler. in this one im not sure who paul would mess up. or are you thinking more for local/state elections than the nationals?

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      1. Instant runoff voting eliminates the spoiler role – everyone gets to vote for their favorite candidate at the top. If you like Jill Stein, you could actually vote for her without making the Romney people rub their hands together in glee. So yes, in 2000 if the Nader votes in Florida had gone mostly to Gore as second choice, it would have tipped the state to Gore. In the long run IRV would likely increase voter turnout, by attracting voters who don’t gravitate to one of the two major parties.

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  8. I’m so disgusted with our elections I’m ready to try something original and different. Our so-called “debates” are a joke. I’m ready to let elections be decided by putting all the contestants in a game of “Survivor.” When Paul Ryan describes his plans for our future, I’m not sure we learn anything we can trust. But if we watch Mitt Romney eating sea slugs, we do actually learn something about him. We’d learn which candidates can form workable coalitions, which is important.

    Free John Bates

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    1. We could have much better elections if people would come forward and demand them. We don’t think we can do that, but we can, and the way things are going I think we should do it very soon.

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    1. Someone mentioned needing or wanting a Friendship bread starter. I brought one to tim at our last meeting…who was it that wanted one? I can bring it on Sunday if you will be at the meeting.

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  9. I don’t know that I have any fresh ideas – shorten the cycle, keep voter registration open and simple (and allow same-day registration across all states like Minnesota has), don’t allow corporations to donate to candidates…frankly, I think the best thing would be to have a national education/information drive much like the public health information drives, that would explain 1. the importance of each person’s individual vote and ballot, 2. where to go to register in their state to vote, 3. where to go to get non-partisan information about the candidates and issues (e.g., the Star Tribune and MPR candidate profiles and voter guides). As much as I would like folks to vote the way I choose to vote, ultimately I think just getting folks to understand why they should vote and participate and getting them to the polls to vote (which should never ever be difficult or an arduous process) is key. I don’t care who you vote for, I only care that you take the time to vote.

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    1. good article. it takes a huge misstep to get the independants and possible reasonable republicans to switch side. bachmann is pictured in the encyclopedia under huge misstep so this is a reasonable to celebrate the slip she is experiencing. i hope the rest of the gop experiences the same thing as the election and the tea party slant begins to swell and take over eliminating all reasonable conversation. when it is grover or nothing and all reasonable gop politicians get bumped out in favor of michele bachman clones we will begin to begin. i look forward to it

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  10. Morning all – missed you the last few days. Ben, wondering if we crossed paths in Chicago over the weekend; I certainly spent enough time in the car. And I wish I could have been with the baboon contingent at Rock Bend.

    As you’ve all probably heard me say before, I think that anyone who wants to be president is automatically disqualified by that desire. We should find someone who we think would do the job well and force him/her to take office. And then we should tell the forcee that if they don’t do a good job they’ll have to do another four years!

    But since that’s just my vision of an alternative universe, I agree with BiR and CB on chnages that are needed. We should definitely have run-off voting and limits to spending and definitely something has to be done about the negative ads. Gack.

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    1. Interesting idea – if you want to be president you’re disqualified. I have been reading a biography of Garfield (elected in 1880. Yes, I know that’s a while ago.) He actually gave a nominating speech for another candidate at the convention, and then was chosen to run anywhere. Clearly the delegates were allowed to change their minds. Also, he had a very relaxing few months between the convention and the election… The candidate didn’t campaign for himself. How different! And of course no TV or radio ads. But that – getting rid of TV and radio – would be a little extreme…

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      1. VS: were you at the Belvidere Rest stop? Otherwise we hung out on the North side. North Park University, Maggiano’s in Skokie, Target on Addison, North Park, hotel in Skokie, and Charcoal Delights on Foster. You? :-)

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        1. Near Northside and West Northside…. Truman College for the ACT and then Wooden Gallery for the wedding. We stayed out in River Grove (cheap hotel). Did not stop at the Belvidere rest stop.

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        1. Charles Guiteau shot Garfield only four months into his presidency. Not enough time to know what kind of president he would have been.

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        2. Thanks, Bill. He was trying to NOT be part of the factions that were going on at the time, but it’s really hard to tell what would have happened. On the other hand it was 1880. The world has changed a lot in some ways and not so much in others. How could that even be possible now, that a person could NOT run, and still get nominated?

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  11. We can talk all we want, nobody’s listening. When was the last time any of us heard a politician actually answer a question? And, everyone is talking at once. It’s such a cacophony of voices that I, for one, have a hard time discerning what’s going on. The problems facing us today, are so complex, yet we seem to demand answers that are easy, simple, and won’t require any sacrifice by us. We’re looking to reduce the issues to sound bites that look good on bumper stickers. I’m discouraged, to say the least, that apparently Romney’s message, whatever it is, appears to appeal to roughly half of the American people. Something’s drastically wrong with that picture. I agree with Crystalbay, Citizen’s United absolutely must be repealed.

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    1. A poll just in is stunning, PJ. Republicans in Ohio were asked, “Who do you give credit for the killing of bin Laden?” Only 15% gave it to Obama and a full 62% either credited Romney or registered “not sure”. North Carolina was even worse with a full 71% giving credit to Romney or “unsure”. Obama’s is pulling ahead since the convention, though, and the electoral college vote count is looking real good!

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      1. Fact Check!

        The actual poll numbers are a little more reassuring than that. In Ohio, 6% of Republicans gave Romney credit. The percentage rose a little if you single out Republicans that classified themselves as “Very Conservative” – 15% of that group thought it was Romney.

        In North Carolina, 15% of Republicans overall gave credit to Romney.

        In North Carolina, 56% said they weren’t sure – which, I have to believe mostly translates as “I know Obama is probably most responsible but I’m damned if I’m going to admit it”, and in Ohio, 63% credited Obama.

        Sources – examiner.com, palmettopublicrecord.org.

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  12. I would just like it if the candidates – and all who were elected – really wanted to do what was best for their constituents instead of just trying to show how terrible their opponents are and making promises to appease the people with the money to back their campaign, and then when they’re elected spending all their time trying to defeat the agenda of the opposite party – whatever happened to a little cooperation in order to better serve the people?

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  13. Did you know it’s officially a part of the Republican platform to oppose any attempt to abolish or reform the electoral college?

    It would be interesting to see what the response would be if Romney were to pull ahead in the popular vote but lose in the electoral college.

    A site I particularly like for translating poll data onto a very readable map is http://www.electoral-vote.com. It’s updated daily and keeps a running count of how the electoral votes will break down if current polls hold true. The site’s creator writes an excellent summary of what’s new and interesting in the campaign each day, and there’s a page tracking the Senate seats too.

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