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All right already

Aug 11, 2014 - By Steven R. Peck

Surely there is more for our candidates to talk about than hatred of the federal government

From the looks and sounds of this year's political candidate debates heading into the Aug. 19 primary, it seems time for a declaration that will save everyone a lot of time -- and make the debates more interesting as well.

So, let it be known from this point forward that each and every Republican candidate for each and every office on this year's primary ballot will "fight the federal government." Proclaim it here, now and henceforth that each and every Republican candidate in this year's primary election despises President Barack Obama and believes that anything and everything he has done as president, is doing as president, and will ever do as president, and in the rest of his life, for that matter, is abhorrent, unpatriotic and idiotic.

All Republican candidates will hereby swear that the federal government is an inherently corrupt institution which intrudes unfairly and unnecessarily in every aspect of existence, and which erodes quality of life of all Americans.

Let us proclaim and affirm these things now, so that the next round of political debates doesn't have to spend so much time on them. That way, voters could find more about what actually qualifies a particular candidate for a specific office. It is fine to learn that you hate the government. Now, please tell us why you ought to be elected secretary of state. Or governor. Or state superintendent. Or county commissioner. Or state legislator.

Surely there must be more to the job than federal bashing. Because in those offices, once you have spent the requisite part of your day fighting the federal government, you actually will have to perform the specified duties of the position. And the last time anyone checked, there was no elected office called "Federal Government Fighter."

Jokes aside, it is serious business to seek and hold elected office. And it is serious business to cast your vote for a candidate. But that seriousness of purpose and obligation is short-changed when everything is boiled down to the same, simplistic bromide that doesn't elaborate on the candidate's qualifications and characteristics.

Nor does it test the voters' qualities of analysis and evaluation if the only thing that is required to qualify person for elective office -- or, apparently, the only important thing -- is hating the federal government. If that is the case, then there is no basis for choosing our elected officials because every candidate already holds an identical position to every other candidate.

Is there truly nothing more to say? Do self-respecting candidates have nothing more to offer of themselves than their undying hatred of the feds? How, then, voters supposed to make a decision at the ballot box?

What if a voter wants to know something about a candidate other than his or her position on federal opposition, which the voter knows already? One reader made a suggestion that doesn't sound all that bad, namely, calling for a show of hands at the beginning of a debate from all GOP candidates, acknowledging that they abhor the federal government, followed by an agreement that this topic is off-limits for the rest of the debate.

Then, we could hear the qualifications of the particular candidate for the particular office. We could hear the varying positions on the various issues that actually have something to do with the day-to-day operations of the office and the obligations of the job.

It is becoming tiresome for voters to be asked to watch and listen to political debates when one topic takes up the vast majority of the allotted time. It diminishes all of us when it is presumed by the candidates, and accepted by the voters, that there is only one topic worth discussing.

There is much more to our state, our county, and our communities than the readily and unquestionably accepted majority position of opposition to the federal government. So let's acknowledge that fact ahead of time and get on to something that can help voters make an informed decision based on more than a single issue.

The primary election is now just eight days away. We have a busy ballot, and voters have some important decisions to make. They deserve more than endlessly repeated platitudes on the same topic -- and they ought to demand more as well.

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