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Politics Getting in the
Way of Common Sense

It's the week of the Democratic Convention. The Democrats are trying to introduce their candidate to the nation while remembering to bash the incumbent. Republicans are attacking that same democratic candidate in every way they know how other than physically beating him up, also remembering to sing the praises of their highly controversial President. Some of the news media is caught up watching and speculating while other channels are stepping up their efforts to influence the upcoming election in their favor. The pundits are out on both sides, as are the bloggers, a phenomenon new to this election.

And meanwhile, the American public is paying more attention to Seventh Heaven or Summerland on the WB. Maybe they're the smart ones in all of this. Democracy is obviously very important, but perhaps it is wise to stay out of the middle of the political brawl that started a few days ago and will continue for the next few months.

I have seen what politicking at this level can do to people, and it appears that the first thing to go is common sense.

Look at Ralph Nader. Back in the 2000 election he ran against Bush and Al Gore. Between the two, his opinions and initiatives were clearly more compatible with Gore. Intentionally or not, Nader divided the Democrats who, like the Republicans, were mulling over two almost identical, moderate candidates. In many of the states where Bush won by a slim margin, had Nader been taken out of the equation, Gore would have won. This was even the case in Florida, although there were other forces at work in that state.

And a little over three years later, Nader has returned. Why? On the Daily Show, he told Jon Stewart that, "Anybody's better than Bush." But he's in the race anyway, and he even seems to have the delusion that he could be the underdog winner of the election.

Now he is trying to make a political point, and it happens to be one a lot of people, including myself, agree with. But making the point could cost him another four years under Bush. His effect on the last election is obvious, but here is politics getting in the way of common sense.

Next up is Bob Novak of CNN's Crossfire. On the episode in question, the topic was also about Ralph Nader. It turns out that the Republicans have cleverly decided to support both Bush and Nader in their elections. Several prominent Bush campaign contributors also made donations to Nader so that he could make it onto the ballot. The Republicans know that Nader takes more votes from the Dems. It's a smart move, even if a bit devious.

Where the Republicans have not been so smooth is denying the strategy. I bring up Bob Novak only because I remember his argument so clearly, but many of the conservative pundits were doing the same thing. They argue that Nader has a right to be in this election and that it is wrong for the Democrats to try to shut him out. Bob Novak wanted to know why the Democrats were so angry towards a guy just exercising his rights.

There goes the common sense. It is undeniable that most observant people, especially those on the news, know that Nader takes votes away from Democrats and not Republicans. It is undeniable that some Republicans have financially supported both Bush's campaign and Nader's. But because of their political agendas, Bob Novak and many others have lost their common sense.

Then there are the extremists like Michael Moore, Al Franken, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Ann Coulter. It's hard to know where to start on these people. Unlike most politicians, we can't be sure that the extremists have good intentions. Many seem to be watching out only for themselves, although that's the opposite of what they would say publicly.

Last night I saw Michael Moore in an interview refuse to acknowledge that Bush didn't lie about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Recent information has concluded that Bush had plenty of reason to say what he did about Iraq's weapons. Moore said that Bush presented information that wasn't true and, therefore, lied. But the definition of lying is to present false information with the intention to mislead. Moore should have said that Bush made a mistake and has refused to apologize about it, but it appears that politics got in the way.

Sean Hannity makes a regular practice of acting like he supports someone he actually opposes as long as it suits his political agenda. Back in the primaries he proclaimed his love for Joe Lieberman and constantly pumped up his popularity to far more than it ever was. Hannity just wanted to take the attention away from the candidates who really had a chance. This was not good news, nor was it even good television. It was politics clouding common sense.

Ann Coulter says all liberals are treasonous, and I'm not going any further than that.

From Republicans to Democrats, liberals to conservatives, and moderates to extremists, everyone has an opinion when it comes to politics. That much is fine. People get in trouble when they lose sight of what this country is all about: making decisions in the best interests of the American citizens. This becomes more difficult as politicians, news people, pundits, and other commentators get wrapped up arguing with each other and forget common sense, which was so important to the development of this country.

It's enough to make you want to change the channel, although personally, I'm still more disturbed by the WB channel.

Read other articles written by Scott Zuke