Yesterday my entire family marched in a local parade in support of a Congressional candidate named John Kline. It was fun; there were floats and participants of various kinds, mostly non-political, but nearly all the candidates were represented in one way or another. Kline had the biggest group of any of the candidates; we wore red tee-shirts and made an impressive display of support. My kids handed out stickers with Kline’s name of them as we marched. It was old-fashioned politics; there wasn’t an issue in sight. John marched along with us, shaking hands with hundreds of people in the crowd. When it was over he was off to another parade or county fair. This is a very important race; Kline is expected to win, partly as a result of redistricting, and if so it will represent a Republican pickup that could be critical to control of the House. The war and the economy will no doubt play a role in the campaign, as will more ignoble issues like prescription drug prices (the prescription drug “issue” reminds me of the low-comedy romances between servants in Shakespeare’s comedies; it bears the same farcical relation to the serious issues of survival and prosperity). But the parade reminded me how much of politics–like all else in life, as Woody Allen says–consists of showing up. The winner will probably be the candidate who most tirelessly works the crowds at fairs, parades and shopping malls and who seems like a good man in the process. This makes a certain amount of sense if you believe that most voters are better at judging people than evaluating issues. In any event, it is how politics works, and we plan on marching in more parades.
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