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Silly Season


As we discussed in last week's column, even though it is still early summer, the presidential campaigns are going ahead full bore just like it was already time for the fall campaign.

That means both sides are constantly forced to come up with new things to talk about (or how to talk about and recycle old issues). And, of course, they need new events or photo opportunities to capture media coverage and public attention. But haste can make waste in these matters and sometime things don't seem to work out as expected.

Hence, we can call this time of year the silly season.

Here are a few examples:

CNN runs a story (June 26) about Senator John McCain's computer skills after he told an interviewer he needs his wife to help him with how to do things on line (so do I, by the way). Then a McCain aide said during a recent forum that ""Senator McCain is aware of the Internet." What? That rather underwhelming vote of confidence has set off lots of on-line criticism and ridicule. It even led the CNN reporter to a man on the street segment asking everyone, including young children, how important it was to have a computer literate president in office (including quotes from the current President George W. Bush showing his struggles in this area.

Then there's the latest GOP effort to paint Democrat Barack Obama as "different from the rest of us." This time the term being used is "arrogant." And who is using this word? Would you believe it's former Bush political advisor (sometimes called Bush's Brain), Karl Rove? What's that old saying about people who live (or used to) in glass houses and throwing stones? I can't think of a more implausible Republican to go after Obama with the charge of being "arrogant."

Then there's Obama himself. His campaign recently did an event, featuring the candidate surrounded by several top advisors. All are seated at a table with a podium in the middle. The podium seems to have attached to its front some kind of seal, which bore a vague resemblance to the Presidential Seal (I seem to remember seeing an American eagle with the arrows and olive branches in each talon). But get this: the seal also had Obama's campaign slogan ("Yes We Can") written across the top IN LATIN. You know, kind of like E PLURIBUS UNUM. Now I wouldn't say that's arrogant, but it might be considered a little presumptuous. Obama campaign officials were quick to back off the seal as some of kind official part of the campaign. My guess it has wound up in the trash heap of presidential campaign symbols that just didn't work. There it joins such previous efforts as having the candidate photographed wind-surfing or riding in a tank.

Finally as a part of silly season, both Senator McCain and Senator Obama have talked at various times in recent weeks about offering cash prizes as a way to find solutions to our current energy problems. A reader of this column (my Channel 5 producer, Cherilyn Crowe) passed along something a co-worker remembered, an episode of the old Dukes of Hazzard TV show that sounded kind of familiar.

The episode is entitled "HIGH OCTANE". It originally aired February 23, 1979, which (as I remember it) was when we were facing another energy/gasoline crunch. A synopsis of the show goes something like this:

"Uncle Jesse fires up the old still for a good cause: to make moonshine that can make a combustion engine run to win a contest of (producing) a workable fossil-fuel that could save the country's pollution problems (got to work global warming in there somewhere) and get the Dukes $10,000 in cash (as the winning prize). But a revenue agent is on to the sneaky Dukes, and so is Boss Hogg, who wants to take Jesse's moonshine to the contest like it was his."

You can learn more by going to:

I know the ‘70s is the current "in" generation for the retro crowd. So do these candidates or their advisors watch "Nick at Night" to get their ideas? 

NewsChannel 5 thanks Pat Nolan for providing this column every week. Mr. Nolan's commentary reflects his own opinions, not those of the NewsChannel 5 Network.  Comments about Capitol View should be sent to Pat Nolan directly via email at .

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