Our Never-Ending Election Season is a Good Thing


Famous British actor Michael Caine (A.K.A. Batman’s butler, Alfred) was on The Daily Show last night, when the conversation turned towards Britain’s upcoming election. He and Stewart criticized America’s never-ending election season style of campaigning. As soon as someone is elected (or even shortly before), everyone focuses on the next congressional and presidential elections.

This is good for political writers like myself because it gives us something to write about, and as I’ve said repeatedly, it’s what I look forward to. I love going to bars and freaking out over election results. Macho guys do it for sports games, culminating in the Super Bowl and World Series; nerds like me do it for primaries, culminating in the general election. But anyway, Caine and Stewart favored Britain’s style where the official campaign lasts only two months. Yet, in the interview, Caine makes an observation that discredits their criticism. Watch the video after the jump and see if you catch it.

<table style=’font:11px arial; color:#333; background-color:#f5f5f5′ cellpadding=’0′ cellspacing=’0′ width=’360′ height=’353′><tbody><tr style=’background-color:#e5e5e5′ valign=’middle’><td style=’padding:2px 1px 0px 5px;’><a target=’_blank’ style=’color:#333; text-decoration:none; font-weight:bold;’ href=’http://www.thedailyshow.com’>The Daily Show With Jon Stewart</a></td><td style=’padding:2px 5px 0px 5px; text-align:right; font-weight:bold;’>Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c</td></tr><tr style=’height:14px;’ valign=’middle’><td style=’padding:2px 1px 0px 5px;’ colspan=’2′<a target=’_blank’ style=’color:#333; text-decoration:none; font-weight:bold;’ href=’http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-april-29-2010/michael-caine’>Michael Caine<a></td></tr><tr style=’height:14px; background-color:#353535′ valign=’middle’><td colspan=’2′ style=’padding:2px 5px 0px 5px; width:360px; overflow:hidden; text-align:right’><a target=’_blank’ style=’color:#96deff; text-decoration:none; font-weight:bold;’ href=’http://www.thedailyshow.com/’>www.thedailyshow.com</a></td></tr><tr valign=’middle’><td style=’padding:0px;’ colspan=’2′><embed style=’display:block’ src=’http://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:cms:item:comedycentral.com:307968′ width=’360′ height=’301′ type=’application/x-shockwave-flash’ wmode=’window’ allowFullscreen=’true’ flashvars=’autoPlay=false’ allowscriptaccess=’always’ allownetworking=’all’ bgcolor=’#000000′></embed></td></tr><tr style=’height:18px;’ valign=’middle’><td style=’padding:0px;’ colspan=’2′><table style=’margin:0px; text-align:center’ cellpadding=’0′ cellspacing=’0′ width=’100%’ height=’100%’><tr valign=’middle’><td style=’padding:3px; width:33%;’><a target=’_blank’ style=’font:10px arial; color:#333; text-decoration:none;’ href=’http://www.thedailyshow.com/full-episodes/’>Daily Show Full Episodes</a></td><td style=’padding:3px; width:33%;’><a target=’_blank’ style=’font:10px arial; color:#333; text-decoration:none;’ href=’http://www.indecisionforever.com’>Political Humor</a></td><td style=’padding:3px; width:33%;’><a target=’_blank’ style=’font:10px arial; color:#333; text-decoration:none;’ href=’http://www.thedailyshow.com/videos/tag/Tea+Party’>Tea Party</a></td></tr></table></td></tr></tbody></table>

Caine, who is a conservative, complains about how Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats has burst onto the scene by doing well in the debates. The Liberal Democrats, Caine says, were previously looked upon as a “joke.” Now, because of Clegg’s performance, they are coming second in polls. Now, his support is dropping a bit because people are actually looking at his policies and what they are voting for—but the election is only a week away.

This is the observation that Caine makes that discredits his own complaints about America’s political environment. The longer the season, the more time there is for people to get captivated enough to actually research the candidates. There is time for the media and campaigns to get facts (or quasi-facts) out, rather than people just sticking with the guy who did well on television. It’s sort of like a cleansing process. There are definitely disadvantages to how long our campaigns last, but if I had to choose between Britain’s super-short campaigns, or our super-long campaigns, I’m sticking with the home team.