As the primary election campaign in the United States gets closer, its faults become more apparent. Perhaps the only thing on the positive side is that it makes TV reruns look better.
This is a time for conditioning oneself. Every four years both the public and the candidates must be in top physical shape. American presidents don't win presidential elections, opponents merely fall by the wayside. Since 1977 this has been called Carteronian Democracy.
The American system works on the same basis as an obstacle course, or even a game of Monopoly. If a prospective candidate can't survive 30 or more primaries on a diet of dried ham sandwiches, or pre-cooked airplane dinners of fricassee of lamb, he forfeits the game or goes directly to jail.
While there is some conditioning to be gained by jogging in the early morning and sleeping in a smoke-filled room at night, there is little a candidate can do to prepare himself for baby kissing. Babies invariably are licking strawberry ice cream cones at kissing time. Some say being able to eat cold farina off someone else's plate is fortifying, and, also, if a candidate likes warm, strawberry ice cream to begin with, it gives him a slight edge. But usually kissing babies is just ''cold turkey,'' as the saying goes.
Jimmy Carter is a good example of how, if a man endures to the end, he becomes president. The justice who administered the oath of office allegedly called him ''Jimmy What's-his-name.'' No one knew who Jimmy Carter was. He was just there at the end. But people who drop out along the way become even more unknown. Several, after returning from the hustings, were never recognized even by their own families.
One big problem of the system is that the ability to win a campaign is not necessarily the ability to be president. Along with Jimmy Carter, John F. Kennedy was a prime example of a champion campaigner but a bit short on qualities to govern. So, after he was elected, he just kept on campaigning. It is the next best thing.
We would advocate changing the system, but they say that all this inefficiency and wasteful spending helps the economy.