Inside the Capitol

Thursday, September 25, 2008

10-3 I'm Outta Here

Syndicated Columnist
SANTA FE -- Enough. I've had enough. In August, the two presidential candidates reported record spending of over $3 million a day. More than half of that went to increasingly negative advertising.
In September, the advertising became even more negative and undoubtedly spending increased to new record levels. And there is no reason in the world that October will not see a further escalation of spending and negativity.
To make matters worse the major portion of the presidential spending will be directed at about 12 target states, one of which is New Mexico.
It is estimated that over $25 million will be spent on advertising here. It already appears we are at the saturation point here but they tell us there is more to come.
And with a Senate race and three House contests with no incumbents this year, our exposure to negative advertising is multiplying, with national parties and special interests pumping in millions more to the congressional races.
I don't care if Texans think El Pasoans are fortunate to be privileged to watch television ads aimed at New Mexicans. I'll bet the ranch that El Pasoans are as anxious as New Mexicans to see this all be over.
My wife and I established a rule two weeks ago that we will watch no more television news. It's strictly sports, weather and PBS. I can get all the news I need from newspapers and the Internet.
And just to be sure we aren't annoyed by all the goings on, we have found an October cruise through the Middle East that will take us to places we have always wanted to see and which have become much more relevant in today's world.
It may be a cop out, but I can follow the action by computer and send you my thoughts as I have for the past 22 years. And all that time I can be checking on what it is that makes those folks tick over there.
It is a land of sharp contrasts. Ultra modern cities, such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi and who knows where else, exist alongside 7th century religious and cultural traditions.
We will spend our time cruising the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf. On the Red Sea we will be treated to some historical sights such as the city carved out of Red Rock cliffs at Petra, Jordan. That's where Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was filmed. And we'll tour the tombs of the Valley of the Kings in Egypt.
We'll also see religious sights such as Mount Sinai, Job's tomb and the oldest Christian monastery in the world with ties going back to Moses and the exodus of the Jews from Egypt.
On the other side of the Arabian Peninsula, we'll visit some of the areas involved in the current conflicts. We'll travel through the Strait of Hormuz, stopping on both sides, at Oman and at Bandar Abbas, Iran.
There also will be stops in Bahrain, Qatar and three of the United Arab Emirates. We are looking forward to a real education.
* * *
Finally, another political perplexity I have been pondering. My parents always taught me that it is impolite to point at people. So why do so many politicians start pointing in every which direction as soon as they walk onto a stage?
Are they pointing at old friends? Big money supporters? People with funny hats? Or are they just pointing to make it look like they have a lot of friends and supporters in the audience? President George W. Bush is one of the most avid finger pointers. Hillary Clinton is just as bad.
When making speeches, most politicians avoid pointing a finger when making a point. Some will gesture with all four fingers. While he was president, Bill Clinton would point a crooked finger while making a point. Recently, he has been straightening that finger out.
FRI, 10-03-08

JAY MILLER, 3 La Tusa, Santa Fe, NM 87505
(ph) 982-2723, (fax) 984-0982, (e-mail)

Will be out until Oct. 27. This is a one-time itinerary so didn't know when we'd get the chance again. I'll have a computer. It's an unpredictable part of the world so I might miss one here and there but I usually manage. Will let you know if I will miss one.


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