Alright already, folks, can we be please quiet down just a little and get serious here, even for just five measly minutes? The way the two presidential candidates and their campaigns have been carrying on, you’d almost think there weren’t any important things at stake this time around.

Alright already, folks, can we be please quiet down just a little and get serious here, even for just five measly minutes?


The way the two presidential candidates and their campaigns have been carrying on, you’d almost think there weren’t any important things at stake this time around.


I mean, honestly. A “Republican war on women”? Really? Can anybody take that kind of extremist, overheated partisan rhetoric seriously? (Sadly, yes.)


To be sure, it goes without saying that the operatives and hacks who invented the “war on women” meme don’t really believe there is any such thing — politicians and their hangers-on, regardless of party, probably don’t believe even half the things they say.


It hardly makes sense, then, for anyone else to believe that one of the two mainstream political parties in the U.S. is motivated by deliberate misogyny and is conspiring to drag us back to the Dark Ages (a.k.a. 2011).


Seriously, if even the also-ran social conservative Republican Rick Santorum said he would never try to ban contraceptives and reminded everyone that he voted to fund Planned Parenthood, what rational basis could there be for believing that the GOP is waging “war” to force women not to use contraception?


The recovering national and international economy limps along gingerly, and we’re treated to meaningless political bluster about a “Republican war on women.” You just can’t make this stuff up, folks. (Well, actually you can, and do, if politics is how you make your living ….)


Perhaps now that Santorum is out of the running and Mitt Romney is the de facto GOP nominee, we might hear less of that bluster and a bit more serious talk.


But no, now we get treated to the Mommy Wars, thanks to a political operative’s ill-advised attack on Ann Romney’s having stayed at home to raise her five kids.


Naturally that backfired, and thankfully the operative quickly walked back her comments and apologized. After all, it’s not only uncouth and improper to go after a candidate’s spouse, but plenty of women don’t begrudge Mrs. Romney’s choice of careers, so to speak, but wish they could afford to do the same.


Unemployment is stuck around 8 or 9 percent and gas prices have topped $3 a gallon for about three years, and we’re treated to meaningless political banter about whether stay-at-home moms actually do any work. You just can’t make this stuff up.


We can (we hope) be thankful that the Mommy Wars will be just another brief and, inevitably, unserious distraction from the issues at hand.


But no, now we get frivolous bickering and funnery-pokery about how the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates treat dogs.


So, apparently Romney a long time back once took his family on a trip with their dog Seamus in a kennel that he’d fastened to the roof of their packed station wagon. Unsurprising to most, and hopefully unsurprising to anyone in retrospect, that didn’t work out too well for Seamus or the Romneys (though Seamus wasn’t injured).


Democrats have been trying to get some political mileage out of that misadventure. Republicans are responding by highlighting — and telling some pretty bad jokes (and by “bad” I mean some of them admittedly are pretty good, but they’re all groaners at best) — about President Barack Obama’s casual and unapologetic reference in his autobiography to having eaten dog meat while living as a youth with his stepfather in Indonesia.


Is this really the kind of presidential campaign we can expect from here on out?


The federal government is $16 trillion dollars in debt — and counting — and we’re treated to arguments about a dad’s Homer Simpson moment and an endless string of “man bites dog” jokes.


Come on, guys, can we please get serious here, even for just one measly minute?


It’s going to be a looooooong seven months till November ….


Community editor Jared Olar may be reached at 346-1111, ext. 660, or at jolar@pekintimes.com. The views expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the Pekin Daily Times.