Perhaps I can mollify Mr. Noggle over my "ad homenim" equating of Hulk smashing with asshole behavior with an acknowledgment.
His recent tirade about the irony of a legislator attacking the President over issues that are the domain of the legislature elucidates an important point.
Americans need to go back to Civics 101 and learn about how our republic was designed to function, and how that design has succeeded and failed in its goals over the last 215 years. Only then can they fulfill their duty to screen candidates for public office according to their ability to fill the role of that office. Until the voting public starts interviewing them according to the job they seek, the politicians will continue focusing on only fashionable issues without motivation to address even those pragmatically.
As it stands, though, we appear perilously close to a transition from apathy to dependency (regardless of the outcome on November 2nd):
A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure.
From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship.
The average age of the world's great civilizations has been two hundred years.
These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage.
Trying to exercise my franchise by selecting the best President is painful, though. Although I'm certain I wish to fire Bush, I again feel forced to select only a lesser evil (for many of the same reasons Brian can't stomach Kerry). Perhaps if more of my fellow citizens understood how under-qualified the major party candidates typically are, they'd be clamoring for ranked voting.